Tag Archives: Brian Selznick

Wonderstruck & The Giveaway

I read Brian Selznick’s newest book, Wonderstruck, in a matter of days.  I could have read it in a sitting but I happened to have a lot on my plate that weekend.  Selznick creates a wonderful new book.  This time he experiments with the idea of telling two different (but in many ways parallel) stories: one in text and one in pictures.  The story told in all words is set in 1977 and is about a young boy, Ben, searching for his father.  The story told in all illustrations follows a young deaf girl named Rose, set in 1927.  The two kids, at different times, runaway to The Museum of Natural History in search of meaning, answers, and most importantly, family.  The illustrations are amazing and captivating.  Reading/understanding a story in illustration about a deaf girl forced me to listen to the silence.  I don’t know if that makes sense so let me try to explain:

When I read I tend to listen to words being said in my head.  This might be why I read so slow, but I can’t help it – I just read that way.  When I look at images, specifically ones that come together to tell a story, I hear nothing in my head.  There is silence.  I discovered this to be the case with the amazing illustrative story The Arrival by Shaun Tan.  By reading a story through illustration, completely void of words, I was able to inhabit the mind and world of the deaf, specifically of one deaf girl, Rose.  I saw the museum and the city the way she did and it was quiet.

Rose and Ben’s stories merge together in an unforeseeable twist that speaks of family, redemption, and love.  I really enjoyed this book.  Brian Selznick is a gifted illustrator and his research into Deaf Culture created a realistic story.  I only have one concern when it comes to Brian Selznick and his storytelling, specifically in Wonderstruck, and that is with his text.  I love the parallel stories in this book, but I did gravitate towards the illustrative story.  I felt quite sympathetic towards Ben, but looking back I felt Ben and the characters (literally) written fell a little flat.  Just a little!  I wanted more character from these characters.  I already cared about their story and so I wanted Ben to have a bit more personality.  Sometimes I felt like I wanted to rush to Rose’s story and perhaps Selznick wanted to rush to her story as well.  I actually would have loved an entire book about her life and about Deaf Culture all told in illustrations.  I am being a little hard on Wonderstruck, but that is only because I did enjoy it so much and, therefore, I scrutinized the parts I wanted more from.

It could also have been because I was listening to an audiobook about two other museum runaway kids — From the Mixed-Up FIles of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg.  Oh, man, was this book fantastic!!  Konigsburg is a master storyteller and she creates some darn wonderful characters.  The kids in this book are smart, hilarious, and complicated.  The book came out in 1967 and, aside from some outdated references to the cost of goods, it has held the test of time.  I adored the brother, Jaime, and sister, Claudia, relationship.  The two were smarter beyond their years.  They run away and live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art where they sleep in antique beds and bathe in the fountain.  If you have not read this book yet, then you really, really must!!  You should also read Wonderstruck!  Other than that one, tiny minor critique, I adored Selznick’s newest book.  I also can’t wait to see the movie Hugo.

Speaking of the movie, Hugo, it is time for me to announce the winner of my first Giveaway Schmiveaway!!!  All contestants were placed in a hat and then one lucky individual was chosen at random.

And the winner is………

Erik!  The blogger of This Kid Reviews Books!

Erik, please email me at readschmead@yahoo.com with your address so that I can send you the signed Hugo poster.

Thank you so much to everyone who left comments and subscribed!  Don’t worry if you didn’t win because I have a bunch of other goodies to giveaway for the next few months.  Giveaways to come in no particular order: an Oliver Jeffers book, signed copy of Maggie Stiefvater’s book The Scorpio Races, signed books by Andrew Smith, and many more!!


Age Group: 9 and up
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary Fiction
Themes: Family, Friendship, Loss, Deaf Culture
Publisher: Scholastic

From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler:

Age Group: 9 and up
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary Fiction
Themes: Family, Friendship, Discovery
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers



Filed under Giveaway Schmiveaway, Middle Grade Books

A Few More Days to Win Brian Selznick Signed HUGO Poster!

Don’t forget to comment and/or follow for a chance to win a signed copy of the poster for the film adaptation of Brian Selznick’s book The Invention of Hugo Cabret. The movie is coming out November 23rd and is directed by Martin Scorsese. If you have not read Hugo, you should. It’s quite wonderful. An illustrator first, Selznick brings to life such a magical, adventurous story with compelling and heartfelt artwork. It’s a great story both kids and adults can love.  Contest ends Monday at midnight (PST).

