cover image On the Horizon

On the Horizon

Lois Lowry, illus. by Kenard Pak. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99 (80p) ISBN 978-0-358-12940-0

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.)