2012's Buckeye Children's Book Award winner for grades 3-5 was Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick. I have to admit, I'm surprised that The Invention of Hugo Cabret wasn't an earlier winner, but I suspect that the popularity of that book helped introduce readers to Wonderstruck.
There are two stories happening in Wonderstruck -- the first, in written word, is the story of Ben in the 1970's. After his mother dies, he spends his time desperately trying to find his father, whom he has never met. He thinks he gets a clue in the pages of a story that his mom left behind, but ends up going completely deaf when lightning hits his house. It doesn't stop him from running away and trying to find the bookstore indicated on a bookmark in his mother's book. It is there he meets Rose.
Rose's story is told in pictures, growing up as a girl in the 1920's. She is also deaf, and is obsessed with actress Lillian Mayhew. Rose runs away to New York City to find her, where we learn that Lillian is actually Rose's mother. Lillian threatens to send Rose back to her father, so Rose runs away to the Museum of Natural History, until she is picked up by her older brother.
Skip forward to Ben's timeline, and Rose (as an older woman) runs into Ben, and we discover that ties run deep between Rose and Ben. I won't spoil the rest of the story, because it's fun to see how the two stories collide.
As with all of Selznick's books, the pictures are masterpieces. He is truly a talent for telling intricate stories with illustrations. They are so detailed, and at the same time seem so simple due to the black and white sketched nature of them. The expressions are masterfully done, and he makes use of perspective wonderfully. I like how he split the two stories apart, one into writing and one into pictures, as I think it helps show which story you are reading clearly.
We were able to see Brian at a recent national convention and I've always enjoyed how eloquent he is when speaking. You can tell he is very thoughtful about his stories and I like that he works hard to do a lot of research to make his stories perfect. The illustrations for his stories are always the standout pieces, but his writing is also superb and not to be ignored. I'm not at all surprised that kids were sucked into his storytelling. I know I was!
I see our upcoming titles for 2013 are a couple of my favorites! Have you heard about the new sequel to your title, Creepy Carrots? I'm so excited!
Please join us in our reading challenge! We welcome anyone at any time! :)
For more information, please see this post.