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The Woods At The End Of Autumn Street

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  697 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
Elizabeth is forced to grow up when her father goes to fight in World War II. Her family moves in with her grandfather, and a special friend is struck by tragedy.

An ALA Notable Children's Book.
Published January 12th 1989 by Lions (first published 1980)
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Christopher I would say possibly the whole book is but at the end, without giving away the end, something nasty happens to one of the characters which could upset…moreI would say possibly the whole book is but at the end, without giving away the end, something nasty happens to one of the characters which could upset some children. But it could also teach them about the dangers of the world.(less)
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Mar 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Man, Lois Lowry is just the best, isn't she. The actual very best.

This is a really great book. I loved reading it and I'd recommend it to everyone. Even though I'd read a lot of reviews, I didn't quite understand what I was getting. (Basically, all that many reviews can clearly say is, "Oh my gosh, this is sad.")

Mainly, I had forgotten that it is set during WWII. But "the war" hums quietly in the background of everything here, as six-year-old Elizabeth (I gotta love a kid named Elizabeth) tries
Feb 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read a lot of novels for middle grade readers. I find they are often more well written than adult fiction. I have also noticed many of the books are written about children, but middle grade children wouldn't always understand them. Oh, they would get the gist of the story, but the language/vocabulary and the depth of the relationships between characters wouldn't be fully grasped. I am in no way suggesting authors should "dumb down" their work--it's always good for young readers to stretch (any ...more
Never read this before but we got a brand new copy at work and I was intrigued because Lois Lowry, hello old friend. Picked it up, started reading it at lunch and got so engrossed that I had to finish it later last night before I went to bed. Not going to lie, I got sniffly at the end even though I knew something was going to happen from her alluding to it on the first page. Good book, though, would rec. GREAT look inside a six year old's head which not every author can do well.
Linda Lipko
Sep 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
When reading this lovely, poignant tale, I was reminded of why Lois Lowry is one of my favorite authors. She writes with such magical images, and tugs at the heart without punching feelings. She is a soft writer who paints lovely pictures with pastels and clarity. There is a large element of magic realism in her character development.

Told from the perspective of precocious six year old Elizabeth who is a child of strong feelings and opinions, we learn that her father is sent off to WWII and she
Feb 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From the opening description of the painting of Autumn Street to the final, haunting image, Lowry creates a world that feels completely authentic. Elizabeth's rivalry with and love for her sister, her difficult relationship with her distant grandmother, her admiration of her grandfather, and her overwhelming love for her best friend, Charles, all ring true. This a YA book with a lot of grown-up appeal-- it's beautiful, heartbreaking, and well done.
I picked this up after seeing Lois Lowry and hearing that Autumn Street is her favorite of her published books, so I thought, well gee whiz! It's a sleeper for sure because it's measured and calculated in its delivery which is why it will not be for every audience and likely why it wasn't as popular as some of the others in Lowry's cache.

It focuses on World War II through a child's eyes and living in Pennsylvania rather than her bustling city because of the war and everything else "because of th
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am a big fan of Lois Lowry, both her lighter books like the Anastasia series and her more serious works like The Giver series. But this one I just couldn't enjoy. To begin with, it was very depressing, with one bad incident after another. This was a common theme in Lowry's early novels, of course, but yowza, this one was tough. It's set during WWII (one of my favorite time periods for historical fiction), but there wasn't much in the story that tied directly to that time period specifically. M ...more
May 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I can't even believe how much sadness is in this book. I mean, I work with kids, and I feel like I know how much trauma can happen to kids, and how much it can impact them. But this book wasn't about a homeless kid with an abusive mom's boyfriend, or any of the other things at work that make me cry. This was a six year old who sees a lot happen, and doesn't see a lot more, and figures out how much things in life can hurt sometimes. And I expected some war and some death and some racism in the bo ...more
Aug 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
”It was a kind of pretending of pride, of the pain of powerlessness, of need —and fear of need— and it came from caring: from caring so much that you were fearful for your own self, and how alone you were, or might someday be.”

