The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a historical fiction children's novel written and illustrated by Brian Selznick. The story is told through both text and 284 pages of pictures, resulting in a medium that is "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", according to Selznick himself.[1]


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. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.[2]


Selznick's primary inspiration for the book was the true story of filmmaker Georges Méliès. Elements from Méliès' films, as well as his collection of mechanical, wind-up figures called automata were incorporated into the novel. Selznick's decision to add automatons to the storyline came after reading Edison's Eve by Gaby Wood, which recounts Thomas Edison's attempt to create a wind up doll that could speak.


  • Iowa Children's Choice Award - 2009-2010 (winner)
  • Caldecott Medal - 2008 (winner) -A rare honor since this award is for illustrations.
  • National Book Award: Young People's Literature - 2007 (finalist)
  • Junior Library Guide Selection