The 2008 Caldicott Award was given to Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret. The first book talk I gave to my class this year was for this book, and that got then excited about reading it. One of my students even went and bought the Italian translation. (I have the original American edition in my classroom.) Here is what is said on the book's website:
ORPHAN, CLOCK KEEPER, AND THIEF, twelve-year-old 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 girl and the owner of a small toy booth in the train station, Hugo’s undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message all come together...in The Invention of Hugo Cabret.
This 526-page book is told in both words and pictures. The Invention of Hugo Cabret is not exactly a novel, and it’s not quite a picture book, and it’s not really a graphic novel, or a flip book, or a movie, but a combination of all these things. Each picture (there are nearly three hundred pages of pictures!) takes up an entire double page spread, and the story moves forward because you turn the pages to see the next moment unfold in front of you.
Just last week I read to my class Walt Whitman: Words for America by Barbara Kerley that is illustrated by Brian Selznick. Other great books that he has done include Pam Munoz Ryan's Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride, about the friendship of Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt, and When Marian Sang, the story of Marian Anderson.
The next time you are in a bookstore, go to the children's section and look at a couple of Brian Selznick's books. Let yourself enjoy the worlds he has created with his illustrations.