Hunger Games’ Suzanne Collins’ Autobiographical Picture Book

The Hunger Games author is moving on…well, sort of.

Suzanne Collins’ next book will focus on a similar subject matter as The Hunger Games trilogy: a young girl dealing with the difficulties of war. But that’s where the similarities end. The new book, titled Year of the Jungle is autobiographical in nature and will be illustrated by James Proimos. That’s right – pictures!

The 40-page book focuses on a young girl named Suzy and the challenges she faces coping with her father’s absence as he fights in Vietnam. It also shows how the war changes the veteran when he returns home.

So why illustrated? And why now? Collins explained how it all came together in a press release:

For several years I had this little wicker basket next to my writing chair with the postcards my dad had sent me from Vietnam and photos of that year. But I could never quite find a way into the story. It has elements that can be scary for the audience and it would be easy for the art to reinforce those.  It could be really beautiful art but still be off-putting to a kid, which would defeat the point of doing the book. Then one day I was having lunch with Jim and telling him about the idea and he said, ‘That sounds fantastic.’  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. As the emotional life of the main character evolves into darker places, the pictures beautifully keep pace with it, but they never lose that Proimos quality.  His art made telling the story possible.

The book will be suitable for a younger audience than The Hunger Games according to Scholastic and will portray war in a “sympathetic rather than scary, relatable rather than raw” way.

Scholastic announced the book will be released Sep 10, 2013. Excited? Share your thoughts below.