Suzanne Collins: Author, Year of the Jungle

Q | How does the experience of writing a picture book compare to writing novels?
A | Picture books don’t have very many words, which sounds easy, until you realize that you really need to find the right ones. Fortunately, there’s the art, which can tell a story all by itself. It shows what I couldn’t articulate as a 6-year-old.

Q | Talk about collaborating with artist James Proimos.
A | I told him the idea for the story and realized I couldn’t tell it if he didn’t do the art. We spent hours together where I shared the postcards and other artifacts from that year. Because I trusted him and could talk openly about my experience, I think I was able to go deeper into the story.

Q | Can you tell us about the Ogden Nash poem that begins and ends the book?
A | The poem is “The Tale of Custard the Dragon.” It tells kids that having fear doesn’t mean you’re not brave. The book opens and closes with my dad reading me the poem, but by the end it has a whole different resonance because the characters have experienced real fear.


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