This week Wonderstruck entered my world like the bolt of lightening on its cover. It awakened a joy for reading that I have not felt since childhood.
In truth, this wake up took some time coming as the book waited patiently to strike while my life took over and (a whole bunch of useless internet scrolling!). I renewed it so many times at the library's online website that I reached my limit and had to go into the library to beg for another chance.
When I finally read Wonderstruck, I was surprised to discover a connection to a favorite movie, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, inspired by a book from the same author. I added the Hugo Cabret book as well as, The Marvels, to my reading pile. My discovery cascaded into a waterfall of reading for pleasure. I had to let go of mindless internet searching, shopping and the like to find the time for an act of mindful reading. With much less internet checking, my week has been more joyful and filled with creativity. I hope I find the words to encourage you to find the time to read Selznick's books. Don't wait like I did!
When you open Wonderstruck, you know that you are entering a different world of reading. Its chiaroscuro
drawings of dark and light pull you into the worlds of a young deaf boy in Gunflint Lake, Minnesota in the 1970s and a young deaf girl in New York in the 1920's. By the end of the story you will be transported to one of my favorite places, New York City, during both time frames. The irresistably fascinating American Museum of Natural History, Times Square and the little known City Panorama at the Queens Museum of Art all become part of the story.
The story behind the story of Wonderstruck is a case study for how creativity has the capability to multiply its effects both by participating and watching. After winning the Caldecott medal for Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick wanted to take his unique techinque of interspersing drawing and words into a different direction. He got the idea of telling two separate stories simultaneously from seeing his friend's puppet show where one puppet played two characters. Later, after watching a documentary about the history of deaf culture, he decided to marry the two ideas. Selnick's sketches create a type of silent movie as you turn the pages. The combination is the perfect medium for a story that follows the personal life experiences of people who rely heavily on the sense of sight.
Like Hugo Cabret, Wonderstruck is being made into a movie. You can watch a preview here. Selznick's research for his book relied on research of experts who wrote essays on panoramas, silent film, deaf culture, lighting and more. You can read them here. Wonderstruck has been the subject of plenty of buzz. Read the news here.
Get a copy of the book at your local library here. Don't wait like I did!