Brian Selznick

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Brian Selznick
Born (1966-07-14) July 14, 1966 (age 52)
East Brunswick Township, New Jersey, US
Occupation Illustrator, writer
Nationality American
Period 1991–present
Genre Children's picture books, historical novels
Subject Biography, history
Notable works
Notable awards Caldecott Medal
Spouse David Serlin

Brian Selznick (born July 14, 1966) is an American illustrator and writer best known for illustrating children's books. He won the 2008 Caldecott Medal for U.S. picture book illustration recognizing The Invention of Hugo Cabret.[1][2]

Life and career[edit]

Selznick, the oldest of three children of a Jewish family, was born and grew up in East Brunswick Township, New Jersey.[3][4] He is the son of Lynn (Samson) and Roger E. Selznick.[5][6] His grandfather was a cousin of Hollywood producer David O. Selznick.[7] He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and then worked for three years at Eeyore's Books for Children in Manhattan while working on The Houdini Box, about a boy's chance encounter with Harry Houdini and its aftermath. It became his debut work, a 56-page picture book published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1991.[8][9]

Selznick won the 2008 Caldecott Medal from the American Library Association for the year's best-illustrated picture book, recognizing The Invention of Hugo Cabret.[3] Its Caldecott Medal was the first for a long book, 533 pages with 284 pictures. Selznick calls it "not exactly a novel, not quite a picture book, not really a graphic novel, or a flip book or a movie, but a combination of all these things."[10] At the time it was "by far the longest and most involved book I’ve ever worked on."[8] It has inspired students to action, including a fourth grade class staging a silent film festival,[11] and a group of fifth graders who turned the book into a 30-minute modern dance.[12]

The Invention of Hugo Cabret follows a young orphan in Paris in the 1930s as he tries to piece together a broken automaton. The book was inspired by a passage in the book Edison’s Eve by Gaby Wood recounting the collection of automata that belonged to Georges Méliès. After his death they were thrown away by the museum that he donated them to. Selznick, a fan of Méliès and automata envisioned a young boy stealing an automaton from the garbage.[13] The Invention of Hugo Cabret was adapted as a film, Hugo, by director Martin Scorsese and released in November 2011.[14]

Selznick cites Maurice Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are, and Remy Charlip, author of Fortunately, as strong influences on his books The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck.[13]

Prior to winning the 2008 Caldecott Medal, Selznick had been a runner-up for the award, winning a Caldecott Honor in 2002 for The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins: An Illuminating History of Mr. Waterhouse Hawkins, Artist and Lecturer.[15] Other awards include the Texas Bluebonnet Award, the Rhode Island Children's Book Award, and the Christopher Award.


As writer[edit]

As writer and illustrator[edit]

As illustrator[edit]


  1. ^ "Caldecott Medal & Honor Books, 1938–Present"
  2. ^ nn
  3. ^ a b Rich, Motoko (January 26, 2008). "Reads Like a Book, Looks Like a Film". The New York Times. Retrieved November 11, 2010. 
  4. ^ Bloom, Nate (November 25, 2011). "Jewish Stars 11/25". Cleveland Jewish News. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Brian Selznick: how Scorsese's Hugo drew inspiration from his magical book". The Guardian. February 11, 2012. Retrieved July 7, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "Biography". Brian Selznick ( Retrieved February 20, 2013.
  9. ^ "The Houdini box". WorldCat. Retrieved February 20, 2013.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Stewart, Andrew (June 22, 2009). "Pupils Call for Silents". Variety. 415 (6): 3. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  12. ^ Toroian Keaggy, Diane (October 9, 2009). "Selznick earns a gold sticker and kids' acclaim". St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO). Retrieved October 10, 2011. 
  13. ^ a b Selznick, Brian (2008). "Caldecott Medal Acceptance Speech: Make the Book You Want to Make". Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children. 6 (2): 10–12. Retrieved October 10, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Jude Law and Sir Christopher Lee join Scorsese film". BBC News. June 30, 2010. Retrieved November 11, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Caldecott Medal & Honor Books, 1938–Present". Awards and Grants. Association for Library Service to Children. American Library Association. Retrieved October 10, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Summary: Brian Selznick takes readers on an intimate tour of the movie-making process ...".
    "The Hugo movie companion : a behind the scenes look at how a beloved book..."[permanent dead link]. LCC record. Retrieved 2013-02-20.
  17. ^ "Summary: Twelve prominent children's authors take turns writing the chapters in this novel about a twelve-year-old girl, puberty, and meddling mythological gods and goddesses."
    "12: a novel"[permanent dead link]. Library of Congress Catalog Record (LCC). Retrieved 2013-02-20.

Further reading[edit]

  • Llanas, Sheila Griffin. Brian Selznick (Minneapolis: ABDO Pub., 2012; ISBN 9781617832482) — Checkerboard biography library, Children's illustrators, 24 pages

External links[edit]