Read Autumn Street by Lois Lowry Online


Elizabeth is forced to grow up when her father goes to fight in World War II. Her family moves in with her grandfather, and a special friend is struck by tragedy.An ALA Notable Children's Book....

Title : Autumn Street
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780440403449
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 192 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Autumn Street Reviews

  • Lizzie
    2019-05-11 03:30

    Man, Lois Lowry is just the best, isn't she. The actual very best.This is a really great book. I loved reading it and I'd recommend it to everyone. Even though I'd read a lot of reviews, I didn't quite understand what I was getting. (Basically, all that many reviews can clearly say is, "Oh my gosh, this is sad.") Mainly, I had forgotten that it is set during WWII. But "the war" hums quietly in the background of everything here, as six-year-old Elizabeth (I gotta love a kid named Elizabeth) tries to understand what adults even mean when they say "the war." The war is why they move from the city to their grandfather's stately home in Pennsylvania, the war is why her dad is away, the war is why a lot of things, though she doesn't really understand. Elizabeth's perspective is a really good reminder of how little explaining gets done for children, sometimes.So she and her mother and siblings are living in this big, grand home, with antiques and a domestic staff and some older relatives Elizabeth doesn't know. Being just six, she's sort of a goofy kid, and isn't really poised to pick up on fine rules and social cues. ("'Elizabeth! Why is your hand sticky?' 'I was licking it.' I had been. 'I was wondering what I taste like.'") So, one of the things Elizabeth does is start bonding with people who are different from her, and she's little enough that it gets smoothed over without fuss. The cook, Tatie, is a bemused grandmotherly figure, and she's often got her grandson Charles with her, who becomes Elizabeth's best friend. But then in addition to all the rules she already doesn't understand, "because of the war," there's a new confusing set of things she has to accept because Charles and Tatie are black. Charles isn't allowed in the front of the house. Charles has to go to a different school. And a really painful episode occurs when Elizabeth has a tantrum when her grandmother tells her that Tatie can't read or write. (Elizabeth, perceiving a horrible insult, breaks down and insists that "she can too can too can too!") It's too hard for her to believe what these things really mean, the guilty feelings that come with her uncomprehending (six-year-old!) privilege, so she glances off them in denial.But she does know. One difficult thing this book does is make use of the n-word, twice. Elizabeth uses it, once, and then the second time she is thinking about why she did it and how bad she feels. (view spoiler)[The moment is really rather amazing: Elizabeth feels a shocking amount of jealousy one day when she brings Charles on a visit with her and he is given some special treatment (it's his birthday) that she wishes she would get. Totally losing control of her feelings, she acts out with words in order to hurt him. It's a brutally realistic emotion. (hide spoiler)] In its context I think it's a really strong choice to have used it. But, I think also important to know about in advance, if you're sharing this book with a child, so you can be sure the context is gained, and talk about how to treat this word.The book does this really wonderful job of opening up a lot of class differences, and just letting them gape at us, unresolved. The book isn't exactly about those differences, but it wants us and Elizabeth to see into them. Aside from Tatie and Charles, there's also some great stuff with meeting her new school friend's family, a normal family that lives in a normal house with a normal number of rooms and normal stuff around, that does its own chores. When she tells her name to her friend's mom, the mom becomes really embarrassed and awkward. (view spoiler)[Elizabeth later finds out, her friend's grandma had been her family's laundress, when her mother was a child. Her mother remembers, "Sometimes she brought a little girl. I always wanted to play with that little girl, but she was so shy, as if she were embarrassed to be there. She would never talk to me. I never even knew her name. But maybe it was Peggy." And that's where that is left. (hide spoiler)]There's a whole lot of sweetness in the story, because Charles is really fun to be around and his friendship with Elizabeth is really funny and nice, even their annoying squabbles and competitions. Of course, in the end, something really horrible happens. It wasn't what I expected, though. (view spoiler)[When Charles is murdered, it is an awful, random crime. And at first, I felt like this didn't make sense. Shouldn't this death mean something? Shouldn't this have been done out of hatred, or because of his circumstances? But after a minute I realized how immature it was to expect that from a story. In a way, tragic injustice can be used to make you feel better about a narrative: as if to say, if we aren't racist, if we aren't in poverty, none of this should happen. It's easier to dismiss. In the story, it's especially amazing that this is immediately preceded by a scene of bullying and racism… which is completely unrelated to what ultimately happens. (The cover art, augh!!) It's really just another painful edge of the horrible day. (hide spoiler)] This whole event, combined with Elizabeth's wild illness that follows it, makes for such a moving and memorable ending.But, yes. It is terribly sad.However, I'm so glad I read this, and I'm definitely keeping it, so that I can share it with somebody else someday. It is so lovely, and it's a great read for anybody.

