Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Boy Called Dickens by Deborah Hopkinson

A Boy Called Dickens by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by John Hendrix

Rating: 4 stars

This is a quirky book I reviewed for Washington Family Magazine, and probably one for the classroom more than personal library, but I like how it illustrates where Charles Dickens came up with some of his most famous characters.

Through nonfiction children’s books, my kids (the older two are 5 ½ and 4) are introduced to important characters from history at a young age.  Their foundation of cultural literacy is slowly but steadily building with the help of books like Deborah Hopkinson’s A Boy Called Dickens.  They will have the ability to converse fluently in idioms, allusions, and content at an earlier age because of early exposure to books, and as many nonfiction books as possible.

Or, like this book, historical fiction.

I never knew until reading Hopkinson’s note at the end of this book that Dickens did not talk about his childhood.   He wanted to forget about it because it was such a horrible time in his life.  While other boys his age attended school, Dickens was forced—by his parents—to work in a blacking factory, which makes polish for gentlemen’s boots.  (I like to keep this in mind when I am at a parenting low during my day with my trio.  Heck, at least I’m not enslaving them to work in a dimly lit factory for eight hours a day!)

To read the rest of the review, please click here


  1. thanks so much!

    Might I just ask to correct typo of spelling of my name in the headline and tag, etc.? It happens all the time and is easy to do -- it is Hopkinson. Thanks!