Children Get to Know Charles Dickens

Tomorrow is the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens!  In honor of the celebration, books about Dickens are everywhere.  The New York Times listed four in their Children’s Books section – “to introduce young readers to {the author} whose life was as fascinating as his  work.”

A Boy Called Dickens by Deborah Hopkinson (40 pages).

This illustrated story of 12-year-old Dickens making shoe polish to support his family hints that his observations will later bring characters to life in his stories; the story includes pictures of Victorian London.

Charles Dickens: Scenes from an Extraordinary Life by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom (48 pages) includes the author’s entire life, including funny anecdotes to endear him to readers, e.g., “Dickens leaping up from his writing desk to check the expressions on his own face as he wrote…”

Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London by Andre Warren (156 pages).  This young adult study focuses on the sad state of the working child, supposing that Dickens’s perceptions brought the issues to public attention; however, the author concentrates more on the welfare of poor children today than the life of the author – too long and off topic.

Charles Dickens: England’s Most Captivating Storyteller by Catherine Wells-Cole (32 pages) sounds wonderful, and it is the one book I decided to buy, since my library has no copy.   Simon Callow describes this illustrated children’s book in his article Getting to Know Charles Dickens:

“…many of {the} features {are} in advent calendar form, with flaps to be opened.  Included is a letter Dickens wrote to his former girlfriend Maria Beadnell: you have to take it out of its envelope to read it…

The book repeatedly brought a smile to my lips, which, after all, is one of the things Dickens most liked to do.”

2 thoughts on “Children Get to Know Charles Dickens

  1. I think I’d like to see that first book mentioned. My son has A Christmas Carol on audiobook – he loves listening to it and I think will enjoy Dickens, as he really likes books with protagonists he can ‘get into’ so to speak. Dickens and his drama will appeal – and this first book sounds like a good way to ‘set the scene’.

    • It’s an easy way to learn about the author. I just read an article quoting Claire Tomalin, one of Dickens’s biographers, that had her saying that children today are not reading much of Dicken’s work, yet he is still relevant.

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