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For Readers Age 9 - 12
Grades 4th - 8th

The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Suggested Activities
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Publisher's Description:

Selznick, Brian. (2007) The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Scholastic Press. ISBN-10: 0439813786 Ages 9-12. Grades 4-7.

Disappointedly, the publisher did not prepare resources for this book. With its purely unique nature and wholesome story taking part during a fascinating time of history, we couldn’t pass up throwing together a few ideas:


Silent Movies:

Hugo Cabret is set in Paris of 1931. You might want to start by learning a bit more about silent movies that preceded that time. Turner Movie Classics provides an all-inclusive site. The Thinkquest Library also provides a nice briefing The website Images Journal provides movie stills plus explanation that is interesting to read too. And historical silent animation can be viewed at Library of Congress American Memories site.

Was George Melies a real person filmmaker of “The Trip to the Moon”? Yes! See information on this movie at . Consider finding books on him too. Your local library may have access to a book covering all his works such as Artificially Arranged Scenes. And if you have Netflix, you can rent a DVD about his movies The Magic of Melies from 1904.

Have some fun with music of the era too. Sheet music is digitized at the Library of Congress

Some more Silent Picture movies and stars to research in your library or rent at the video store: The Clock Store, The Million by director Rene Clair, Tom Mix, western star, Louise Brooks actress, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Jean Renoir actors.

If your kids like to play charades, consider taking it one step further and develop your own silent movie-style play. PBS provides one idea to demonstrate how it might be done.

France and America during early 20th century:

Learn more about France by visiting

Cruise through some old advertisements and see what life in Paris was like this past century for those of comfortable means:  then ask yourself, “ What do you think it was like to live as an orphan in the 1920’s-1930’s? “ Quite different most likely.

French history timeline:

Library time:

Find out more about automatons and horologists at The House of Automata

Hugo’s father read bedtime stories to him: Jules Verne and Hans Christian Andersen. Why don’t you check out these authors at your local library too?

While your at it, check out some of Isabelle’s favorite Greek myths: Mount Olympus, creatures like the chimera and the Phoenix, gods like Prometheus.

(For more suggested reading, visit our bookstore.)




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