Famed writer Lois Lowry was one of the featured authors at the 11th Annual Savannah Children’s Book Festival this past Saturday November 15, 2014. Lowry signed copies of her books and spoke to enthusiastic fans and casual followers alike.
The talented author is best known for her two novels Number the Stars and The Giver. Her novel The Giver was made into a movie and released to theaters across America back on August 15, 2014. The title of the movie is also called The Giver and features famed Hollywood actor Jeff Bridges and academy award winning actress Meryl Streep. The movie will be available on DVD in a few weeks.
Eager fans waited in long lines for her coveted autograph. Many more festival attendees gathered around the 77-year old author when she stood on the event’s main stage to talk about her personal life and to discuss the background information and personal stories that inspired her to write her many books, especially the two most famous novels.
The background source of inspiration for her book Number the Stars came from a Danish friend’s World War II experiences, during the years of Nazi Germany’s military occupation of Denmark. This friend told Lowry that Danish Christians hid Danish Jews from the Nazis; therefore, when German soildiers came to round up Jews in Denmark none were found. This story of compassion greatly touched Lowry and served as the background for her book. Her friend also gave a lot of input to her novel to make the historical and cultural background more accurate.
The background for The Giver comes from her aging parents in a nursing home many years ago. Although her parents are long deceased, these last years she spent with them in the nursing home served as a source for this novel turned movie. According to Lowry, her mother’s memories tended to be more about bad things, especially the death of older daughter. The father’s memory was greatly eroded. Lowry created a memory book with photos to perk her Dad’s memories. Sure enough he would remember things; however, he would only remember all of the good things and nothing bad. She contrasted her parents actions, and the thought came to her about how life might be if we only remembered all of the good things from our past and no bad things. Her contemplation would lead to deeper thoughts, which led to the novel that we know today.
Lowry was awarded two Newbery Medals for her previously mentioned books; Number the Stars in 1990 and The Giver in 1994. These popular novels are required for reading by many schools across the country including some schools in Chatham County.