Newbery Contender: “Kaleidoscope” by Brian Selznick

Book review: Kaleidoscope by Brian Selznick (tween fiction)

Brian Selznick has won numerous awards for his previous books, including the Caldecott Medal and National Book Award Finalist for The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Best Book of the Year by six national literary groups for Wonderstruck.

His newest work, Kaleidoscope, is a set of short stories written during the pandemic while time seemingly stood still or ceased to make sense altogether. Each short story acts as one shard of glass in the kaleidoscope that is this book. Each incorporates themes of friendship, loss, memories, dreams, love, sadness, apples, ships, keys, stars, growth, and nature. Focused around an unnamed narrator and a boy named James, the stories twist and turn, a work of art on their own and as part of the whole.

In common Selznick style, the beginning of this book leaves readers wondering what is going on. Much interpretation is left to the reader, which allows individuals to glean the meaning important to them from each tale and potentially different meanings each time the book is read. My advice to readers is to sit back and enjoy the ride. Try not to overthink, just feel. By the end of the book, the stories will all have woven together, spanning time and space and circling back around again and again.

Take a peek through this Kaleidoscope and let us know what you think. Did it help you? Did it confuse you? Did you enjoy the beauty of the images portrayed? I can say yes to all three. I hope that you will give it a chance and see where each turn takes you.

Happy Reading!

~ Ms. Marcia

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