Also, don’t forget to pick up a copy of Brian Selznick’s new book Wonderstruck. I recently read this, and enjoyed it thoroughly! Review forthcoming.

Happy reading.


Follow me on Twitter! @ReadSchmead


Filed under Book-Related Stuff, Giveaway Schmiveaway

Brian Selznick and My First Giveaway Schmiveaway!

On Thursday, October 20th, I worked the Brian Selznick book event for A Whale of a Tale Children’s Bookshoppe.  Selznick was wonderful!  He gave a captivating presentation about his writing process, specifically in regards to his latest book Wonderstruck (review to come soon).  The entire event was loads of fun.  If Brian Selznick is EVER in your area and you have a chance to listen to him speak about books and writing then I INSIST you go!!  One audience member asked Selznick, “What is your favorite book?”  He answered, “Fortunately” by Remy Charlip.”  He then began quoting the book and the entire audience, including myself, could see why he loves this book — it sounds hilarious.  Here is an excerpt:

Fortunately, Ned was invited to a surprise party.

Unfortunately, the party was a thousand miles away.

Fortunately, a friend loaned Ned an airplane.

Unfortunately, the motor exploded.

Fortunately, there was a parachute in the airplane.

Unfortunately, there was a hole in the parachute.

Selznick also showed us a quick behind-the-scenes/trailer for the movie Hugo.  It looks so amazing.  It actually gives me chills.  I know.  I am a weirdo.  But just watch it and tell me you don’t get all tingly when that thematic song plays in the background and the images of Hugo Cabret come to life!  You are made of steel and cold-hearted if you don’t get chills.

I was able to have Brian Selznick sign both of my books along with a Hugo movie poster.  This leads me to my first GIVEAWAY!!!  I will be selecting one lucky individual to receive the Hugo movie poster signed by Brian Selznick!

I have already started accepting entries into the Giveaway.  You can enter by subscribing to Read Schmead and by posting comments.  Basically every subscriber is automatically entered into the contest.  For every comment you post I will enter your name into the contest again.

Here are some more photos from the event:

Most the seats were full at The Murray Center in Mission Viejo, CA

Myself, Brian Selznick, and Alex


Also, don’t forget you can buy signed copies of Brian Selznick’s books at A Whale of a Tale Children’s Bookshoppe!  Call us at 949-854-8288!!


Filed under Events, Giveaway Schmiveaway, Middle Grade Books

Hilary Duff and Brian Selznick Events!

October is one great month for author events!  A Whale of a Tale Bookshoppe is working overtime to host a ton of incredible authors this month!  I just finished working at the Rick Riordan event, which was amazing (blog post to come later).  Next we have Hilary Duff and Brian Selznick!

On October 15th at 1pm Hilary Duff will be signing her young adult novels, Elixir and Devoted, at A Whale of a Tale Bookshoppe in Irvine, California.

Here’s a quick synopsis of her new book, Devoted:

Since Sage was kidnapped, Clea has no way of knowing if he is alive or dead. And even though she has only just discovered they were soulmates, she feels like a part of her is lost forever. What’s worse, she can’t even turn to her best friend Ben—because every time she looks at him, all she sees is his betrayal. But waiting for something to happen is not an option, so Clea is ready for action. Suffering through dreams of seeing Sage with another woman, she makes an uneasy alliance with Sage’s enemies and sets out to be reunited with Sage…in this life or the next.

Don’t miss Brian Selznick’s talk and book signing on October 20th at 7pm.  I love The Invention of Hugo Cabret and just started reading his newest book, Wonderstruck.

There is no one better to tell you a little more about Wonderstruck than Selznick himself so watch this video (Caution: you will definitely want to read this when you finish the video)

Brian Selznick will be at Norman P. Murray Community Center in Mission Viejo – 24932 Veterans Way.  Be there or be square.

NOTE:  If you can’t make it to the events then we can still get you a signed copy!  Pre-order your copy today by calling A Whale of a Tale Bookshoppe, 949-854-8288!!!


Filed under Book-Related Stuff, Events