She’s writing for an audience that is 10 years younger than her The Hunger Games readers, but Suzanne Collins is still exploring the concept of war. Year of the Jungle is the writer’s next new release to hit book shelves on September 10, 2013. The subject matter is grim–the Goodreads description reads
Suzy spends her year in first grade waiting for her father, who is serving in Vietnam, and when the postcards stop coming she worries that he will never make it home.
but, according to David Levithan, v-p, publisher and editorial director at Scholastic, in a “sympathetic” and “relatable” way.
In this autobiographical picture book, she struggles to deal with her father’s absence after his departure for Viet Nam. What is the jungle like? Will her father be safe? When will he return? The months slip by, marked by the passing of the familiar holidays and the postcards that her father sends. With each one, he feels more and more distant, and when he returns, Suzy must learn that even though war has changed him, he still loves her just the same.
Collins developed the story with illustrator and friend James Proimos over lunch.
“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.”
2013 also brings a re-release of Collins’ Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) in June and The Underland Chronicles (I’ve only read the first one but it was EXCELLENT!) in paperback during the Summer.