A Boy Called Dickens

by Deborah Hopkinson and John Hendrix

“This is old London, on a winter morning long ago. Come along, now. We are... read more

“This is old London, on a winter morning long ago. Come along, now. We are here to search for a boy called Dickens.” This second-person plural voice invites young readers into 1820s London and the life of twelve-year-old Charles Dickens. Detailed illustrations give a sense of dirt and deprivation, while the text describes Charles’s work in Warren’s blacking factory. There he entertains his coworker with storytelling during their ten-hour workdays, before returning to his tiny attic room where he continues telling stories by writing on his slate. On Sundays Charles visits his family in the Marshalsea Prison, where his father is incarcerated for unpaid debt to the baker. Charles is eventually let go from his laborious job at the factory, when his father, released from debtors’ prison, quarrels with the owner. At last able to return to school in Camden town, Charles Dickens never forgot these early experiences that influenced so much of his later writing. (Ages 6–10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2013

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