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Looking Back: A Book of Memories

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4.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  337 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
People are constantly asking two-time Newbery Medalist Lois Lowry where she gets her ideas. In this fascinating memoir, Lowry answers this question, through recollections of childhood friends and pictures and memories that explore her rich family history. She recounts the pivotal moments that inspired her writing, describing how they magically turned into fiction along the ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 7th 2000 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 979)
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Abbie
Feb 03, 2011 Abbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, children-s
After we saw Lois Lowry, my friend, Terrie, said, "You have to read her autobiography! It will make you cry!" Well, she was correct. I did love it, and it was quietly inspirational. I'm so glad I read it! This book isn't really an autobiography or even a memoir. It's a collection of photos, memories, and musings. Reading Looking Back is like curling up on the couch with your favorite aunt and a photo album.
Each "chapter" also begins with a snippet from one of Lowry's works and the memories expl
...more
Linda Lipko
Feb 24, 2012 Linda Lipko rated it really liked it
Newbery medal and honor award winning author Lois Lowry takes us on a journey throughout her life. This is a stellar book, filled with hope, sadness, joy and the sheer beauty of living life to the fullest.

Each chapter begins with a quote from one of her many books with an accompanying photo. We learn how her life inspired her works.

This was such a wonderful, pleasant read that I hated to see it end. This is what good writing is with each word, each phrase a delightful tidbit to savor!

Highly reco
...more
Maria Shuffit
Apr 03, 2015 Maria Shuffit rated it it was amazing
Wow.

I have finished this book just moments ago, and just could not wait to collect my thoughts on it. All I can think is... wow.

I'm not normally someone who likes to read non-fiction. I took a class in college where we had to write pieces like those contained in this book - short, essay-like depictions of our own lives. I disliked it immensely. I always liked to write fiction, with smart descriptions, deeply involved storylines, and plentiful backstory for my characters. Short non-fiction? Bla
...more
Jenalyn
Jul 23, 2012 Jenalyn rated it really liked it
Enjoyable memoir. Lowry has a gift of words, as she can turn ordinary moments/memories into poignant accounts. I'd like my own personal history to be done like this one day. Maybe she can write it for me??
Maria
Sep 09, 2015 Maria rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous. Some of the most beautiful writing ever. Chapter 36 especially. "You're on your own."
Malbadeen
Aug 23, 2010 Malbadeen rated it really liked it
I love the idea of memory attached to photo + I love Lois Lowry = I love this book.
Kay
Jan 23, 2009 Kay rated it really liked it
I chose this book, thinking it was a memoir, and since Phoebe and I had been sharing notes about Lois Lowry's The Giver and some of her other works for young adults, I was drawn to reserve this one at the library. It's a beautiful collection of old photos with short notations and quotations from her books accompanying the photos and notes (several from The Giver--which was first published in 1993 I think). I didn't know that Lois Lowry had a son who died in 1995 until I read this book. On Elizab ...more
Diane
May 23, 2012 Diane rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-group
Straight from the front jacket cover flap:

I would like to introduce you to this book. It has no plot. It is about moments, memories, fragments, falsehoods, and fantasies. It is about things that happened, which caused other things to happen, so that eventually stories emerged.
~ Lois Lowry

I did not know what to expect. I'll say this: the quote above is exactly right, yet the book is so much more. Each chapter, or vignette, or memory, or whatever the chapter entails includes at least one (and oft
...more
Jessica Griggs
Looking Back by Lois Lowry

The way this memoir was written is notably different than some of the others we’ve looked at for this project. It's message, purpose, and features are unique to this genre. This book was particularly interesting because we are familiar with Lowry’s works. For example, The Giver is a novel I’ve read and am even doing for another class now. That said, it is so wonderful that her memoir has quotes from it (and other works), and notes, and pictures. It’s really awesome that
...more
Claire Ramos
The way this memoir was written is notably different than some of the others we’ve looked at for this project. Its message, purpose, and features are unique to this genre. This book was particularly interesting because we are familiar with Lowry’s works. For example, The Giver is a novel I’ve read and am even doing for another class now. That said, it is so wonderful that her memoir has quotes from it (and other works), and notes, and pictures. It’s really awesome that she utilized this book to ...more
Grace
Jul 27, 2014 Grace rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone!
Shelves: favorites, 5-stars
Normally, when I see a book with the words autobiography ,memoir, or biography (anything nonfiction really), I put it right back on the shelf. Or, when I do pick it up, I skim through most of it and slap a three out of five stars right on it without really thinking about it.
If you are considering reading this book, throw out any ideas you have formed about nonfiction books. Because Lois Lowry's "memoir", is NOTHING like any of those. Lois Lowry answers questions from fans about how she got he
...more
Yael
Mar 09, 2011 Yael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: informational
This book is an amazing find for my classroom. At my school the 4th graders read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry and the 6th graders read The Giver by Lois Lowry. I cannot wait to share the book Looking Back: A Collection of Memories with my 5th grade students. I honestly cannot believe I had never heard of this book until I saw the title in our textbook.

