Lois Lowry on Reading as a Child

From this interview with Lois Lowry:

“Early on I came to realize something, and it came from the mail I received from kids. That is, kids at that pivotal age, 12, 13 or 14, they’re still deeply affected by what they read, some are changed by what they read, books can change the way they feel about the world in general. I don’t think that’s true of adults as much. I’m an adult, I read, I’m no longer going to be changed by it. I think writing for kids is profoundly important.”

This is one aspect of writing for children and young adults I find particularly exciting. When you love a book at that age, that book belongs to you in such a deep, personal way that stays with you for your entire life. I know that Lowry’s books, particularly The Giver, changed me as a reader and I will forever consider The Giver one of my favorite books.

That isn’t to say that you can’t feel passionately about adult books, but it’s a totally different reading experience. But as Lowry says, you’re much more likely to have your worldview already formed as an adult reader. Maybe you’ll feel affected by a particular book, but it’s not the same kind of life-altering reading you get as a child.

Make sure to read the rest of the article for more good thoughts about children’s literature from a master author.

2 thoughts on “Lois Lowry on Reading as a Child

  1. I reflected on this quote in my post today, too. I remember loving THE GIVER, but I can’t quite recall what I specifically loved about it. The book that I remember changing my life is one that I read when I was 20 and it’s a work of narrative nonfiction. I am hopeful that there are books I will read in the future that will affect the way I view the world, but it’s not the same eye-opening experience I had as a child and young adult. As Lowry says, writing for kids is profoundly important.

  2. I loved Lois Lowry when I was growing up. I would have to say that a lot of the books I read when I was younger were the reasons I wanted to be a writer, even though I write mainstream fiction for adults.

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