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On the Horizon, Page 1

Lois Lowry


  * * *

  Title Page




  Part 1. On the Horizon

  That Morning



  She Was There

  Leo Amundson

  George and Jimmie


  Jake and John Anderson


  The Beach

  The Band

  The Musicians

  Captain Kidd

  James Myers

  Silas Wainwright

  8:15, December 1941

  The Fourth Turret

  Child on a Beach

  Pearl Harbor

  Part 2. Another Horizon


  Japanese Morning

  The Cloud



  The Red Tricycle

  Tram Girls

  Sadako Sasaki

  Chieko Suetomo

  The Tricycle

  8:15, August 1945


  Part 3. Beyond the Horizons


  After That Morning

  Bon Odori



  The Word For “Hate”

  Girl on a Bike




  Author’s Note


  Read More from Lois Lowry

  About the Author

  About the Illustrator

  Connect with HMH on Social Media

  Text copyright © 2020 by Lois Lowry

  Illustrations copyright © 2020 by Kenard Pak

  All rights reserved. For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to [email protected] or to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 3 Park Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10016.

  The illustrations in this book were done in pencil and edited digitally.

  Japanese calligraphy on page 66 by Yoriko Ito

  Cover design by Whitney Leader-Picone

  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

  Names: Lowry, Lois, author. | Pak, Kenard, illustrator.

  Title: On the horizon / Lois Lowry ; illustrated by Kenard Pak.

  Description: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, [2020] | Audience: Ages: 10–12 | Audience: Grades: 4–6 | Summary: “From two-time Newbery medalist and living legend Lois Lowry comes a moving account of the lives lost in two of WWII’s most infamous events: Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. With evocative black-and-white illustrations by SCBWI Golden Kite Award winner Kenard Pak.”—Provided by publisher.

  Identifiers: LCCN 2019008795 (print) | LCCN 2019980713 (ebook)

  ISBN 9780358129400 (hardcover) | ISBN 9780358129387 (ebook) | ISBN: 978-0-358-35476-5 (signed edition)

  Subjects: LCSH: Lowry, Lois—Childhood and youth—Juvenile literature. | World War, 1939–1945—Casualties—Juvenile literature. | Pearl Harbor (Hawaii), Attack on, 1941—Juvenile literature. | World War, 1939–1945—Hawaii—Juvenile literature. | World War, 1939–1945—Japan—Hiroshima-shi—Juvenile literature. | World War, 1939–1945—Personal narratives, American—Juvenile literature. | Hiroshima-shi (Japan)—History—Bombardment, 1945—Juvenile literature.

  Classification: LCC D743.7 .L69 2020 (print) | LCC D743.7 (ebook) | DDC 940.54/25219540922—dc23 LC record available at

  LC ebook record available at


  For Howard, with love

  PART 1.

  On the Horizon

  On December 7, 1941, early on a Sunday morning, Japanese planes bombed Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii. Most of the United States Pacific Fleet was moored there. Tremendous damage was inflicted, and the battleship Arizona sank within minutes, with a loss of 1,177 men.

  The bombing of Pearl Harbor that day was the beginning, for the United States, of World War II.

  I was born in Honolulu in 1937. Years later, as I watched a home movie taken by my father in 1940, I realized that as I played on the beach at Waikiki, USS Arizona could be seen through mist in the background, on the horizon.

  That Morning

  They had named the battleships for states:



  West Virginia






  They called them “she”

  as if they were women

  (gray metal women),

  and they were all there that morning

  in what they called Battleship Row.

  Their places

  (the places of the gray metal women)

  were called berths.

  Arizona was at berth F-7.

  On either side, her nurturing sisters:


  and Tennessee.

  The sisters, wounded, survived.

  But Arizona, her massive body sheared,

  slipped down. She disappeared.


  It was an island of rainbows.

  My mother said that color arced across the sky

  on the spring day when I was born.

  On the island of rainbows,

  my bare feet slipping in sand,

  I learned to walk.

  And to talk:

  My Hawaiian nursemaid

  taught me her words, with their soft vowels:


  the name of a little fish!

  It made me laugh, to say it.

  We laughed together.

  Ānuenue meant “rainbow.”

  Were there rainbows that morning?

  I suppose there must have been:

  bright colors, as the planes came in.


  My grandmother visited.

  She had come by train across the broad land

  from her home in Wisconsin, and then by ship.

  We met her and heaped wreaths

  of plumeria around her neck.

  “Aloha,” we said to her.

  Welcome. Hello.

  I called her Nonny.

  She took me down by the ocean.

  The sea moved in a blue-green rhythm, soft against the sand.

  We played there, she and I, with a small shovel,

  and laughed when the breeze caught my bonnet

  and lifted it from my blond hair.

  We played and giggled: calm, serene.

  And there behind us—slow, unseen—

  Arizona, great gray tomb,

  moved, majestic, toward her doom.

  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.

  Leo Amundson

  Leo was just seventeen.

  He’d enlisted in July.

  The U.S. Marines! He must have been proud.

  And his folks, too: Scandinavian stock.

