This book is going to be a monster hit!
A Brooklyn Heights author will launch his new fantasy series about kids protecting unicorns and other mystical monsters this weekend, in the trot-up to International Unicorn Day on April 9. The former teacher behind “The Unicorn Rescue Society” which will debut at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch on April 7, said he was inspired by two students who were hunting for an action-packed book that they could still relate to.
“They were middle grade students that wanted novels and books that were funny and scary, so I thought ‘What’s a funny adventure series that I could create for them?’ ” said Adam Gidwitz. “ ‘Maybe a unicorn rescue society?’ — the title came out of that, and it’s a cool subject that I wanted to explore.”
The Newbery-winning author said that the timing of his book launch is a coincidence, but he is a big fan of the horned horses, which he maintains are real — “they’re just very hard to find.”
“Any time I had a student that said they don’t exist, 90 percent of the time it was a boy, and I’d scream back, ‘Unicorns are awesome!’ ” he said.
The first novel in the planned six-book series, subtitled “The Creature of the Pines,” follows two New Jersey kids, Uchenna and Elliot, and their eccentric social studies teacher on a field trip to the state’s vast Pine Barren’s landscape, where they encounter — and rescue — the infamous New Jersey Devil from a pair of evil industrialists. The book establishes the setting of the books, and sets the tone for the series, said Gidwitz.
“This book is the first and definitely more adventurous, suspenseful, and funny,” he said.
Future books will deal with creatures from mythology around the world. Gidwitz wants his readers to appreciate the cultures behind the monsters, and so he is collaborating with authors with Native American, Pakistani, Mexican and Cuban backgrounds, respectively, for the final four books of the series.
“I want readers to encounter the rich and beautiful cultures in the series, so I write the first two books, but I’m teaming with authors who identify with other cultures for the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth book,” he said. “Working with authors who identify with cultures I’m writing about gives it a really rich feeling.”
“The Unicorn Rescue Society” release party at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch [10 Grand Army Plaza at Flatbush Avenue, (718) 230–2100, www.bklyn