Cover Image: On the Horizon

On the Horizon

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Member Reviews

This is one of the most beautiful books that I have ever read. I love the beauty and imagery of the poetry. My favorite part is the end when you discover the connection between Lois Lowry and Allen Say.
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What an amazing book of poetry.  From the entry of the US into World War II with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, to the atomic bomb dropping on Hiroshima Lois Lowry gives us insight into the lives that we lost, and the lives that were forever changed.  Her personal connection to being a child living in Hawaii on that day that lives in infamy to years spent living on an army base in Tokyo years later.  She challenges us to look at history so that we can change the future.  TEACHER USE: This is a must read for any World War II unit.  Use it as a literature study, a read aloud, or writing prompt.
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I was unconvinced by this book at first, as Lowry described the events of December 7, 1941 and humanized its victims. But as the parallels were drawn between Pearl Harbor and the atomic bombs in Hiroshima, the book won me over. I do think young readers will be very touched by the descriptions of these historical events, which present the death and violence in ways that remain kid-friendly while acknowledging their weight. As an adult reader, I'm less convinced by Lowry's role in the story-- I found her experiences in Japan interesting but her life in Hawaii less relevant. Still, I think the book effectively tells the story of two pivotal events in World War II that have had long-lasting repercussions on history.
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Wow what a read! As always Lowry hits a home run, but this one really packs a punch. Coincidences abound and real life really is stranger than fiction! Truly an amazing story and, of course, Lowry's writing does it such justice.
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This is a tale for upper elementary students who want to dive into a more historical read. I love the culture and detailed memories from a child’s viewpoint through these important and historical events. These collections of stories will leave you wanting to know more!
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Lois Lowry shares the imagery, pain, loss, and hope of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima, in this new novel in verse.
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This is an incredible memoir that is definitely not just for kids.  Addressing the losses of both Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima, Japan, Lowry humanizes both sides of these tragic wartime events, from her unique viewpoint as a child who spent formative years in both Hawaii and Japan, Lowry tells one story after another of the people who lived and died in these events. I look forward to seeing final artwork and a printed copy.  This book would be perfect for upper elementary Social Studies classes all the way through veterans of this war, and especially their children.
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I just didn't love this book like everyone else. It felt like too disjointed with the biographies of different soldiers and her own story. It didn't resonate at all and I didn't care for the writing.
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I like how Lowry weaves together her experiences in Japan and Hawaii with research to tell the stories of these two places through poetry.   There were some descriptions that were hard to read and I wouldn’t feel comfortable with putting into the hands of younger readers.  There are some interesting connections and discoveries made over the course of her life.
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WOw, just WOW! This book honoring both the lives lost in Pear Harbor and in Hiroshima is such a wonderful tribute in haiku as related by two small children. I hope that kids reading are as impacted by this as I was.
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Lois Lowry is an incredibly gifted writer because of her ability to write across many different subjects and styles. Now she has written a memoir of a time when, as a child, her experiences shaped her in the way that so often happens with children...subtly and in retrospect. This should become a classic that is read alongside Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. Lovely.
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A collection of poems span a lifetime of memories as Lois Lowry recalls her childhood in Hawaii. On the morning of December 7, 1941, she stood in a beach as Pearl Harbor was bombed. Five years later, a boy stands watching the horizon as Hiroshima is bombed. Their stories are intertwined as they experience history told through a variety of poems. A must read for teachers who are teaching WWII!!!
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Thank you Netgalley for an advanced ebook copy of this title! 

Wow, just wow, was this book so heartbreaking and beautiful. Written mostly in verse interspersed with personal commentary, this book is inspired by Lowry's discovery that she was playing on the beach as a child in Hawaii during the Pearl Harbor attacks, followed by some of the personal stories from the Hiroshima bombing, followed by her experiences living in Japan afterwards. The stark black and white pencil illustration suits it nicely. This is not an easy read for how much it brings the realities of war, death, and loss home, though at the same time, shows the small sweet moments in between, and also how people and periods of time are all wondrously connected. A worthwhile read, especially in today's age and time.
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Another beautiful text by Lois Lowry.

Imagine, as reviewing childhood home videos, you happen upon American history happening in the background of your memory. This is the shock felt as Lowry came to realize her sunny day in Hawaii had the shadow of the Arizona gliding through on the horizon.