  • Lisa
    2019-05-21 05:26

    I read a lot of novels for middle grade readers. I find they are often more well written than adult fiction. I have also noticed many of the books are written about children, but middle grade children wouldn't always understand them. Oh, they would get the gist of the story, but the language/vocabulary and the depth of the relationships between characters wouldn't be fully grasped. I am in no way suggesting authors should "dumb down" their work--it's always good for young readers to stretch (any readers, actually). I know the prose is usually spare, the plot is clearly defined and the relationships seem more real, somehow. Maybe I'm just wondering if these books have wide appeal with the age group they target.Autumn Street is a perfect example. The basic plot could be understood by children, but there are so many layers to the story I believe would be lost on them. So, who is Lois Lowry's primary audience?Here's just one passage I found beautiful: "Even today, with a brush, I would blur the woods. I would blur them with a murky mixture of brown and green and black, the hueless shade that I know from my dreams to be the color of pain. But the sky above Autumn Street would be resplendent blue. In the sky, the painted ghosts would flutter, hovering like Chagall angels, benevolently smiling down on the strip of Pennsylvania where they had peopled a year of my life." Would a third grader find it beautiful, too?

  • steph
    2019-05-03 02:51

    Never read this before but we got a brand new copy at work and I was intrigued because Lois Lowry, hello old friend. Picked it up, started reading it at lunch and got so engrossed that I had to finish it later last night before I went to bed. Not going to lie, I got sniffly at the end even though I knew something was going to happen from her alluding to it on the first page. Good book, though, would rec. GREAT look inside a six year old's head which not every author can do well.

  • Linda Lipko
    2019-05-09 07:53

    When reading this lovely, poignant tale, I was reminded of why Lois Lowry is one of my favorite authors. She writes with such magical images, and tugs at the heart without punching feelings. She is a soft writer who paints lovely pictures with pastels and clarity. There is a large element of magic realism in her character development. Told from the perspective of precocious six year old Elizabeth who is a child of strong feelings and opinions, we learn that her father is sent off to WWII and she, her mother and her sister move to live on Autumn Street with her maternal grandparents. While living in Pennsylvania, she develops a very special relationship with Tatie, the family cook, and with Tatie's grandson Charles. Elizabeth and Charles bond as childhood friends, filling a special need in each other. Curious, Elizabeth does not understand why Charles and Tatie have to enter and leave the house through the back door. While Elizabeth vows she will marry Charles one day, slowly she learns the terrible truth of racism and bigotry. The relationship with Charles' grandmother is incredibly beautiful. Sadly, on a cold winter day when Elizabeth and Charles use her new sled and venture into the woods at the end of Autumn Street, Elizabeth's protected life is deeply, forever changed. Highly recommended!!!

  • Bailey
    2019-05-09 01:48

    From the opening description of the painting of Autumn Street to the final, haunting image, Lowry creates a world that feels completely authentic. Elizabeth's rivalry with and love for her sister, her difficult relationship with her distant grandmother, her admiration of her grandfather, and her overwhelming love for her best friend, Charles, all ring true. This a YA book with a lot of grown-up appeal-- it's beautiful, heartbreaking, and well done.

  • Alicia
    2019-05-20 03:51

    I picked this up after seeing Lois Lowry and hearing that Autumn Street is her favorite of her published books, so I thought, well gee whiz! It's a sleeper for sure because it's measured and calculated in its delivery which is why it will not be for every audience and likely why it wasn't as popular as some of the others in Lowry's cache.It focuses on World War II through a child's eyes and living in Pennsylvania rather than her bustling city because of the war and everything else "because of the war". The value of school and education. Family itself. And then when tragedy strikes, who it outwardly affects and who it affects internally. It has the mood of Ethan Frome with an ending that is as twisted as it is surprising. I'm indifferent only because I don't know the audience for it. A bit like Wolf Hollow in that sense. You want middle readers to read it and feel it, but it's a slow plotting development that focuses on the characters and relationships in a time of heightened sensitivity.