  Immigrants to Wisconsin, like my own grandparents.

  Leo was from La Crosse. My father was born there.

  My Nonny had come from La Crosse by train.

  Had she known Leo’s parents?

  Had she nodded to Mrs. Amundson on the street?
/>   Had she said, “Good morning. I hear your boy’s a Marine now”?

  Nonny and I played on the beach in the sunshine.

  On the horizon, the boy from La Crosse

  (just seventeen),

  service number 309872,

  was on the ship. We never knew.

  George and Jimmie

  George and Jimmie Bromley,

  brothers from Tacoma,

  handsome boys with curly hair.

  (Jimmie was the older, but not by much.)

  There were thirty-seven sets of brothers aboard

  (one set was twins).

  And a father and son,

  Texans: Thomas Free and his

  seventeen-year-old boy, William.

  Both gone. Both lost.

  They found George Bromley’s body.

  Not Jimmie’s, though.


  The hospital ships had names that spoke of need:






  They carried the wounded and ill.

  That morning, Solace was moored near the Arizona.

  She sent her launches and stretchers across.

  The harbor had a film of burning oil.

  Scorched men were pulled one by one from the flames

  and taken to Solace.

  Jake and John Anderson

  John Anderson survived the attack.

  He’d been preparing for church.

  Rescued, he asked to go back.

  He begged to return, to search.

  He was burned and bleeding.

  “My brother’s still there,” he said,

  distraught, desperate, and pleading.

  “Jake’s there! I know he’s not dead!”

  But one would die, and one live on.

  Identical twins. Jake and John.


  Everett Reid turned twenty-four

  December sixth, the day before.

  He held the rank machinist’s mate.

  He’d celebrated, stayed out late

  with friends; they’d danced and sung.

  He lived ashore. He’d married young.

  In the morning, when he woke,

  he heard the sirens, saw the smoke.

  He’d remember all his life

  the hasty parting from his wife,

  her quick and terrified embrace,

  his frantic journey to the base.

  His birthdays, though, for many years

  brought no joy. Just grief. Just tears.

  The Beach

  The morning beach was deserted.

  We were alone, Nonny and me

  (and Daddy, his camera whirring).

  I tiptoed, pranced, and flirted

  with waves. Just we three

  and empty beach. Nothing stirring.

  And if we’d looked? And been alerted

  to a gray ship at the edge of the sea?

  The mist would still have been there, blurring

  the shape of a ship moving slowly.

  Now, years later, it seems holy.

  The Band

  NBU 22. That’s what it was called:

  Navy Band Unit 22. The Arizona band.

  That morning—it was not yet eight—

  they were on deck, about to play.

  (Their music raised the flag each day.)

  When the alert came,

  they ran to their battle station—

  they called it the black powder room.

  Their job was to pass ammunition

  to the gunners. But the black powder exploded.

  Twenty-one young men, prepared

  for morning colors. Not one was spared.

  All the high-stepping boys

  who’d marched at high school

  football games, once; who’d enlisted;

  now, with their instruments, lay twisted.

  The Musicians

  Neal Radford: At twenty-six,

  Neal was the oldest among

  the musicians. The others

  were all so very young,

  like Alexander Nadel—don’t forget

  he went to Juilliard! But was still

  just twenty. He played cornet.

  So did the youngest; that was Bill

  McCary, southern boy, seventeen.

  An only child from Birmingham,

  Billy was eager, bright, and keen

  to give his all for Uncle Sam.

  Music was their main pursuit.

  Curtis Haas—they called him Curt—

  played clarinet, tenor sax, and flute.

  A handsome kid: a clown, a flirt.

  Each band member was, like him,

  such a source of family pride.

  Curt was young, hardworking, trim;

  twenty-one the day he died.

  Back home each one had friends they missed,

  dogs they’d raised, and girls they’d kissed;

  childhood rooms with model planes,

  boyhood bikes with rusted chains;

  moms and dads and baseball teams,

  and dreams—each one of them had dreams.

  Captain Kidd

  It sounds like the name of a pirate.

  Nonny told me stories of pirates,

  of trolls, and dragons, and kings.

  Imaginary things.

  He was not an imaginary hero.

  He was Captain Isaac Campbell Kidd,

  commanding officer of USS Arizona.

  His friends called him Cap.

  When he was made commander

  of the entire Battleship Division,

  he became an admiral.

  Admiral Kidd ran to the bridge

  that morning in December.

  His Naval Academy ring

  was found melted and fused to the mast.

  It is not an imaginary thing,

  a symbol of devotion so vast.

  James Myers

  James was from Missouri

  and had two brothers.

  The older boy had died in France

  in World War I.

  The youngest (out in a field,

  bringing in the cows, when a storm struck)

  was killed by lightning.

  He was fifteen.

  So James was left.

  He married, and had two sons himself.

  But his wife died young, and

  the little boys, Jimmy and Gordon,

  went to live with their grandma in Seattle.

  It was the other grandma,

  widowed Mary Myers, in Missouri,

  who opened the telegram with dread.