2007 National Book Award Finalist,
Young People's Literature

Brian Selznick

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Scholastic Press


About the Book

Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy.

Brian Selznick is a Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator and New York Times bestselling author. He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with the intention of becoming a set designer for the theatre. However, after spending three years selling books and painting windows for a children’s bookstore in Manhattan, he was inspired to create children’s books of his own. His books have received many awards and distinctions, including a Caldecott Honor for The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins and a Robert F. Sibert Honor for When Marian Sang. Brain lives in Brooklyn, New York and San Diego, California.

Suggested Links

Author and book website

Brian Selznick Interview by Gavin J. Grant

Wikipedia entry

Audio & Video

Interview with Brian Selznick

The Intricate, Cinematic World of 'Hugo Cabret'
All Things Considered, February 9, 2007 http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7114977

Highlights of author Brian Selznick, during a special Indigo event at a Yorkdale (Toronto) theatre, as he presents illustrations from his book "The Invention of Hugo Cabret".

Excerpt from The Invention of Hugo Cabret

“Before you go home, come with me,” Hugo said, and he helped Isabelle through the nearest air vent into the walls. Between Hugo’s injured hand and Isabelle’s sprained foot, it was extremely difficult for them to get up the staircases and the ladder, but they helped each other and at last they came to the glass clocks that overlooked the city. The clocks were supposed to be lit from the inside, but the wiring had long ago stopped working.

“It’s so beautiful,” said Isabelle. “It looks like the whole city is made out of stars.”

“Sometimes I come up here at night, even when I’m not fixing the clocks, just to look at the city. I like to imagine that the world is one big machine. You know, machines never have any extra parts. They have the exact number and type of parts they need. So I figure if the entire world is a big machine, I have to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason, too.”

They watched the stars, and they saw the moon hanging high above them. The city sparkled below, and the only sound was the steady rhythmic pulse of the clock’s machinery. Hugo remembered another movie he and his father had seen a few years earlier, where time stops in all of Paris, and everyone is frozen in their tracks. But the night watchman of the Eiffel Tower, and some passengers who land in an airplane, are mysteriously able to move around the silent city. What would that be like? Even if all the clocks in the station break down, thought Hugo, time won’t stop. Not even if you really want it to.

Like now.

From The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Copyright © 2007 by Brian Selznick. Published by Scholastic Press.