  • Jill
    2019-05-15 03:29

    I am a big fan of Lois Lowry, both her lighter books like the Anastasia series and her more serious works like The Giver series. But this one I just couldn't enjoy. To begin with, it was very depressing, with one bad incident after another. This was a common theme in Lowry's early novels, of course, but yowza, this one was tough. It's set during WWII (one of my favorite time periods for historical fiction), but there wasn't much in the story that tied directly to that time period specifically. My main problem with the book, though, is that the main character is a 6 year old girl who thinks like a 40-something year old woman (as Lowry was when she wrote this book). The writing is absolutely beautiful, no doubt about it, but even if you view it as a memoir written many years later, I still believe that the thoughts and ideas attributed to young Elizabeth simply aren't realistic for even the most precocious of children. An older child protagonist (in her teens, perhaps) might have made this book work better for me. All in all, this is well-written and interesting as any Lowry novel, but it is not one of her better works. To me, it feels like the author was writing a book that kids would be made to read, but not one they would choose themselves.

  • Theresa
    2019-05-21 08:46

    I can't even believe how much sadness is in this book. I mean, I work with kids, and I feel like I know how much trauma can happen to kids, and how much it can impact them. But this book wasn't about a homeless kid with an abusive mom's boyfriend, or any of the other things at work that make me cry. This was a six year old who sees a lot happen, and doesn't see a lot more, and figures out how much things in life can hurt sometimes. And I expected some war and some death and some racism in the book, but this book instead just took it all out of me. I was not expecting to cry my eyes out over it, and I sort of feel like LL just smacked me across the face, turned the page, and smacked me again. Then she stepped on my foot once I was about recovered. Plus I'm all hormonal, and why would LL smack me when I'm all hormonal tonight? But this was good, this book, even with and because of the sadness.

  • Felicia
    2019-05-11 06:37

    ”It was a kind of pretending of pride, of the pain of powerlessness, of need —and fear of need— and it came from caring: from caring so much that you were fearful for your own self, and how alone you were, or might someday be.”I feel this is one of those books I would have loved as a kid. I loved the relationships Elizabeth had with many of the characters. I liked how it wasn't a sweet, fun story. It's a life story; there's good and bad. These are the types of books I was always drawn to and enjoyed reading.

  • Olivia
    2019-05-04 06:46

    {3.5 stars}A little morbid and sad at the end...not the most uplifting story, but I love the story, characters, and writing style. Who would know that a six year old could be so fascinating! Her love for Charlie was adorable and emotional. Despite it being geared for younger children, I wouldn't recommend it for under young teens as some events might frighten younger readers. *couple swear words and a few conversations that some people might be annoyed about, but personally I thought it was realistic to what kids talk about with innocence.

  • Angie
    2019-05-17 03:52

    My absolute favorite book of all time. I read it as a child and fell in love with it, and love it more today.

  • Desiree Bauer
    2019-04-30 08:40

    I cried at teh ending! this is such a great book! i recomend it to anyone of any age 10 and older

  • Kayla
    2019-05-17 05:31

    Simply beautiful, this story will stay with you forever. I'd expect nothing less from Lois Lowry...she continues to amaze me each time.

  • Lynley
    2019-05-02 03:29

    I enjoyed this more than I enjoyed The Giver. It is very dark, but lightened by the earthy kid details of the main character, and her vengeful dark side. And then it gets darker. This is beautifully written, though I'm not sure if the big ideas in this story are 100% pulled off. The self-revelation of Liz is explained to the reader, whereas ideally the reader would be able to work that out for ourselves. The idea is that we all wear masks. Another is a yin-yang message, and that whatever side of a war we fall down on is to do with circumstance of birth rather than any profound difference between groups.There is no happy ending or solace. I suspect this appeals to older readers more, because of the large dose of nostalgia -- perhaps the one and only emotion young people can't identify with.

  • Brandon Scarpaci
    2019-05-18 06:44

    This story is about a young girl named Elizabeth who goes to live with her grandfather when her dad is sent off to the war. During the book Elizabeth has to deal with growing up faster than she would have hoped. There are conflicts that arise, and cause Elizabeth to wonder why the world is the way it is. This is another book written by Lois that can be used as a history lesson to students to show what it was like living in the United States during World War II. A negative point in this book is that it is very depressing. All of the sad events that keep happening one after another can take a tole on a reader. Because of this I would recommend this book for older readers because too many reoccurring sad events could make younger readers start too totally hate a certain genre, or author.

