Looking Back and looking forward

Smith Corona Sterling c. 1952
Photo by mpclemens

Just in case anyone was wondering if I’d forgotten Lois Lowry somehow in my other post about Newbery authors – rest assured, I had already planned to mention her in a post of her own.

Last week, I picked up a book I’d never heard of, an early novel of two-time Newbery-Award winner Lois Lowry called Find A Stranger, Say Goodbye.  I enjoyed it, though not as much as her later work.  The Giver, for which Lowry won her second Newbery Award, is one of my favorites; another is the book I read Quinland tonight, Lowry’s pictorial biography, Looking Back.  She did not want to listen when I told her it was biographical – who are these teachers who have made my child dislike social studies and biographies? I need to have a few words with them – but she loved it, as I knew she would.  We will certainly be referring to Modest Storewrecker for the foreseeable future.

Googling around for information about the publication date of Find A Stranger, Say Goodbye, I ended up at Lois Lowry’s website and discovered her 1994 Newbery acceptance speech.  I loved it (though I wanted to edit it for typos and send her a clean copy) and began to read through all the speeches she has posted on her website.  I wish there were a hundred more; I’d read them all.  Lowry makes many references to her own life in her speeches, which is what inspired me to pull out and read Looking Back this morning, and to pull it out again tonight when Q asked me to read her a story.

One of Lowry’s speeches, Wondering Where Everything Went, is about accumulating possessions and shedding them throughout one’s life.  Sound familiar?  After looking back with Lois Lowry this week, I am looking forward to the continuation of this journey to release my excess, as well as to my future journey as a writer.

  • {Clutter} released: Seven books, a fork, a broken flashlight, and two full cans of yard debris.  I also returned a number of items to their proper owners.
  • {Perfectionism} released:  Two of the books I let go of today were Little Women and The Long Winter.  I have all the Little House books in hardcover, but my Long Winter didn’t match the rest of my set, as it did not have a paper dust jacket.  I picked up another copy at Powell’s but a) the dust jacket was damaged and b) it was a first edition of the Garth Williams-illustrated set (you’d think this would be good, but no, I want the books of my youth, the 70s Roger Lea McBride reprinting).  I agonized over continuing to keep both imperfect books, but finally decided to get rid of the 70s one and keep the one from the 50s.  I have been trying to do this for years.  As for Little Women: I have a collection of different hardcover printings of that book, and I decided today that I did not need to keep a cheap paperback copy around as well.

2 thoughts on “Looking Back and looking forward

  1. I love Lois Lowry. I read all the Anastasia books growing up. My Most favorite is the Number the Stars. I have read it multiple times via the library as I do not own my own copy.


    1. Believe it or not, I have never read a single one of the Anastasia books! They came out when I was in high school, for the most part, and I missed them completely. You would think, though, since I love kids’ books so much, that I would have gone back and sought them out… but I never have.

      Quinland loved Lowry’s series about Gooney Bird Greene when he was a third grader. I haven’t read those, either. I need to get on the ball!


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