I had the great pleasure of hearing Lois Lowry, winner of two Newbery Medals, speak at the Fayetteville public library. People of all ages filled the audience, and no wonder! She is a very entertaining speaker.
As the child of a career military man, Lois lived in many places around the world: Hawaii, New York, Pennsylvania, and Japan (when Lois was eleven years old). She remembers seeing a Japanese boy on a bicycle at a school near where she lived in Japan. They never spoke or even waved to each other, but they watched each other from across the street. Amazingly, more than forty years later, the two met.
Lowry was at an awards ceremony to accept her Newbery Award for The Giver. Allen Say won the Caldecott Medal that year for his picture book Grandfather’s Journey. Afterwards, each of them struck up a conversation. They each gave the other a copy of their award-winning book. Lowry autographed hers in Japanese, and Say asked how she knew how to write Japanese. They discovered they had both lived in the same town in Japan at the same time. Finally, Say asked her, “Were you the girl on the green bicycle?” and indeed, she was! She told the story to illustrate the kind of connections that books can make between readers and writers. I actually already felt as though I knew this author. I have read her memoir, Looking Back. It is a great book to recommend to students who wish to become writers because Lowry discusses her writing techniques as well as sharing personal memories from her long life. She is truly inspiring!