Deborah Hopkinson A Boy Called Dickens

ISBN 13: 9780375967320

A Boy Called Dickens

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9780375967320: A Boy Called Dickens
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For years Dickens kept the story of his own childhood a secret. Yet it is a story worth telling. For it helps us remember how much we all might lose when a child's dreams don't come true . . . As a child, Dickens was forced to live on his own and work long hours in a rat-infested blacking factory. Readers will be drawn into the winding streets of London, where they will learn how Dickens got the inspiration for many of his characters. The 200th anniversary of Dickens's birth was February 7, 2012, and this tale of his little-known boyhood is the perfect way to introduce kids to the great author. This Booklist Best Children's Book of the Year is historical fiction at its ingenious best.
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About the Author:

DEBORAH HOPKINSON is the author of Sky Boys: How They Built the Empire State Building, an ALA Notable Book and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book. Her Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek, illustrated by John Hendrix, was an ALA Notable Book and a Junior Library Guild Selection. She is also the author of the ALA Notable Apples to Oregon. Her many other acclaimed titles include Under the Quilt of Night and Fannie in the Kitchen, recipient of four starred reviews.

JOHN HENDRIX's illustrations have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Rolling Stone among other publications. He illustrated the chapter book How to Save Your Tail, by Mary Hanson, and the ALA Notable picture book Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek, among others. His work has been recognized by the Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, and Communication Arts. He currently teaches illustration at Washington University in St. Louis. Learn more at JohnHendrix.com

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* Looking for a picture-book biography of Dickens to celebrate his 200th birthday in 2012? Look elsewhere, as this isn’t so much a biography as it is a slice of life, and a revealing one at that. This fictionalized account is set during the time 12-year-old Dickens toiled away in a blacking factory while the rest of his family lived in debtors’ prison. To help ease the boredom and stave off hunger, the boy dreams up stories, including a rudimentary seedling of a tale that would become David Copperfield. Even when his family pays off its debt and returns home, the boy who loves books and reading toils away for six shillings a day until shame prompts his father to finally send the boy back to school. Any story of Charles Dickens is also the story of one of the great atmospheres in literary history, and a central spread of the boy walking home after a grueling work day could well serve as a visual definition of the word Dickensian. In this bustling, grimy scene, Dickens threads his way through “pickpockets; ladies with shattered hopes; a miserly old man; a young gentleman with great expectations; a proud, heartless girl; and keepers of old curiosity shops.” Dancing through wide-angled perspectives and tight close-ups, Hendrix’s cleanly inked figures are aptly set against cityscapes covered in sooty charcoals. A fine introduction to the writer, and a terrific, completely unpreachy departure point for discussions of child labor and social reform. Grades 3-5. --Ian Chipman

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