Book for February 2015
This young adult book was originally intended to be a picture book featuring photographs Riggs had collected, but on the advice of an editor at Quirk Books, he used the photographs as a guide from which to put together a narrative. Riggs was a collector of photographs, but needed more for his novel. He met Leonard Lightfoot, a well-known collector at the Rose Bowl Flea Market, and was introduced to other collectors. The result was a story about a boy who follows clues from his grandfather's old photographs which lead him on an adventure that takes him to a large abandoned orphanage on a Welsh island.
The book has been a New York Times best seller. It reached the #1 spot on the Children's Chapter Books list on 29 April 2012 after being on the list for 45 weeks,remaining there until 20 May, when it dropped to the fourth spot on the list. Critics have generally praised the book for creative use of vintage photographs as well as good characterization and settings.
Riggs was born in Maryland on a 200-year-old farm, and grew up in Florida, where he attended the Pine View School for the Gifted. He studied English literature at Kenyon College, and studied film at the University of Southern California. His work on short films for the Internet and blogging for Mental Floss got him a job writing The Sherlock Holmes Handbook which was released as a tie-in to the 2009 Sherlock Holmes film.
Riggs had collected curious vernacular photographs and approached his publisher, Quirk Books, about using some of them in a picture book. On the suggestion of an editor, Riggs used the photographs as a guide from which to put together a narrative. The resulting book was Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children which made The New York Times Best Seller list.
Another book inspired by old photographs, Talking Pictures was published by Harper Collins in October 2012. The sequel Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine's Children was released January 14, 2014.