Lois Lowry spoke tonight at the First Congregational Church. The lecture was sponsored by the library. I was excited to go, as I loved a lot of Lois Lowry books growing up, especially A Summer to Die and the Anastasia series.
I did not properly realize that a lecture by a children’s book author would be attended by so many children, but of course they were there in droves. I arrived later than I planned, because I was trying to load a spreadsheet into Google Docs for the other blog, so when I got there, the only seat I could find was waaaaaay in the very back of the balcony. Here was my sitting down view.
And here is my standing up view. There is Lois, down there on stage. And doesn’t she look great? I know, I couldn’t see her very well either. I hoped that she wasn’t going to make a lot of use of that screen, as I had to sit straight up and lean to the left too get a view of it.
But she did. And I was glad she did as she gave a nice lecture about how she gets ideas for her books. She used photos from her life to illustrate the lecture and it was delightful. Those of you who don’t have access to a Lois Lowry lecture can get the book Looking Back: A Book of Memories, as it covers a good amount of what she said.
I was very interested to lean that she based A Summer to Die partially on her sister’s death. Also, that she had four children before she was 26. She also told a delightful story of the strange meeting between her and author Allen Say.
I also had no idea that Lowry is a photographer and her images appear on some of her books. We got to see the picture that is on the cover of Number the Stars. Lowry used to do portrait photography especially of children, and when she contacted the parents of one of her subjects to see if she could use the image on the cover of the the book, the parents told her that she would have to ask the child, who was all grown up by that time. We also got to see the picture she wished she could have used for the cover of The Giver (there was a band aid problem) and the pictures she took for the covers of Gathering Blue and Messenger.
When she got to the question and answer part, I learned the reason why the same edition of a book will be released with more than one cover, thanks to an observant child in the audience. It turns out that the publisher will put different covers on if it is going to put the book in two categories, say adult fiction and young adult fiction. Fascinating.