  • Gail
    2019-05-03 09:28

    An exquisitely written semi-autobiographical book with beautiful writing and imagery with an authentic 6-year-old narrative voice with themes of the sadness and horror of war- WWII, senseless discrimination & racism with the healing balm of family and shared experience, both good and bad. I loved this book!

  • Aimee Raybon
    2019-05-02 06:41

    Picked this tittle up because it's by Lois Lowry (one of my favorite authors) and I was not disappointed.

  • Lisa
    2019-05-21 01:50

    Based on events from her own life, Lois Lowry tells a story of a young girl, Elizabeth, during WWII, who goes with her mother, big sister, and baby brother to live with her grandparents while her father is serving in the Pacific. Lost, and feeling very lonely, she strikes up a friendship with Charles, a young black boy who is the grandson of her grandmother's cook. Charles and Elizabeth have many adventures together, but Elizabeth is often confused when they are held back from different activities, having no concept of race issues in her young mind. It is a story of love, loss, and learning to move on, and is a beautiful glimpse into Lois Lowry's life. I think that the afterword, where she tells what parts of the story were true, and which parts she changed, was one of my favorite parts of the book. After reading this story, it showed me how Ms. Lowry's personal experiences changed her and gave her an understanding of loss and pain, that allowed her to bring an amazing level of depth to her writing. This is not my favorite book of hers, but I love how it taught me more about her.

  • Julie Suzanne
    2019-05-10 02:41

    Found discarded in a "free books" bin, this was sweet serendipity, as it's by far the best book I've read this year. Lowry made me fall in love with Elizabeth immediately. I adored her innocence and her developing insight, and Lowry's imagery delighted me and sometimes broke my heart. For example, after describing 3 spinsters, one being a woman who was once engaged but never married, she wonders if the other two "were jealous of Philippa and her diamond ring that still, after so many years, sparkled the way wet spiderwebs did in sunshine." Wow. I pondered how apt that comparison is for a while. Definitely made me cry, made me think, and along with Liz, I discovered truths about human nature that I hadn't taken the time to see before. The novel felt To Kill A Mockingbirdesque, and even though it was grief-inducing (and I hadn't expected it), this novel touched me the way I yearn for in a book. However, I recommend it only to older teens and adults; I think much of it would be lost on a younger audience.

  • laaaaames
    2019-05-07 02:39

    Well holy crap! This was quite a book. If you don't want to get all rattled and choked up and needing a hug, maybe you shouldn't read it, because it's a rough one.I've said before that my favorite thing about Lois Lowry is that she writes about weird kids. I don't mean weird like effortful stuff, but just, you know, weird. The kids who think too much and are different because they just ARE and who can't figure out why the world works the way it does when often that way is so awful. Kids who are like me. I mean, I'm old now, but I was that kid. I am still that kid in so many ways. And no one else nails it like she does. Elizabeth here, Meg of a Summer to Die, and of course the glorious Anastasia Krupnik.Anyway, despite the happy little coverart we've got going on, this book reminds me most of To Kill a Mockingbird with a little bit of Bridge to Terabithia thrown in. Also it is absolutely unique too, very much its own thing, and of course one hundred percent Lowry.

  • Megan
    2019-05-24 06:32

    What a sweet, delightful, well-written book. I don't know that I remember any other author being able to capture so perfectly what it is like to be in the head of a child. She remembers exactly how it felt to overhear adult conversations and make incorrect assumptions; constructions of your world, based on what you heard. She remembers what it is like to take on the heavy guilt of thinking you're responsible for someone's death, when you're not. She remembers what it is like to be filled with desires, emotions, wants, and not know how to express them appropriately. Lowry was able to retain all of the sweetness and innocence and difficulty of childhood, with the most beautiful and poetic writing without there being a conflict between the two.This sensitive and impactful coming of age story takes place in Pennsylvania during WWII."We told each other, promised each other, that the pain and the fear would go away. It was not ever to be true."Excited to talk about this with my book group in a few weeks.