The introduction of this book is my favorite part! I love hearing and sharing with my students about the inspiration authors have that helped th
...more
Salsabrarian
An interesting approach to biography writing. Lowry chooses to illuminate snapshot moments of her life in a way that also illustrates to her fans where she gets her book ideas. Each passage is no more than two pages and is illustrated by black and white family photos. Touching.
Tiffany Bills
Jun 15, 2015 Tiffany Bills rated it really liked it
This was quick and enjoyable and met my occasional desire to stalk favorite authors. I love Lowry's quips and looking into her life to see the patterns of several protagonist histories.
Becky Trombley
May 21, 2015 Becky Trombley rated it liked it
There are some real gems in this book.
The author uses photos as prompts- a wonderful template for teaching memoir.
Some entries are heartbreaking, some are laugh-out-loud funny.
Kayla
Jan 08, 2015 Kayla rated it it was amazing
A fun, interesting, and quick read- just as thoughtful as her fiction. She shows bits of her life experiences and how she wove them into her books. Lots of photos.
Lorna Doerr
Jul 30, 2014 Lorna Doerr rated it it was amazing
Fabulous. I can't wait to share this withy 9th graders. It is a book that helps us understand this author with photos and anecdotes. I loved it.
Carolin
Mar 26, 2014 Carolin rated it did not like it
I am not sure what the purpose of the book was. I think she was bored, and just made a book with all of her family pictures.
Irene Kim
Jun 13, 2014 Irene Kim rated it really liked it
It was full of memories of Lois Lowry's Life. It was interesting, and fun.
Emily Von pfahl
Lovely book, interesting, funny and touching. Well done.
Hykel
Nov 13, 2014 Hykel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
A quick enjoyable read. Lots of pictures!
Sue (booknbeachbag)
Mar 04, 2014 Sue (booknbeachbag) rated it it was amazing
Probably one of my all-time favorite memoirs!
Jdemartigny
Oct 01, 2015 Jdemartigny rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely book.
Renee
Nov 06, 2014 Renee rated it it was amazing
Absolutely wonderful.
Susan Kosel
Oct 26, 2015 Susan Kosel rated it really liked it
Delightful.
Sumi
Feb 06, 2015 Sumi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I love it!
Jessica
This is by far the best autobiography I have ever read. It if full of Beautiful family pictures and endearing stories that make you feel like you really know her. In fact, I'm sure we're friends :) She talks about living in Japan as a girl, how her family experiences relate to the stories she written, the joys and sorrows of life. If I were to ever write an autobiography I would want to make mine just like this.
Cindy
Oct 08, 2012 Cindy rated it really liked it
Once I realized that this was a book of memories, and not a memoir without enough information, I was charmed by it. Each section starts with a small quote from one of the books that Lowry has written, then the next page has a picture from her life and tells about an incident in her life that may have inspired her when writing. This was a quick and sweet read.
Son
Jun 14, 2013 Son rated it it was amazing
This was the quick read I needed after reading in-depth historical dramas, this book was light and airy, made you feel at one, talking with a close friend, learning how she connects her life and weaves them in her stories. Lois Lowry is exceptional,The Giver being a favorite, I has to know more about Lowery and couldn't know her more after finishing this one.
Ariel
Feb 03, 2011 Ariel rated it really liked it
This was really good. I love how Lois Lowry zoomed in and out on her life about her childhood and the present. The pictures are really good quality even thought it's in black and white. It was a pretty fast read to me. I recommend this book for anyone who likes biography because it talks about someone's life.
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Taken from Lowry's website:
"I’ve always felt that I was fortunate to have been born the middle child of three. My older sister, Helen, was very much like our mother: gentle, family-oriented, eager to please. Little brother Jon was the only boy and had interests that he shared with Dad; together they were always working on electric trains and erector sets; and later, when Jon was older, they always
...more
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