(photo: Matt Mckee)
Lois Lowry is the author of more than 40 books for children and young adults, including the New York Times bestselling Giver Quartet and popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She has received countless honors, among them the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award and the California Young Reader's Medal. She received Newbery Medals for two of her novels, Number the Stars and The Giver. Lowry lives in Maine. You can find her at www.loislowry.com and on Twitter @LoisLowryWriter.
The 25th anniversary edition of The Giver includes a new cover illustration, an afterword and Lowry's 1994 Newbery Medal acceptance speech.
Your author's note digs deep into the world of The Giver--was the fate of the community something you asked yourself about over the past 25 years?
I wrote The Giver in 1992, and after its publication, I probably would have thought about it very infrequently had it not been for the mail. Letters came, and emails, and they continued to come... and come... and come. They seemed to multiply. Each year I received more mail about The Giver than I had the year before.
And the letters raised questions. I found myself unable to stop thinking about the issues raised in the original book, and eventually I tried to answer those questions in the three related books that I called "companion volumes." With the fourth book in the quartet, Son, I thought I had finally tied all the loose ends together.
But, of course, I hadn't. The unanswered question--what happened to the community?--remained. I suppose I had wondered about it myself over the years. I tried to fill in that missing piece when I wrote the Afterword included in the anniversary edition.
I confess, though, that I hope the mail doesn't stop coming.
Do you think The Giver, and the Newbery Medal speech included in this edition, still speak to contemporary children?
When I prepared the acceptance speech for the 1994 Newbery Medal, I thought of, and talked about, some of my own background as an "army brat," in the years that followed World War II. I spoke of my hesitant and exhilarating explorations of a world separate from the sameness I had always known.
Today's world is much more complex than the world I knew as a child, or even the world that existed when I wrote The Giver. I think today's young readers need reminding now, more than ever, that they, like Jonas, have a right... perhaps a duty... to assess the boundaries placed on them by authorities. To look beyond. To try to change what is wrong.
I see it happening among young people today. I see them recognizing their own power.
I hope The Giver helped some of them make that journey.
How do you feel about The Giver coming to life in graphic novel format?
I'm thrilled. I got a sneak peek, of course, and I know that it is very true to the book. But kids will love the added visual element, and the way that color appears gradually, as it did to Jonas.