2. "Wonderstruck," by Brian Selznick
In Wonderstruck, Brian Selznickâ€™s engrossing follow-up to his Caldecott-winning â€śThe Invention of Hugo Cabretâ€ť (the film adaptation of which, directed by Martin Scorsese, hits theaters this December), two hearing-impaired 12-year-olds, 50 years apart, run away from home to New York. In 1977, after his mother is killed in a car crash, Ben Wilson leaves Minnesota to find clues to his fatherâ€™s identity. In 1927 New Jersey, a desperately unhappy Rose keeps a scrapbook of her favorite film star.
Continuing the form he pioneered in â€śHugo Cabret,â€ť Selznick tells Roseâ€™s story as a silent film that unfolds in haunting pencil drawings. As Ben, who recently lost his hearing in a lightning strike, struggles to navigate New York, which unfolds to him â€śnoiselessly, like a scary movie with the sound turned off,â€ť he is drawn to the American Museum of Natural History. It takes several hundred pages for the two childrenâ€™s stories to fold together, but they do so in an emotionally fulfilling way. (Sharp-eyed readers will catch homages to the ultimate running-away-to-a-museum-story, E.L. Konigsburgâ€™s Newbery-winning classic â€śFrom the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.â€ť)