Wonderstruck tells story of ‘people of the eye’

Ben lives in Gunflint Lake, Minnesota. The year: 1977

Rose lives in Hoboken, New Jersey. The year: 1927

What do to two people so distanced by time and space have in common?

1. They are both deaf

2. They both leave home to travel to New York City

3. They are both characters in Brian Selznick’s new book “Wonderstruck


An illustration from Brian Selznick’s “Wonderstruck.”

Copyright 2011 by Brian Selznick. Used with permission from Scholastic Press

MPR’s Euan Kerr spoke to Selznick about his new work, which tells Rose’s story in pictures, and Ben’s story in words.

Selznick said when he first thought of telling two tales simultaneously in text and pictures, he knew he needed the right subject. Then he saw the documentary “Through Deaf Eyes” which includes an educator who described deaf people as ‘the people of the eye.’ He latched onto that.

“There were a lot of things interesting me at the time as well,” he said. “The history of museums, and ideas about New York City. And Minnesota, as well, … became a very central part of the story.”

As part of his book tour, Selznick is asking for sign-language translators at his readings, including one tonight at 6pm at Open Eye Figure Theater in Minneapolis.

You can hear more about Wonderstruck, and about Selznick’s previous book “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” (the inspiration for Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo”) by clicking on the audio link below: