Thursday, October 22, 2020

Lois Lowry's Newest Her Most Personal and Impactful Book Yet

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

As the daughter of an Army dentist, beloved author Lois Lowry spent her childhood in locations all over the world.  When Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941, she was a 4-year-old living in Honolulu.  Only a few years after the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945, her family moved to Tokyo, Japan.  Although Lowry knew she had been living in close proximity to the locations where two major historical events occurred, it wasn't until much later that she realized just how impactful they had been on her.  While rewatching a home movie of herself as a young child playing on a beach in Hawaii around 1939 or 1940, she noticed for the first time the ghostly image of a ship on the horizon in the background.  An acquaintance made the startling announcement that it was, in fact, the USS Arizona.  The image of the doomed vessel haunted Lowry, inspiring her to write On the Horizon.  Written in verse, her newest discusses both bombings, interspersing her own memories with the stories of other real people—both American and Japanese—whose lives were changed by what happened at Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima.

Aimed at young children, On the Horizon is presented in a clear, easy-to-read format.  Don't let its surface simplicity fool you, however, because this small book is hugely impactful.  War is an impossible subject to understand, even for adults, and reading about it can be difficult.  On the Horizon is no exception.  Lowry's verses humanize the suffering experienced at Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima, creating an emotional reading experience that is heart-wrenching and profound.  I've read hundreds of books about World War II; On the Horizon may be the one that has touched me most deeply.  It takes just minutes to read this incredible book, but its impact will linger long, long after you finish it.  The devastating effects of war should never be forgotten—Lowry guarantees they won't be with her most personal and affecting World War II book to date.  

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other children's books about World War II, although no specific titles are coming to mind.  You?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for violence and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

7 comments:

  1. I didn't know that about Lowry. What an interesting life she's led.

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  2. This sounds like quite a book for one aimed at children. If it impacted you as deeply as it did, I wonder how children will react to it. Sounds great.

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  3. I had no idea about Lowry. This book looks like an absolute must-read.

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  4. That's so interesting! Now I want to read it. :) Thanks for the great book recommendation!

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  5. This sounds really special and I didn't know this about Lowry. I've loved so many of her books and I'm adding this to my TBR.

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  6. This sounds really good! I had no idea this was her history and I'm glad she created a book out of it.

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  7. This sounds amazing. I didn't realize she had put out a new book. I used her books a lot when I was teaching and this one sounds like an amazing one. Wonderful review.

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