Lowry speaks at Lyceum

Lois Lowry, author of Number the Stars and The Giver.

Lois Lowry, author of Number the Stars and The Giver. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

Lois Lowry’s children’s books, such as “The Giver” and “Number The Stars,” are famous in many elementary and middle schools, and infamous in others, for subtly addressing grown up subjects like racism, anti-authoritarianism, murder and the Holocaust.

The wide-reaching and complex subject matters Lowry explores, in addition to her being an award-winning writer, prompted the Monadnock Summer Lyceum to ask her to speak at the lecture series, said Linda Field, chair of the Lyceum committee.

Field, being a seventh-grade English teacher and aspiring writer, is also a huge fan of Lowry’s, she said.

Lowry will be speaking at the Peterborough Unitarian Universalist Church this Sunday at 10 a.m. Lowry will talk for approximately 45 minutes, followed by a question and answer period. At 12 p.m., there will be a reception where Lowry will be answering more questions and signing copies of her books.

Field said the Summer Lyceum hopes Lowry attracts more young families.

“Her talk will span the generations, really,” Field said on Wednesday.

Field mentioned how the students she teaches at Amherst Middle School reacted to “The Giver” and “Number the Stars.” “The Giver” is about a dystopian society that has eradicated pain, and emotional depth and true feelings with it. “Number the Stars” is a fictitious account of a Jewish family fleeing Copenhagen, Denmark, during the Holocaust and World War II.

“I know with my students, it’s opened a lot of really interesting areas of thinking,” Field said. “The ideas are adult also. With “The Giver,” you have this kind of trade-off between solving problems, providing safety, providing what we aim for when we think about a utopia. No hunger. No unemployment. No pain. But trading our choice for that, trading our possibility of choices, and individuality.”

Field said it is “serendipitous” Hollywood’s version of “The Giver” just came out in theaters.

“I didn’t even know there was going to be a movie when we first reached out to [Lowry.]”

The movie stars Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, and Brenton Thwaites. Field was starstruck that Lowry was just in New York City for the movie’s premiere, and now she will be in Peterborough on Sunday.

The Monadnock Summer Lyceum is a lecture series that hosts a broad variety of speakers in the Unitarian Universalist Church every summer. The talks this year ranged from Dr. Willy Shih, a professor at Harvard Business School speaking about a manufacturing renaissance, to Dr. Gail Dines, a professor of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College, speaking about the porn industry. Other subjects include economics, medicine and politics.

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