'Harry Potter' director Chris Columbus takes on children's books

'Harry Potter' director Chris Columbus plans to write a trilogy of children's books with author Ned Vizzini.

Yui Mok/SUB/PA/AP
The first book in a projected series by "Harry Potter" director Chris Columbus and author Ned Vizzini has a scheduled release date of spring 2013.

After creating family-friendly entertainment with such films as the first two "Harry Potter" movies and the 1990 hit “Home Alone,” director-producer-screenwriter Chris Columbus is turning to children’s books.

Columbus, who also directed the 2010 film “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief,” has contracted to write a trilogy of children’s books for publisher HarperCollins, according to Entertainment Weekly. The books will be co-written with author Ned Vizzini, the writer of 2007’s “It’s Kind of a Funny Story.”

The books will be aimed at middle-schoolers, and the series has a working title of "House of Secrets." The books will focus on the Pagett siblings, who, with their parents, move into a house that was once owned by a fantasy author. The Pagetts are forced to go on a mysterious mission to save their parents and find out the truth behind their family. The first book has a planned release date of the spring, 2013.

Columbus told Entertainment Weekly that the transition to a writing process has not been a difficult one for him and that he was inspired to write children’s books after seeing how much the "Harry Potter" series affected young readers.

“You hope for just a section of that in terms of being able to inspire kids to read,” Columbus said. “And that’s really one of the themes of the book – that reading is essential to your development as a child and as an eventual adult. That really has inspired us in moving forward.”

Molly Driscoll is a Monitor contributor.

Join the Monitor's book discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.