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On the Horizon

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  3,280 ratings  ·  701 reviews
From Lois Lowry comes an account of the lives lost in two of WWII’s most infamous events: Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. With black-and-white illustrations by Kenard Pak.

Lois Lowry looks back at history through a personal lens as she draws from her own memories as a child in Hawaii and Japan, as well as from historical research, in this work in verse for young readers.

Hardcover, 80 pages
Published April 7th 2020 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Is there anything she can’t write? This was interesting, informative, and a lovely tribute. Writing this difficult subject in verse makes it approachable and incredibly unique. I slowly savored each section and ruminated over each one. This will be a fantastic tool for teachers as they teach this subject, or for a poetry unit. I absolutely loved this and found it fascinating. My thanks to the publisher for the advance reader in exchange for my honest review.
Nov 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
So beautiful and profound. This is truly a labor of love and it is evident that much soul searching and painstaking care has been taken in its creation, especially as a tribute for those lives lost as a result of the bombings of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima and in acknowledging the part we play in the lives of others.

Indeed, Lois Lowry explains in a note at the end that it has taken years for her to create and complete this work, "to find some meaning in the way lives intersect - or how they fail
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
November is always the time of year where I commemorate the World Wars. This year is weird in many ways and it affected my plans. Nevertheless, I didn’t want this month to come and go without having done at least one little thing in memory of all those fallen and those terrible years, all in one century. And then, as if fate was pushing me in the right direction, I saw this book at the GR Choice Awards.

This is a poetry collection by the author most notably known for The Giver and just like that
Dec 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, war
Pretty much the perfect companion piece to my last read, which was about the Manhattan Project and the decision-making process that ultimately led to the A-bomb being dropped on Hiroshima.

This one here is a book full of haunting poems that show the very personal fates of the people that died during the attacks on Pearl Harbor and on Hiroshima. And about those who survived them. The Hibakusha.

It pairs the poems with simple black-and-white illustrations, which works perfectly.

What makes this speci
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade, 2021
I'm not a huge poetry reader, but this was lovely. This slim book has two parts - Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. The poems are the author's reflections and her childhood recollections of these two major events of WWII. I loved the unexpected connection at the end. ...more
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm grateful to the publisher and for allowing me the opportunity to listen to Lois Lowry read her newest memoir in verse. I am also looking forward to seeing the illustrations soon. Please, whenever possible, support local bookstores. allows one to do just that digitally for audiobooks. If you haven't seen their website, please check it out at

Lowry's poems here are beautiful, absolutely beautiful. They are snapshots from World War Two that honor those we have lost in
Nov 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, history

We could not be friends. Not then. Not yet.
Until the cloud dispersed and cleared,
we needed time to mend, forget.
We could not be friends. Not then. Not yet.
Till years had passed, until we met
and understood the things we’d feared,
we could not be friends. Not then. Not yet.
Until the cloud dispersed and cleared.”

PS: Tomodachi (Tamodachi) is the Japanese word for friend(s). This collection of poems is a poetic tribute to those who lost their lives in the tragedies of Pearl Harbor and
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2020
“I think back to that sunlit day
When I was young, and so were they.
If I had noticed? If I’d known?
Would each of us be less alone?

I’ve traveled many miles since then-
around the world, and back again;
I’ve learned that there will always be
things we miss, that we don’t see

on the horizon. Things beyond.
And yet there is a lasting bond
between us, linking each to each:
Boys on a ship. Child on a beach.”

This was extremely poignant and beautiful. I cried almost from start to finish. I really liked The Gi
Krista Regester
Nov 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
They likened it, later,
because of its shape,
to a mushroom.

Think of mushrooms:
ascending and unfurling
after a rain,
rising on ragged stems
through damp moss.

Think of this cloud:
ripping sky and earth
and future,
spawning death
with its spore.
Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Short, yet powerful. The story of Lowry being a young girl on the beach at the same time Pearl Harbor is in smoke is fascinating to me.

Popsugar Challenge 2021 - A book in a different format than what you normally read (ebook)
Kristy Miller
May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In the 1980’s Lois Lowry was watching home movies of her young childhood on Honolulu with friends. During a video of a very young Lois playing on the beach they saw a ship in the background. It was the USS Arizona, on its way to its final berth. Shortly after the video was taken Pearl Harbor was bombed, and the Arizona was at the bottom of the harbor, taking some 1,700 sailors with it. This was the first event over the next decade that inspired reflections on history, memory, and connectivity, a ...more
Aug 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is quite a sad but important story told in verse. The prose was beautiful of course, as Lois Lowry can really do no wrong in my opinion. I shed more than a few tears reading this one.
Lowry, people.

