Lois Lowry

Early Life

Lois Lowry, a renowned American writer, was born on 20th March 1937 in Honolulu, Hawaii, America. She was an intelligent daughter of Robert E. Hammersberg, an army dentist, while her mother, Katherine Gordon Landis, was a housewife. Her father’s job, however, moved the family to various parts of the world. Following Lowry’s birth, the family shifted from Honolulu to New York and later to Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Although the frequent moves disturbed their life’s peaceful pace. Her experience equipped her creative mind with remarkable ideas in her literary works.


Lois, following her father’s job, settled in Japan during World War II, with her family. She began her formal education at the local American School. Later, they resettled in the United States, where she attended Curtis High School on Staten Island followed by Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn Heights. After earning a graduate degree, she decided to go for higher education, but her marriage brought a gap in her educational pursuits. However, her passion for reading and writing never faded. She joined the University of Southern Maine in 1972 and earned a graduate degree in Literature and continued to pursue her education.

Personal Life

Lois Lorry married Donald Grey Lowry, an American naval officer in 1956. Since her partner was in the military, the family had had to live at various places. They had four children; Ben, Alix, Grey, and Kristin. The couple failed to develop a long-lasting bond and parted ways in 1978. Later, she married Martin Small until his death and had a relationship with Howard Corwin.

Awards and Honors

Lois’s remarkable services for the literary world won her multiple awards, prizes, and honors. She won the Newbery Medal twice; first in 1990 for her novel, Number the Stars, and later again for another novel, The Giver, in 1994. Her contribution to children’s fiction also earned her awards, including the National Jewish Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award, and the Rhode Island Children’s Book Award. Her other notable achievements include the Regina Medal, Hans Christian Andersen Award, and The ALA Margaret Edwards Award.

Some Important Facts about Her

  1. Her famous fictional work, The Giver, has been adapted for film screen in 2014.
  2. She wrote a trilogy based on dystopian society, presenting the feelings and lives of emotionless and tormented souls.
  3. She lost her young son, Grey Lowry, in a plane crash at Germany’s Spangdahlem airbase in 1995.
  4. She received honorary degrees from Brown University, The University of Southern Maine, Wilson College, Elmhurst College, Lesley University, and St. Mary’s College.

Her Career

Lois Lowry’s writing career began in the 1970s when she published the first literary piece in Redbook magazine. This successful publication was followed by another children’s book, A Summer to Die, published in 1977. The book revolved around her life experiences and themes like a terminal illness. Her next publication, Autumn Street, explored the complexities of racism that brings challenges to the people. Later, she won accolades for another remarkable attempt, Number the Stars, which appeared in 1989 and won many awards. Her big hit, The Giver, stunned the audience in 1993. This publication brought the writer into the limelight that led her to produce three more companion novels, woven around the same universe. The three publications include Gathering Blue, Messenger, and The Son. She continues to be an active speaker and writer.

Her Style

Lois proved her worth by giving voice to complex and challenging issues like gender differences, racism, and the Holocaust. In most of her texts, she used simple and candid language to make the text understandable to the readers. For this, she resorted to journalistic style in The Giver, where one episode logically and directly connects the readers to another episode. Similarly, A Summer to Die narrates her childhood experiences, using the first-person narrative and other literary devices. She often turns toward rhetorical devices of imagery, symbolism, foreshadowing, and allusions. However, terminal illness, death, and the relationship between pain and pleasure are the most significant themes of her novels.

Some Important Works of Lois Lowry

  • Best Novels: Some of her remarkable novels include A Summer to Die, Find a Stranger, Say Goodbye, The Silent Boy, The Big Book for Peace, Bless This Mouse, and Taking Care of Terrific.
  • Children Fiction and Other Works: Besides writing novels, she benefited the world by trying her hands on other genres of literature. Some of them include The Giver, Messenger, Here in Kennebunkport, Gooney Bird on the Map, and Gooney Bird Is So Absurd.

Lois Lowry’s Impact on Literature

Lois Lowry’s ideas about racism, the authoritative world, and the terminal illness brought her criticism as well as praise. She tried to pin down the diverse realities she had lived and witnessed in her life. The scorching life experiences, the unjust approach of the world, and other diversities that she mentioned in her works brought variety to the literary world as recognized by the critics. Despite knowing the sensitivity of the issues she honestly narrates what comes in her way – a unique approach that the future writers find a new example to follow.

Important Quotes

  1. “The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”(The Giver)
  2. “I liked the feeling of love,’ [Jonas] confessed. He glanced nervously at the speaker on the wall, reassuring himself that no one was listening. ‘I wish we still had that,’ he whispered. ‘Of course,’ he added quickly, ‘I do understand that it wouldn’t work very well. And that it’s much better to be organized the way we are now. I can see that it was a dangerous way to live.’…’ Still,’ he said slowly, almost to himself, ‘I did like the light they made. And the warmth.” (The Giver)
  3. “Ellen had said that her mother was afraid of the ocean, that it was too cold and too big. The sky was, too, thought Annemarie. The whole world was: too cold, too big. And too cruel. “ (Number the Stars)
  4. “He knew that there was no quick comfort for emotions like those. They were deeper and they did not need to be told. They were felt.” (The Giver)