  • Shelley
    2019-05-15 02:41

    Tristan bought this home from school to read for his language arts class. I got ahead of him (his group) and I found a few parts kinda disturbing, like when the girl and the boy want to look at each other. This book is kinda old and today it is obviously a different time from when this story was written (or takes place) because kids are bought up today that this is not acceptable and they aren't allowed to do that sort of thing. I am presuming Tristan's teacher also got ahead and probably pulled the book from further reading because of this. I can't tell you how shocked I was when I as an adult read that, mainly because it's a children's book. I am never one to not finish a book, so I tried getting it at our library, but I guess because it is an old book, they didn't have it. I'll keep my eye out for it anyway for me just to read.

  • Xenia0201
    2019-05-20 05:31

    I was in 5th grade when Lois Lowry published this novel and I absolutely love it. She is more of a children's author now but I believe this one was for young adults, and somewhat autobiographical as well since she also lived in PA during WWII with her maternal grandparents. This wasn't a typical story I was used to...I had read lighthearted stories with some sort of parable attached to it. This book has overly adult themes and looking back on it, it was really such a dark story. It was the first time a book made me cry. I was 10. Years later, I had an opportunity to buy the book in hardcover, used, but it was a first edition that belonged to a library that was being closed down. I still read it every now and will always have a place on my shelf.

  • Shelley
    2019-05-26 04:55

    For years, I had vague recollections of this book, and then it popped up in the GR sidebar as a recommendation! Elizabeth's family goes to live with her mother's father and stepmother while her father is off fighting in World War II. Elizabeth is 6, and doesn't quite understand the world around her, from the war, to racism, to her own family privilege. I can't imagine this book being published now, honestly--it's of the ilk that came out in the 70s and very early 80s. Like, you know, with the brutal deaths.This book totally made an impact on me, I remember being so fascinated by it. I suspect because it tackled so many complicated things in a way that was accessible. And because I always was drawn to the dramatic.

  • D'Arcy Rowe
    2019-05-13 03:36

    This was a very sweet book. Liz is adorable and so believable. She is a little girl that takes everything you say as truth and doesn't understand slang at all. Tatie (the cook) tells her that everyone eats a peck of dirt before they die so Charles and her decide that they should actually taste it. She's pretty hilarious and I really enjoyed getting to know her. Lois Lowry does a great job showing everything from Liz's six-year old perspective. There are a lot of different relationships that she has with different kinds of people: Tatie, Charles (her grandson), her mom and sister, the three great aunts, grandfather and grandmother, and the twins next door.This was a refreshing read.

  • Beth Lind
    2019-05-15 08:50

    Throughout the book, Elizabeth sees the world through an artist's eye. The opening description of the painting of Autumn Street is mesmerizing. Elizabeth and her family go to live with her grandparents when her father goes to war (WWII). Somehow, the author manages to include class issues, racism and war inside a story of a small Pennsylvania town and have it all ring true. I couldn't stop reading this book and it did make me cry. What a powerful reminder that bad things can happen but we have the power to persevere inside us. I love Lois Lowry as an author -- and this is now my favorite from her.

  • Beverly
    2019-05-12 06:48

    We need to create a NSFC (not safe for commute) label for books (on the model of NSFW for online materials). Read the last few chapters at home--It's hard to blink back so many tears in the train station.And if you think that only recent children's books deal with serious issues, consider the fact that Autumn street (1980) includes the deaths of two children, including the main character's closest friend.

  • Jamie
    2019-05-25 09:43

    As always with Lois Lowry, this book is a bit of a hard read. The story is told from the perspective of a six-year-old girl. The story deals with war, racism, death, gossip amongst other things. It's a lot to read through. Layers on layers of meaning, trying to remember being six whilst reading with an adult's eye. There is a reason this woman has won pretty much every writing award out there. Beautifully done, as always.

  • Ashley
    2019-05-19 01:37

    I think I would give this 3.5 stars, but am moving it up to 4 because I loved the voice of the novel. It is narrated from the viewpoint of a 6 year old girl, and it was so simple, honest, and compelling. There were moments when I just had to chuckle out loud, and the ending made me tear up a bit. I felt that it was a very well written novel. There is just something about hearing a story like this from a 6 year old that registers with you.

  • Cindy Lakatos
    2019-05-25 04:54

    I liked this book but it was really sad at the end. All of the sweet, precious things about the story felt negated as a result of the end. I enjoyed the story and how it showed how children are truly color blind. I felt it was more of a story about that rather than a story about life in the US during Ww2.