An absolutely poignant novel in verse (an exemplar for sure) that includes multiple illustrations (I'm reading a galley copy from Netgalley) incorporated into a story of herself as a child, a Japanese boy, and a third story woven in to connect it all that she shares about in her author's note. It's emotional and informative, sentimental and reverent. She has video of her playing on the beach in Hawaii and in the background, the USS Arizona. Then she meets a boy who was in a town r
Jun 16, 2020 rated it liked it
/3.5 stars/

Really liked it! Highly recommend for all ages. Clean.
Maureen Caupp
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wwii, poetry
Lowry has combined her own memories and historical research to movingly tell the story of the lives lost or forever altered by the tragedies of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. Lowry was born on Oahu in the 1930's. Her family moved around as a child including to Tokyo when she was 11, her father took a job as a teacher after the war. Watching home videos again as an adult with friends, a friend pointed out that the Arizona appears behind young Lois playing on the beach in 1940. A haunting realization ...more
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: libro-fm
Perfect for poetry month, this short but powerful book is an autobiographical tale of Lowry’s youngest years in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii right before the bombing. Intense, yet sensitive prose describing both the US and Japanese points of view.
Absolutely incredible. If you're looking for a very short and brief book that won't leave your mind and will also rip your heart apart, look no further.

Lois Lowry's writing is phenomenal. I wish it were a little longer since I completely lost myself in each of these stories. But there was something magical in the brevity as well. It hinted at the brevity of their passing as well, the brevity of time and life. They were gone before you got too attached, but you got attached anyway. The emotions
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-library
I am always astonished by Lowry’s talent.
Alex  Baugh
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Imagine looking at old family home movies and discovering something in the background that suddenly jolts memory and reflection. Well, that is exactly what happened to Lois Lowry when she had some of her family's old home movies restored and realized as a young child playing on Waikiki beach with her grandmother in 1940, her father's camera had also captured the USS Arizona in the distance heading to its berth in Pearl Harbor:
She Was There

We never saw the ship.
But she was there.

She was moving sl
Lisa Guzman
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Beautifully done. The poetry is simple and powerful. I appreciate how Lowry made connections between her real life and the events of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. I probably talked about it longer than it took me to read it.
Unique. Powerful. Highly Recommend.
On the Horizon tells of individuals whose lives were lost or altered by the bombings of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima.. Specifically, soldiers of the USS Arizona and civilians at Hiroshima. Told in three parts (and an Author's Note), Lowry also shares her own personal connection to the events.
Personal stories tend to make history more real so that we may not just learn it, but feel it. They're powerful here. Through them she conveys a strong message of empathy.

Jan 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book and finished it in less than an hour (it is eighty pages long). It isn't a type of book that fills up the whole page and some of it is written in rhyme. One of the reasons I liked this book is because it has a few parts where she has a recording of herself playing on the beach and she didn't realize until a lot later and she was watching the tape, that the Arizona was in the background. It kind of shows us that even if we don't know it lots of things are happening and so ...more
Valerie Cotnoir
Oct 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This short book of poems was phenomenal. I was moved beyond measure by Lowry's experiences, stories and thoughts as she encountered both Pearl Harbor and the aftermath of Hiroshima as a young girl because of her dad's military position. Through this short book, she tried to make sense of both tragedies and ultimately came to the conclusion that both Americans and Japanese were afraid of each other, but with time, they could learn to trust each other again and be friends. Wow. What an amazing rec ...more
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: honors-shelf
This is the first poetry collection that ever receives a 5 star rating from me.

It’s beautiful, heart-wrenching, and very vivid in imagery. It has a balance of both free rhyme & the traditional, balanced rhyming scheme.

The collection focuses on the author’s childhood reflections, drawing narratives about how the World Wars shaped, altered, and destroyed lives.

I am so touched and in awe. More people need to read this. Actually, everyone should read this!
LS Johnson
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An engaging, fascinating and beautiful book-in-verse about how lives during WWII crossed, uncrossed and then crossed again in history. Lois Lowry is a gifted writer and she always draws me into her stories. This is a quick read, so I read it twice. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to see 2 sides of the same Pearl Harbor history, and also to any young learner wanting to know about that time period or event. Another “Best Book of 2020”!
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was such a nice tribute to the lives lost during WWII, and it showed how lives intersect beautifully. A few of the poems were a bit too minimalistic for my taste, but most of them were really powerful. It’s great to see Lowry still publishing impactful stories today. 4.5/5 stars.
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
They say great things come in small packages and this is one of them. Such an interesting true story. I love that author chose to write this book in verse.
Jeanette R
Jun 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid-lit
I have read Lowry's Number the Stars so many times and have taught it as well. She has a gift for capturing history in a meaningful way for young readers without watering it down. So I was excited to see she had written this book about the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the bombing of Hiroshima last year. I picked up this book yesterday and read it in a single sitting - it is short and easy to read. Unlike her other books, this one is written in verse. Although it is short, it is profound and thoug ...more
I've learned that there will always be
things we miss, that we don't see

This novella was told beautifully and read generally with depth of feeling by the author. It tells two parts of history that the author, Lois Lowry witnessed and lived through. The first on the horizon was December 1941 USS Arizona, and the second horizon was August 1945 Hiroshima. My only compliant is I wanted it to be longer. The illustrations were done classically in, (my library copy) black and white. My favorite drawi
Nov 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Nonfiction poetry. I believe this book is officially categorized as middle grade, which is unfortunate in a sense because I believe many adult readers would appreciate this as I did. Pearl Harbor always makes me think of my grandmother, who spoke of it as one of those moments she would never forget (although I wish now I had asked her for more details of her memories of the event and indeed the war on the whole). Lois Lowry is a bit younger than my grandmother, a bit too young to remember the ev ...more
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Mock Newbery 2022: August Read - On the Horizon 16 152 Aug 24, 2020 09:20AM  

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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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