Lois Lowry was bom March 20. 1937, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Her parents, Katharine (Landis) and Robert E. Hammersberg (an army dentist), were separated at the onset of World War II. Lowry spent the war years in Pennsylvania, where her mother's family lived. Early childhood influences included the presence of the Amish and an adoring grandfather. In 1948, when Lowry was eleven, the family was reunited in Japan, where her father was then stationed. In her 1994 Newbery Medal Acceptance Speech, she identified her experiences in Tokyo— living in the close confines of an American enclave named Washington Heights and making exciting forays on her bicycle into the Japanese streets—as amongst the significant memories which led to the writing of The Giver.
Lowry was educated at boarding school and Pembroke College. She attended Brown University but left after two years to marry an attorney, Donald Grey Lowry. She began writing seriously in the early 1970s, after all of her four children (born within a span of five years) were in high school. She was divorced in 1977, the year in which her first novel, A Summer to Die, was published. Prior to that, she had written two textbooks and a number of magazine articles and short stories.
This first novel described the relationship of two adolescent girls—thirteen-year-old Meg and her older sister, Molly, who is dying of leukemia. Meg gains sympathy and therapeutic friendship from an old...
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