Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Matthew's Favorites: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

As a mother whose child is working to overcome damage caused by seizures, I am grateful for authors, publishers, and book sellers that bring us books like The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick.  

Published in 2007, this beautiful Caldecott medal winning book is another book that works great for kids who struggle with concentration, who get overwhelmed when faced with a book full of tight text, no illustrations, and small font sizes.

Click here for a slideshow of some of the pictures.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret has a lexile measure of 820L. Here are pictures of what the page spreads look like. Note the large margins, well spaced text, and larger text size. There will be a few pages of text and then several pages of pictures so a child can rest their brain before being faced with text again. The story is an exciting and suspenseful historical fiction of film maker and automaton collector, Georges Melies. 

The pictures make the story come alive and often seem like the stills of film that change just a bit from spread to spread. When Hugo nearly gets hit by a train and the pictures show the train getting closer and closer, I had to hold my breath.

Here is a page spread from a book with a lexile of 810L. This particualar book isn't bad. The font size is larger and the margins are decent, but not quite as big as The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Many books have smaller font sizes and less white space on the page.

Making a book with as many pictures and as much white space as Hugo increases publishing and shipping costs. These books are thick and take up more room on bookstore shelves, but there is a need for books like this. Lexile measure was not sacrificed to make this a book that middle school students can enjoy reading, and they don't have to be embarrassed when reading it because it isn't a baby book.

Matthew said that when he sees a book with tight text and nothing but words page after page, he feels frustrated and feels his eyes don't have a place to land. With the work of Brian Selznick, he is rewarded every time he finishes a block of text by well crafted illustrations.

He is currently reading Selznick's Wonderstruck, and The Marvels will be coming home soon.

Thank you, Brian Selznick for creating books that my son can read successfully. It took him about two weeks to read this book, which is fast for him.

Another great book for kids who need white space is The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. 

If you have a child who needs white space, what books have they enjoyed reading?

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