Suzanne Collins's post-Hunger Games children's book

year-of-jungle-cover-250.jpgHunger Games creator Suzanne Collins's next book will be an autobiographical children's book inspired by her father's military service in Vietnam.

Year of the Jungle will be a 40-page illustrated book intended for kids ages 4 and up. It's an exploration of the effects of war, with the main character, Suzy, coping with her father's absence and being able to connect with him only through his postcards.

"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. 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," Collins, 50, said in a statement released by Scholastic.

She mentioned the idea to illustrator James Proimos during a lunch one day, who became excited about working on a more emotionally complex children's picture book. Year of the Jungle is slated to be published September 10, 2013.

Collins released her last book, Mockingjay, the final installment of the Hunger Games series, in 2010. There are more than 50 million copies of the popular book franchise in print and the first Hunger Games film has grossed more than $600 million worldwide.

-with files from the Associated Press

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