On the Horizon by Lois Lowry, illustrated by Kenard Pak

Published by HMH Books for Young Readers

On the Horizon: Lowry, Lois, Pak, Kenard: 9780358129400: Amazon.com: Books

Summary:  Lois Lowry lived in both Hawaii and Japan as a child, and her poems here reflect some of her experiences in those two countries during World War II.  The bulk of the poetry, though, relates personal stories, both of people aboard the Arizona and those living in Hiroshima.  The poems are written in a variety of styles, and most are accompanied by an illustration.  Includes an author’s note telling of her experiences that influenced this book.  Most remarkable is her interaction with a Japanese boy named Koichi Seii, who moved to the U.S. as an adult and changed his name to Allen Say, becoming an award-winning illustrator and Lowry’s friend.  Aso includes a bibliography.  80 pages; grades 5-8.

Pros:  By focusing on individuals (many of them children or young adults), Lowry really personalizes the tragedy of war.  The details may be too sad or disturbing for younger kids, but middle school students will find a lot to discuss in these poems.

Cons:  I wish there had been some information about the different forms of poetry used.

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