Scholastic Press has just released the cover art for Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick, winner of the 2008 Caldecott Medal for The Invention of Hugo Cabret. His new novel expands on the heavily illustrated format of the earlier novel, presenting the stories of two children living 50 years apart, a girl in 1927 and a boy in 1977, who each set out on a quest to find what is missing in their lives. Wonderstruck will be released simultaneously in the U.S., the U.K., New Zealand, Australia, and Canada on September 13.

Tracy Mack, executive editor of Scholastic Press, has been working with Selznick on his latest novel for three years. She says that in Wonderstruck the author “ups the ante and challenges himself to play with the form he created in The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and evolves the form further.” Where that book offers a single story told in words and pictures, she explains, “This novel tells two independent stories—one told in words, the other in pictures. The structure is wholly original, the transitions between stories are awe-inspiring, and how the two stories ultimately come together is tender and resonant.”

Scholastic’s creative director, David Saylor, calls Selznick “a brilliant bookmaker who has a unique vision for all his projects,” and says that his own role in the creation of Wonderstruck “is to help realize Brian’s vision for the book in physical form: how the cover, case, and interior design details should look, how the artwork is showcased, and how the finished book will look and ‘feel’ as both an object and a reading experience. All the details matter to Brian, and I’m his sounding board on the multitude of design decisions that go into making his books.”

For the newly unveiled cover of the novel, Saylor notes, “We really wanted something dramatic, but also something iconic.” After bouncing around many cover concepts that were more complicated, he says, “we were drawn back again and again to the simplicity of the lightning bolt and the New York City skyline in 1977. That image will resonate with readers in surprising ways, starting from the first page and continuing through to the very last.”

The announced U.S. first printing for Wonderstruck is 500,000 copies. Mack believes that the novel will strike a chord with Hugo Cabret fans. “It gives readers much of what they loved about Hugo Cabret, and something entirely new at the same time,” she observes. “Hugo Cabret turned so many reluctant readers into readers, and this new novel has that same potential.”

Not long after the publication of Wonderstruck, The Invention of Hugo Cabret is due to spring to life on screen. A movie adaptation of the novel, which has more than 800,000 copies in print, is scheduled for release by Paramount Pictures in November, directed by Martin Scorsese.