Author Ruth Ozeki had an understandable reaction when book editor Arthur Levine invited her to team up with nine other writers to create a new novel for young readers. She thought he was "nuts."
But she and the others on this literary tag team overcame their initial skepticism. The result is Click, a novel in 10 chapters, each by a different writer.
Newbery Medal winner Linda Sue Park starts the book with a girl called Maggie, who receives an unusual inheritance from her grandfather, a globe-trotting photojournalist known as Gee.
She receives a wooden box and inside she finds seven seashells, each from a different continent. This unusual gift sets off a story that winds around the world and across generations.
Chapter 8, titled "Jiro," about World War II, is written by Ozeki. It begins:
When my older brother came home from the war, he had no legs. He lost them in a place called Luzon, in the Philippines, where our Japanese soldiers were fighting the Americans. My brother, Taro, was advancing with his platoon through the jungle toward the enemy position, when the grenades started falling from the trees like big fat fruit.
Ozeki says she connected with the character of Gee because her Japanese grandfather was also a photographer. "So I know what it was like to grow up with boxes of photographs and each one with a history that you might not understand," she tells Deborah Amos.
Click editor Arthur Levine says that "in many ways this book is a construction of a life. It's a life seen from many different angles and with many different people's perspectives, and that's just how anyone's life is."