The book, “Year of the Jungle,” will be autobiographical and based around Collins’ father’s time serving in Vietnam. The story centers on a young girl named Suzy who worries about her father's safety after he leaves to fight overseas.
James Proimos, who has written and illustrated children's titles such as "The Many Adventures of Johnny Mutton," will be creating the illustrations, and Collins said in a statement that he was the one who convinced her to write it.
“For several years I had this little wicker basket next to my writing chair with the postcards my dad had sent me from Vietnam and photos of that year. But I could never quite find a way into the story,” she said. “It has elements that can be scary for the audience, and it would be easy for the art to reinforce those. It could be really beautiful art but still be off-putting to a kid, which would defeat the point of doing the book. Then one day I was having lunch with Jim and telling him about the idea and he said, 'That sounds fantastic.' I looked at him and I had this flash of the story through his eyes, with his art. It was like being handed a key to a locked door.”
The first installment in “The Hunger Games” series was released as a movie last March starring Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, and the next three parts of the series (the last book is planned for two films) are set to be released in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
The first "Hunger Games" book was released back in 2008, but the series still occupies the number four spot on the children’s series part of the New York Times bestseller list for Dec. 2 and ranks number six on the IndieBound children’s fiction series list for Nov. 29. Before “Games,” Collins had written a fantasy series for tweens titled “The Underland Chronicles.”
“Jungle” will be released Sept. 10 through Scholastic. It will be aimed at readers 4 and older.