Photo: Jamey Mazzie
Scholastic Parents: Why did you illustrate Hugo so elaborately?
Selznick: When I first started working on Hugo, I didn’t know how I would illustrate it. I just wrote it as a novel. But since the story is about the history of cinema, I decided I wanted the book itself to feel like a silent movie. So I went back and took out all the words I could and replaced them with pictures.
SP: How did that affect the story?
Selznick: The narrative became dependent on both the words that were left behind and the illustrations. A lot of times the pictures just support the text, but with Hugo they tell much of the story.
SP: Do you think your books encourage boys to read more?
Selznick: I know what it means to get the right book into the right kid’s hand. So I’m just thrilled whenever I hear a story about anybody, boy or girl, who likes the book.
SP: What advice would you give to kids who want to write?
Selznick: Be friends with people who are smarter than you are! I’ve gotten a lot of help from wise friends over the years.
Elizabeth Callahan is the assistant editor for Parent & Child.
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