I feel this is one of those books I would have loved as a kid.

I loved the relationships Elizabeth had with many of the characters. I liked how it wasn't a sweet, fun story. It's a life story; there's good and bad. These are the types of books I was always drawn to and enj
{3.5 stars}

A little morbid and sad at the end...not the most uplifting story, but I love the story, characters, and writing style. Who would know that a six year old could be so fascinating! Her love for Charlie was adorable and emotional. Despite it being geared for younger children, I wouldn't recommend it for under young teens as some events might frighten younger readers.

*couple swear words and a few conversations that some people might be annoyed about, but personally I thought it was real
Jan 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My absolute favorite book of all time. I read it as a child and fell in love with it, and love it more today.
Desiree Bauer
Apr 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cried at teh ending! this is such a great book! i recomend it to anyone of any age 10 and older
Oct 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply beautiful, this story will stay with you forever. I'd expect nothing less from Lois Lowry...she continues to amaze me each time.
I enjoyed this more than I enjoyed The Giver.

It is very dark, but lightened by the earthy kid details of the main character, and her vengeful dark side. And then it gets darker.

This is beautifully written, though I'm not sure if the big ideas in this story are 100% pulled off. The self-revelation of Liz is explained to the reader, whereas ideally the reader would be able to work that out for ourselves. The idea is that we all wear masks. Another is a yin-yang message, and that whatever side of
Brandon Scarpaci
This story is about a young girl named Elizabeth who goes to live with her grandfather when her dad is sent off to the war. During the book Elizabeth has to deal with growing up faster than she would have hoped. There are conflicts that arise, and cause Elizabeth to wonder why the world is the way it is. This is another book written by Lois that can be used as a history lesson to students to show what it was like living in the United States during World War II. A negative point in this book is t ...more
Sarah Eagle
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lowry doesn’t use a lot of action in her books, but boy does she write emotional heavy-hitters. She captures the essence of childhood and slowly shows the dawning of Life and Truth on their impressionable minds. Elizabeth is a precocious but ultimately innocent child who is slowly exposed to the world around her.

CW for child death in the book
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An exquisitely written semi-autobiographical book with beautiful writing and imagery with an authentic 6-year-old narrative voice with themes of the sadness and horror of war
- WWII, senseless discrimination & racism with the healing balm of family and shared experience, both good and bad. I loved this book!
Aimee Raybon
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picked this tittle up because it's by Lois Lowry (one of my favorite authors) and I was not disappointed.
Lisa Brown
Based on events from her own life, Lois Lowry tells a story of a young girl, Elizabeth, during WWII, who goes with her mother, big sister, and baby brother to live with her grandparents while her father is serving in the Pacific. Lost, and feeling very lonely, she strikes up a friendship with Charles, a young black boy who is the grandson of her grandmother's cook. Charles and Elizabeth have many adventures together, but Elizabeth is often confused when they are held back from different activiti ...more
Julie Suzanne
Found discarded in a "free books" bin, this was sweet serendipity, as it's by far the best book I've read this year. Lowry made me fall in love with Elizabeth immediately. I adored her innocence and her developing insight, and Lowry's imagery delighted me and sometimes broke my heart. For example, after describing 3 spinsters, one being a woman who was once engaged but never married, she wonders if the other two "were jealous of Philippa and her diamond ring that still, after so many years, spar ...more
Mar 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well holy crap! This was quite a book. If you don't want to get all rattled and choked up and needing a hug, maybe you shouldn't read it, because it's a rough one.

