Happy birthday, Lois Lowry (1937-)!
Often credited as writing the first YA dystopian novel (The Giver, 1993), Lois Lowry has gifted the literary world with each series and stand-alone novel she writes. Lowry does not categorize The Giver and its sequels as science fiction, but rather views her work as telling stories.
It’s refreshing to remember that at the heart of what writers do is tell a story and bring people into a world they’ve created.
Lowry brought us into the dystopian world of The Giver, a world she describes as “seductive”–where all peoples’ wants are met but with a price. She transported readers to Denmark during WWII in Number the Stars. I remember reading Number the Stars while in Hebrew School. It wasn’t an assignment, just a book I read on my own. And while my Holocaust education in Hebrew School was intensive (and honestly traumatic), reading Number the Stars was the first time the Holocaust felt both immediate and terrifying, but also universal. This wasn’t just a Jewish story. By reading Lowry’s work, I understood what fiction could do that history alone could not: create new meaning that could connect people.
In honor of Lowry’s birthday, read one of her other works. Read The Giver? Try Gathering Blue, and the rest of The Quartet series in that universe. Liked Number the Stars? Pick up The Silent Boy, another historical fiction text.
Remember that today, and everyday, is a great day to tell a story. And even better to write that story down.