On the Horizon

by Lois Lowry (Author) Kenard Pak (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade
From two-time Newbery medalist and living legend Lois Lowry comes a moving account of the lives lost in two of WWII's most infamous events: Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. With evocative black-and-white illustrations by SCBWI Golden Kite Award winner 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 stunning work in verse for young readers. On the Horizon tells the story of people whose lives were lost or forever altered by the twin tragedies of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. Based on the lives of soldiers at Pearl Harbor and civilians in Hiroshima, On the Horizon contemplates humanity and war through verse that sings with pain, truth, and the importance of bridging cultural divides. This masterful work emphasizes empathy and understanding in search of commonality and friendship, vital lessons for students as well as citizens of today's world. Kenard Pak's stunning illustrations depict real-life people, places, and events, making for an incredibly vivid return to our collective past. In turns haunting, heartbreaking, and uplifting, On the Horizon will remind readers of the horrors and heroism in our past, as well as offer hope for our future.

School Library Journal

Gr ---Lowry recounts her memories of being a child in Hawaii and her experience of moving to Tokyo when she was 11. Her personal experiences serve as the narrative foundation that eulogizes the many lives lost in two of World War II's tragic events: the bombing of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. This series of beautiful, moving, and sometimes horrifying poems gives a voice to the young men on the USS Arizona and offers an equally moving tribute to the survivors of Hiroshima. A brief introduction explains the author's presence in Hawaii and recounts the bombing of Pearl Harbor, followed by the poems of survivors as well as those who died. The poems are touching but also very specific and sometimes graphic. One discusses the captain of the Arizona and how his ring from the Naval Academy was found melted and fused to a mast of the ship. Poems about those who experienced Hiroshima are equally graphic but certainly just as compelling. The second half of the book provides a brief explanation about the bombing of Hiroshima followed by the poems. The final section depicts Lowry's experiences living in Tokyo. The author shares her hope for the future and stresses the interconnectedness of humanity. VERDICT While not an essential purchase, Lowry offers a unique view of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima in an unusual format that could be useful for the classroom. Teachers looking for different approaches to history could use this title to highlight the differences and similarities that perspective brings to history.--Susan Lissim, Dwight School, New York City

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

As a child, two-time Newbery Medalist Lowry lived in Hawaii and Japan, where her father was deployed during and after WWII. Lowry uses that personal lens to view two horrific acts of war: the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan and the atomic destruction of Hiroshima by the U.S. In a slim volume, a variety of poetic forms convey details about people whose lives were lost or forever changed: 37 sets of brothers were aboard the USS Arizona, where 1,177 people died; a four-year-old Japanese boy in Hiroshima was buried with his beloved red tricycle. The book's structure makes the events feel like equivalent tragedies, which may trouble some readers, since both were acts of war, but the U.S. bombed noncombatants. A third section details Lowry's experiences living in postwar Japan; some remembrances lighten the otherwise somber mood, including one surprise about Lowry's childhood encounter with a boy who would also go on to become a luminary in children's literature. Part memoir, part history, this is a powerful reminder that damage done will be remembered for many decades to come. Black-and-white illustrations by Pak have the feeling of vintage photographs. Ages 10-12. Author's agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management. Illustrator's agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (Apr.)

Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Anchored by her musings, Lowry's plaintive, compassionate memoir honors the legacy of those lost in the attack that precipitated the United States' entry into World War II."—New York Times Book Review

"A slim volume that's packed with emotion."—Wall Street Journal

"Lois Lowry has had an impressive career. She's written more than 40 books and won the Newbery Medal twice, but she's never written a story in verse until now."—NPR Weekend Edition

"With vignettes about those who lost their lives—from sailors aboard the USS Arizona to civilians in Hiroshima—Lowry asks young readers to empathize with people on all sides of the conflict.... Lowry's message is simple: We all benefit from a more peaceful world."—TIME for Kids

★ "On the Horizon's remarkable poems are a powerful reminder of our shared humanity in times of conflict and war. Simply put, they are an extraordinary gift from one of America's most distinguished writers."—BookPage, STARRED review

★ "[On the Horizon is] deeply felt and emotive, not about sides but about people, sure to lead readers to think deeply on these dual tragedies of war. A must for all collections."—Booklist, STARRED review

★ "All the personal stories—of sailors, civilians, and Lowry herself—are grounding.... Pak's graphite illustrations are like still shots of history, adding to the emotion and somber feeling. A beautiful, powerful reflection on a tragic history."—Kirkus, STARRED review

★ "On the Horizon's remarkable poems are a powerful reminder of our shared humanity in times of conflict and war. Simply put, they are an extraordinary gift from one of America's most distinguished writers."—BookPage, STARRED review

"Part memoir, part history, this is a powerful reminder that damage done will be remembered for many decades to come." -Publishers Weekly

"This series of beautiful, moving, and sometimes horrifying poems gives a voice to the young men on the USS Arizona and offers an equally moving tribute to the survivors of Hiroshima....touching."—School Library Journal

"[E]ntries... are deft and compelling.... and the experience of being an occupier in post-war Japan is a fraught and interesting one." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Lois Lowry
Lois Lowry is the author of more than forty books for children and young adults, including the New York Times bestselling Giver Quartet and popular Anastasia Krupnik series. She received Newbery Medals for two of her novels, Number the Stars and The Giver. Ms. Lowry lives in Maine. Visit her at www.loislowry.com and on Twitter @LoisLowryWriter
Ken Pak is the illustrator of many picture books including Cat Wishes and Flowers Are Calling. After studying at Syracuse University and California Institute of the Arts, he worked at Dreamworks Animation and Walt Disney Feature Animation. Visit him at pandagun.com and on Twitter and Instagram @kenardpak.
Classification
Non-fiction
ISBN-13
9780358129400
Lexile Measure
580L
Guided Reading Level
N/A
Publisher
Clarion Books
Publication date
April 20, 2020
Series
-

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