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Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick:

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.


The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, by Avi:

Thirteen-year-old Charlotte Doyle is excited to return home from her school in England to her family in Rhode Island in the summer of 1832. But when the two families she was supposed to travel with mysteriously cancel their trips, Charlotte finds herself the lone passenger on a long sea voyage with a cruel captain and a mutinous crew. Worse yet, soon after stepping aboard the ship, she becomes enmeshed in a conflict between them! What begins as an eagerly anticipated ocean crossing turns into a harrowing journey, where Charlotte gains a villainous enemy... and is put on trial for murder!


What do Hugo and Charlotte (and their stories) have in common? That’s for us to figure out. Throughout these stories, discover the secret of automatons, sailor law, and the critical clue to solving mysteries. Don’t miss this thrilling adventure!


Learning objectives:

  • Knox's "Ten Commandments" of Detective Fiction

  • Evaluation and impact of historical context

  • Use of direct quotes from texts to explain and prove ideas about the reading

  • Comparing multiple perspectives on the same event, idea, or theme

  • Using context of a text to determine the meaning of unknown words

  • Identifies an author or narrator's point of view and explains how this affects the content of a text


  • Recommended for: Ages 9+ / Grades 4-5 
  • Instructor: Eve Babb
  • Day and Time: Thursdays, 12:45-1:45 PM ET
  • Duration: 4 classes
  • Dates: September 14 - October 5
  • Required Materials:
    • Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick 
    • The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, by Avi