Wonderstruck to Represent New York in National Book Festival

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The Empire State Center for the Book has selected Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck (Scholastic, 2011) to represent New York State at the 2012 National Book Festival in Washington DC.  The book is the state’s selection for the National Book Festival’s  “52 Great Reads.” Every year, a list of books representing the literary heritage of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands is distributed by the Library of Congress's Center for the Book during the National Book Festival.

In Wonderstruck, Selznick takes his reader through New York City in thrilling, dangerous and unexpected adventures.   “In The Invention of Hugo Cabret, (Scholastic, 2007) Selznick uses Paris as a backdrop and in Wonderstruck New York City is utilized in a similar manner,’” said Rocco Staino, chair of the Empire State Center for the Book.  “He brings both the 1927 & 1977 New York City to life in this book.” 

In addition, Anisha Kasi of New City, the level one Letters About Literature state winner used both Selznick and Wonderstruck as the subjects for her prize-winning letter.

“Thank you for helping me realize that a book can be more than a piece of fiction,” wrote 10-year-old Kasi in her entry.  “Wonderstruck helped me experience the past through the present and cherish the bonds that connect different generations in a very personal way.” 

The Letters About Literature is a national reading promotion program of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Each state chooses winners on three levels.  The New York State winners were recognized at the New York State Writes Fall of Fame Induction on June 5th where E. L. Doctorow, Pete Hamill, Toni Morrison and Joyce Carol Oates were amongst those inducted.

At the June 5th event Anisha Kasi was presented with an autographed copy of Wonderstruck.  In addition, Selznick sent Kasi a letter that is reproduced below: 

Dear Anisha,

I just had the pleasure of reading your beautiful letter about Wonderstruck, and I wanted to say thank you for sharing your experience with me. It meant so much to me to learn that my book had such a direct and personal meaning for you. Thank you for telling me about your grandmother, and how your family helped you get to know her through letters and recordings and stories. It's so important for us to connect with our past, and there are many ways to do it. I'm glad that my book was one path for you. I worked for a long time on Wonderstruck and it means a lot to me that the story felt linked to your own life in certain ways. That is the most an author can dream of, to connect to readers. I'm so honored that Wonderstruck is continuing to help make all these different kinds of connections.

Your friend,












The National Book Festival will be held on the National Mall on September 22 & 23, 2012. It will feature award-winning authors, poets and illustrators in several pavilions dedicated to categories of literature. Festival-goers can meet and hear firsthand from their favorite authors, get books signed, have photos taken with mascots and storybook characters and participate in a variety of learning activities. The Pavilion of the States will represent reading- and library-promotion programs and literary events in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. trusts and territories.

The Empire State Center for the Book is the state chapter of the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book and is a project of the New York Library Association.  It is supported by the NY Council for the Humanities.

For further information about the Empire State Center of the Book visit http://empirestatebook.org/