Brian Selznick's Caldecott Acceptance Speech

Perhaps you’ve already heard, but Brian Selznick’s Caldecott acceptance speech was award winning. He had all of the 1000+ attendees in the palm of his hand as he shared his journey to THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET and the Caldecott Medal. He presented a sequence of illustrations showing Hugo receiving word that he had won the Caldecott and how Hugo boarded Air France and flew to Anaheim. On the plane, Hugo read the Caldecott Honor winning books. Adorable.

Brian described how he was at a point in his career where he didn’t quite know which direction his work would take him. He shared how he was inspired by Remy Charlip (the book is dedicated to Remy) and Maurice Sendak. He spent six months reading and not writing or illustrating.

He learned a lot about children’s books by working in a children’s bookstore in New York. One day a woman came in to buy a book for her grandchild and he struggled to please her. Finally, he showed her GREEN EGGS AND HAM and she responded, "Do you have it without the ham? They're Jewish." As always—it's about getting the right book in the right hands.

Brian’s illustrations graced the program and it was absolutely the most beautiful dinner program I have ever seen.

Brian wore a black, sparkly shirt and his speech was kind, insightful, delightful and sparkled even more than his shirt.

Each attendee received a CD of the Caldecott and Newbery acceptance speeches, so if you know someone who attended, be sure and give it a listen. The disc also includes “Sous le Toit d’Anaheim” (“Under the Roofs of Anaheim”), the illustrated sequence I tried to describe above that opened Brian’s acceptance speech.

As always, an upcoming issue of “Horn Book” will include Brian’s Caldecott and Laura Amy Shiltz’s Newbery speech.