Sunday, December 2, 2012

Year of the Jungle

Suzanne Collins, author of the Hunger Games series has a new book due September 10, 2013! This time she's going for a younger target audience--ages 4 and up! It's a picture book called Year of the Jungle and, according to this Entertainment Weekly article, it is autobiographical.

The book is illustrated by James Proimos, and follows Suzy's struggle to deal with her father's absence as he serves in Vietnam. She counts down the days until her father’s return, and when he finally comes back, Suzy finds that the war has changed him but he loves her all the same.

On her inspiration for the book, Suzanne Collins says:

"For several years I had this little wicker basket next to my writing chair with the postcards my dad had sent me from Vietnam and photos of that year. But I could never quite find a way into the story. It has elements that can be scary for the audience and it would be easy for the art to reinforce those. It could be really beautiful art but still be off-putting to a kid, which would defeat the point of doing the book. Then one day I was having lunch with Jim and telling him about the idea and he said, ‘That sounds fantastic.’ I looked at him and I had this flash of the story through his eyes, with his art. It was like being handed a key to a locked door. So, I just blurted out, ‘Do you want to do it?’ Fortunately he said yes. That afternoon, on the train ride home, the book started unfolding in my head. There’s a natural humor and sense of fun to his drawing style that makes the story approachable. As the emotional life of the main character evolves into darker places, the pictures beautifully keep pace with it, but they never lose that Proimos quality. His art made telling the story possible."

Click here to read the full article in Entertainment Weekly.

How exciting!

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