I've said before that my favorite thing about Lois Lowry is that she writes about weird kids. I don't mean weird like effortful stuff, but just, you know, weird. The kids who think too much and are different because they just ARE and who can't figure out why the world works the way it does when often that way is so awful. Kids who are
Mar 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Petrea, Kathy Lasko, Val Gibby
Recommended to Megan by: Lindsay Romo
What a sweet, delightful, well-written book. I don't know that I remember any other author being able to capture so perfectly what it is like to be in the head of a child. She remembers exactly how it felt to overhear adult conversations and make incorrect assumptions; constructions of your world, based on what you heard. She remembers what it is like to take on the heavy guilt of thinking you're responsible for someone's death, when you're not. She remembers what it is like to be filled with de ...more
Tristan bought this home from school to read for his language arts class. I got ahead of him (his group) and I found a few parts kinda disturbing, like when the girl and the boy want to look at each other. This book is kinda old and today it is obviously a different time from when this story was written (or takes place) because kids are bought up today that this is not acceptable and they aren't allowed to do that sort of thing. I am presuming Tristan's teacher also got ahead and probably pulled ...more
Oct 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I was in 5th grade when Lois Lowry published this novel and I absolutely love it. She is more of a children's author now but I believe this one was for young adults, and somewhat autobiographical as well since she also lived in PA during WWII with her maternal grandparents. This wasn't a typical story I was used to...I had read lighthearted stories with some sort of parable attached to it. This book has overly adult themes and looking back on it, it was really such a dark story. It was the first ...more
For years, I had vague recollections of this book, and then it popped up in the GR sidebar as a recommendation! Elizabeth's family goes to live with her mother's father and stepmother while her father is off fighting in World War II. Elizabeth is 6, and doesn't quite understand the world around her, from the war, to racism, to her own family privilege. I can't imagine this book being published now, honestly--it's of the ilk that came out in the 70s and very early 80s. Like, you know, with the br ...more
D'Arcy Rowe
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very sweet book. Liz is adorable and so believable. She is a little girl that takes everything you say as truth and doesn't understand slang at all. Tatie (the cook) tells her that everyone eats a peck of dirt before they die so Charles and her decide that they should actually taste it. She's pretty hilarious and I really enjoyed getting to know her.

Lois Lowry does a great job showing everything from Liz's six-year old perspective. There are a lot of different relationships that she
Beth Lind
Jun 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Throughout the book, Elizabeth sees the world through an artist's eye. The opening description of the painting of Autumn Street is mesmerizing. Elizabeth and her family go to live with her grandparents when her father goes to war (WWII). Somehow, the author manages to include class issues, racism and war inside a story of a small Pennsylvania town and have it all ring true. I couldn't stop reading this book and it did make me cry. What a powerful reminder that bad things can happen but we have t ...more
Nov 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We need to create a NSFC (not safe for commute) label for books (on the model of NSFW for online materials). Read the last few chapters at home--It's hard to blink back so many tears in the train station.

And if you think that only recent children's books deal with serious issues, consider the fact that Autumn street (1980) includes the deaths of two children, including the main character's closest friend.
May 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As always with Lois Lowry, this book is a bit of a hard read. The story is told from the perspective of a six-year-old girl. The story deals with war, racism, death, gossip amongst other things. It's a lot to read through. Layers on layers of meaning, trying to remember being six whilst reading with an adult's eye. There is a reason this woman has won pretty much every writing award out there. Beautifully done, as always.
May 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I think I would give this 3.5 stars, but am moving it up to 4 because I loved the voice of the novel. It is narrated from the viewpoint of a 6 year old girl, and it was so simple, honest, and compelling. There were moments when I just had to chuckle out loud, and the ending made me tear up a bit. I felt that it was a very well written novel. There is just something about hearing a story like this from a 6 year old that registers with you.
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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
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“I didn't understand the war. It was new, and they all said it would be there for a long time, but where it was, exactly, was one of the things I didn't understand. It seemed to be out-of-doors, and that was why we had the blackout curtains, so that we didn't have to look at it at night–or it didn't have to look at us, perhaps. Yet on some nights we sat on the balcony and watched searchlights play across the dark sky, and that had to do with the war, too. So the war was in the sky, somehow.

And it was there in the daytime, though I was not sure where. It was why sometimes, during school, whistles blew, and we had to run to the subway station.”
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