Caldecott Medalist Brian Selznick (The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Wonderstruck), known for his genre-defying storytelling style that marries words and images in unique ways, has a new book on the way: Scholastic will publish his latest novel, Kaleidoscope, in September, for readers 10 and up.
“Kaleidoscope is about two people who need each other very much,” Selznick says, noting that the book was inspired in many ways by his experience during the first three months of the pandemic. “I was alone in my apartment in New York while my husband was stuck in California. During that time, I started making abstract art, perhaps because it felt like the world was shattering, so my art needed to do something similar.”
Selznick describes how the novel grew out of his recent creative exploration. “For the previous five years, I’d been working on and off on a book, but when I finally was ready to think about the story again, I found myself ripping apart everything I’d already written,” he says. “As I worked, certain themes and images kept reappearing: gardens and butterflies, apples, angels, fires, trees, friendship, islands, keys, shipwrecks, grief, and love. Each of these elements, like bits of colored glass, turn and transform and rearrange themselves from chapter to chapter into something new. That’s why I decided to call the book Kaleidoscope.”
Not surprisingly, Selznick’s fans can expect to see something innovative. “Kaleidoscope is a new format for me, but each of my books has always been a new format for me,” he says. “In Kaleidoscope, the images are used in what may seem to be a more classical fashion—one drawing per chapter—while the narrative itself is meant to fragment and change what you see in your mind. I’ve always loved the idea that when a reader finishes one of my books, they may not remember which parts of the story were illustrated and which parts were text.”
Selznick will speak and do a live q&a on Thursday, May 27, 2:30–3 p.m. ET.