In our middle school unit, we explore the impact of WWII on world history and a variety of narratives shared. This has voices that have been missing from our curriculum--while we overview FDR's actions and Japanese incarceration, the addition of the contrast of Pearl Harbor survivors and casualties, the author's childhood reflections, and additionally the impact of Hiroshima on Japanese history. This poetry is haunting, beautiful, simplistic, and full of imagery. Thank you #NetGalley for letting me preview this text.
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I received this ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed how this tale illustrated what many of us have thought about. What have I seen and missed? Who have I met before and didn’t know it at the time? This tale does such a beautiful job demonstrating how we can be connected to strangers. I think the most valuable part of this is the author’s note, and hope the publisher finds a way to highlight it, as I would hate for readers to skip it.
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Lois Lowry's verse novel about this moment in time is beautiful, haunting, personal and heartbreaking.  Thank you netgalley for this arc in exchange for my honest opinion .  This is an important and beautiful story.
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I would have loved to read this book but the pdf could not be opened, all I could see was page 7 of the book. I contacted NetGalley tech support who suggested reading the file on other devices, which I do not own.  NetGalley help said they would contact the publisher and get back to me. I'm giving this title 5 starts because, it's Lois Lowry after all, and she's an amazing writer. I admire her versatility (though I think I love her "dark" stories best like Autumn Street and Gossamer), her brevity (she can accomplish more in 120 pages than most authors in 300 pages) and that she never writes down to children. I had the honor of meeting her at ALA annual a few years ago and used that chance to ask her about the opening paragraph of Gossamer, saying that it really knocked me out. Ms. Lowry said that her husband read the book and thought it began too abruptly, so she added the opening paragraph. Those few sentences are atmospheric, ominous, and STILL knock me out every time I read them.
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Thank you NetGalley and HMH Books for Young Readers for sharing this eARC in exchange for an honest review. 

I love Lois Lowry. She is such a wonderful author and one that writes stories that are guaranteed to draw you in and to make you think. This book does that and more. These poems will stay with me for a long time. I liked how she gave parts of her life and experiences in Hawaii during Pearl Harbor bombing and the experiences of others impacted by the war. She writes about soldiers and their families. She writes about families in Hiroshima and Nagasaki who were impacted by the atomic bomb. She talks about life after the war and closure. 

It’s a must read. Also-she narrates her own story in the audiobook! It is awesome as well.
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Truly powerful and thought-provoking verse pieces about the lost lives of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima bombings by an award-winner and household name. A short read, but impactful, especially with the interweaving of Lowry's personal connection to the events. In this work, she honors the lives of people lost on two sides of a once divided world. A must-read!
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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 slowly
on the horizon, shrouded in the mist
that separated skies from seas
while we laughed, unknowing, in the breeze.

She carried more than 
twelve hundred men
on deck, or working down below.
We didn't look up. We didn't know.

It is only as an adult, Lowry says in her Author's Note, while showing the restored films to friends, that the USS Arizona is finally seen. As you probably already know, it sank when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941, and most of the sailors onboard were killed - among them, twin brothers, members of the ship's band, two brothers, one a survivor, one not but reunited years later in death.

From 1941, Lowry jumps to August 6, 1945 and the bombing of Hiroshima, and again highlighting individuals who were there - among them, a young boy named Koichi Seii, who would later become known as Allen Say, a child pulled from the rubble and reunited with his father, teenage girls running the trams, and a little boy on a red tricycle.
The cloud appeared over the distant hill,
blossoming like strange new flowers in spring, 
opening, growing. But the world was still.
When the cloud appeared over the distant hill,
silence has fallen. There were no sounds until 
rain came. Not true rain, but black drops falling
from the cloud that appeared over a distant hill,
blossoming like strange new flowers in spring.

On the Horizon is written in three parts- the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the bombing of Hiroshima, and the Lowry family's life in post-war Japan - and uses a variety of poetic forms. One of the things that she has accomplished is to show the randomness of war - especially who lives and who dies (a randomness we are witnessing again as the Coronavirus chooses its victims).  It is perhaps one of the most affecting books I have read about WWII, and I found often myself tearing up as I read. I believe it is because of the way Lowry has brought the distant near. In this slender book of poems, she shows us that sometimes history can feel like one is looking at something far away on a misty horizon, but by giving face and voice to those who were there she brings it to the forefront, and history becomes closer, people become individual human beings. This is a book of poems I believe I will be returning to again and again.

Kenard Pak's black and while pencil and digital illustrations are a perfect compliment to each one of the poems.

You can find a useful Teacher's Guide HERE

This book is recommended for readers age 10+
This book was a EARC gratefully received from NetGalley

This is one of my favorite poems from On the Horizon:

The hospital ships had names that spoke of need:

The carried the wounded and ill.

That morning, Solace was moored near the Arizona.
She sent her launches and stretchers across.
The harbor has a film of burning oil.
Scorched men were pulled one by one from the flames
and taken to Solace.
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