July 14, 1966 |
East Brunswick Township, New Jersey, USA
|Genres||Children's picture books, historical novels|
|Notable award(s)||Caldecott Medal
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, which was his first long work as a writer.
Life and career
Selznick, the oldest of three children, was born and grew up in East Brunswick Township, New Jersey. His grandfather was a cousin of Hollywood producer David O. Selznick. 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.
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. 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." At the time it was "by far the longest and most involved book I’ve ever worked on." It has inspired students to action, including a fourth grade class staging a silent film festival, and a group of fifth graders who turned the book into a 30-minute modern dance.
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 that tells of 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. The Invention of Hugo Cabret was adapted as a film, Hugo by director Martin Scorsese and released in November 2011.
Prior to winning the 2008 Caldecott Medal, Selznick had been a runner-up in 2002 for The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins: an illuminating history of Mr. Waterhouse Hawkins, artist and lecturer. Other awards include the Texas Bluebonnet Award, the Rhode Island Children's Book Award, and the Christopher Award.
- "A Buried History of Paleontology", by Selznick and David Serlin, Cabinet 28: Bones (Winter 2007/08)
- The Hugo movie companion: a behind the scenes look at how a beloved book became a major motion picture; with additional material by Martin Scorsese and David Serlin (Scholastic, 2011)
As writer and illustrator
- The Houdini Box (1991)
- The Robot King (1995)
- Boy of a Thousand Faces (2000)
- The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007), a historical novel
- Wonderstruck (2011), a historical novel
- Doll Face Has a Party (1994), picture book by Pam Conrad
- Our House: stories of Levittown (1995), by Pam Conrad — about Levittown
- Frindle (1996), novella by Andrew Clements
- The Boy Who Longed for a Lift (1997), picture book by Norma Farber
- Riding Freedom (1998), by Pam Muñoz Ryan — about Charley Parkhurst, fictionalized
- Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride: based on a true story (1999), by Pam Muñoz Ryan — about Amelia Earhart fictionalized
- Barnyard Prayers (2000), picture book by Laura Godwin
- The Doll People (2000), novel by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin
- The Landry News (2000, paperback), novella by Andrew Clements (1999)
- The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins (2001), by Barbara Kerley — about Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins
- The School Story (2001), by Andrew Clements
- When Marian Sang (2002), by Pam Muñoz Ryan — about Marian Anderson
- Wingwalker (2002), by Rosemary Wells
- The Dulcimer Boy (2003), novel by Tor Seidler
- The Meanest Doll in the World (2003), by Martin and Goodwin, book 2
- Walt Whitman: words for America (2004), by Barbara Kerley — about Walt Whitman
- Lunch Money (2005), novel by Andrew Clements
- Marly's Ghost: a remix of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol (2006), by David Levithan
- The Runaway Dolls (2008), by Martin and Godwin, book 3
- 12: a novel (2009, Feiwel and Friends; ISBN 9780312370213; also Twelve)
Books about Brian Selznick
- Llanas, Sheila Griffin. Brian Selznick (Minneapolis: ABDO Pub., 2012; ISBN 9781617832482) — Checkerboard biography library, Children's illustrators, 24 pages
- "Caldecott Medal & Honor Books, 1938–Present". Awards and Grants. Association for Library Service to Children. American Library Association. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
- "Biography". Brian Selznick (theinventionofhugocabret.com). Retrieved 2013-02-20.
- Rich, Motoko (January 26, 2008). "Reads Like a Book, Looks Like a Film". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-11.
- "The Houdini box". WorldCat. Retrieved 2013-02-20.
- Stewart, Andrew (22). "Pupils Call for Silents". Variety 415 (6): 3. Retrieved 2011-10-10. [dead link]
- Toroian Keaggy, Diane (October 9, 2009). "Selznick earns a gold sticker and kids' acclaim". St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO). Retrieved 2011-10-10.
- 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 2011-10-10.
- "Jude Law and Sir Christopher Lee join Scorsese film". BBC News. June 30, 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-11.
- "Summary: Brian Selznick takes readers on an intimate tour of the movie-making process ... --Amazon.com".
"The Hugo movie companion : a behind the scenes look at how a beloved book...". LCC record. Retrieved 2013-02-20.
- "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". Library of Congress Catalog Record (LCC). Retrieved 2013-02-20.
- Official website
- Interview by Scholastic students
- Brian Selznick at Reading Rockets, includes video interview