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Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London
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Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  254 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Provoked by the horrors he saw every day, Charles Dickens wrote novels that were originally intended as instruments for social change — to save his country’s children. Charles Dickens is best known for his contributions to the world of literature, but during his young life, Dickens witnessed terrible things that stayed with him: families starving in doorways, babies being...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published November 29th 2011 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published September 26th 2011)
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Sesana
I admit, I've read very little Dickens. But I didn't need to have read much of his work to enjoy this short biography. Warren connects Dickens's work with his progressive (for Victorian England, at least) social views, and shows how he used his writing to try to change his world. Warren shows that he certainly helped. But when I read how he'd written A Christmas Carol because he wanted to change the common perception of the wealthy that the poor weren't deserving of help... Well, there's still a...more
Richie Partington
21 June 2011 CHARLES DICKENS AND THE STREET CHILDREN OF LONDON by Andrea Warren, Houghton Mifflin, November 2011, 160p., ISBN: 978-0-547-39574-6

"Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to."

Charles Dickens.

For half a dozen years I worked for a book retailer named a...more
Gayle
What do artist William Hogarth, composer George Frideric Handel, and author Charles Dickens have in common? They all produced at least some of their work to help support The Foundling Hospital of London in the 1800s, much like celebrities and artists today do to support a cause. Charles Dickens, inspired by children who were homeless or living in dire poverty, began writing short stories, and then novels, to inform the English about the inhumane conditions that people—especially children—of what...more
Kristine
Off the charts reward for very little investment of time -- I found this one in the TEEN book section of the library, but don't let that stop you, if you are no longer a young adult. This is non-fiction with fascinating content that's presented most appealingly.
While this book is NOT just about Dickens, it will serve well those readers who may know his books without much knowledge of the author. And if you think you already know just about everything there is to know about Dickens, how about t...more
Joan
This was really pretty good! I can't give it 5 stars only because it didn't leave me gasping over how good it is. The author shows how Dickens' life influenced his books and called him one of the greatest and most successful social reformers. She also notes at the end that the issues affecting children are still prevalent in many parts of the world. She doesn't have anything really to say about homeless kids being taken advantage of in our country or Britain. This lack is part of what lost her t...more
Emily
I think I always knew it would have been terrible to be an impoverished child in 19th century London, but this book really confirms it.

I just assigned this book in my college YA class and it received very mixed reviews from my students. Unsurprisingly, students who were interested in Dickens and cultural history loved it. Students who could have cared less about either, didn't.

The title of the book suggests that it's going to be a biography -- and it is, sort of. The first several chapters pro...more
Kifflie
This is an excellent look behind the stories that Dickens told about the plight of the poor in Victorian-era England. I had no idea how deliberately he was involved in this advocacy work, nor that he had once been on the verge of poverty himself as a youngster. Well worth reading, and makes you appreciate how far society has come -- yet we still have a long way to go.
Rilee
Audience: Intermediate and beyond

Appeal: Anyone who is interested in Charles Dickens' life should read this. It is extremely interesting, because the reader is taken on a journey into the workhouses, slums, factories, and schools of Victorian England, and into the world of Dickens. He uses his pen to battle on behalf of the poor.

Award: School Library Journal 2011
Renee
I am a huge fan of A Christmas Carol - our family is now in its 3rd year of involvement with our local community theater's annual musical production. My middle dd played Belinda in '08, she was student director in '10 and I"m the producer this year (Auditions are coming up in 2 wks so we don't yet know if either of my girls will be cast) so I was very excited to be given the opportunity to read and review this book.
Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London is being published by Houghton...more
Melody Savage
Clean.
A very readable informational text! The writing is very well done, moving along with good coverage and yet resisting getting bogged down in too many facts and details. Andrea Warren is able to show Dickens in a fair light, discussing both his strengths as human being and a writer and touching on his human weaknesses. She does this so smoothly and colors history with life so well that I barely realized I was reading expository text.

Just as in Dickens' writing, there is a distinct humanitari...more
Heidi
This book does as its title says: gives you information about Charles Dickens with a focus on children. Part of that made me think that the entire book was aimed at kids. Much of the writing seemed like it was for the younger crowd. But there are topics/references in there that make me more comfortable that we cataloged the book for YA. Not that one can't introduce a child to them, but they weren't introduced in the book. They were just spoken of like a child should know what they are or mean.

I...more
Kathy
I found this a particularly fascinating book because it is a part of my family history. One side of my ancestry were very poor Londoners, in fact East Enders or Cockneys. My great-grandmother spent her childhood years in a workhouse because her widowed mother was too poor to care for her and her siblings. What an honest and realistic look at the plight of the children of London in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This book probes how the writings of Charles Dickens enlightened peopl...more
Jess
Mar 05, 2013 Jess rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Jr & Hs folk interested in Dickens; research projects
Recommended to Jess by: steller reviews
Life for children and the poor in Victorian London? Hard Times.

I entered thinking Dickens was a writer who cared about people and left knowing he was a social reformer who earned victory through writing and caring. Book success.

While 11 and working 12 hours days in a factory tying strings to bottles, he survived mostly on bread and cheese. But, "On one occasion he treated himself to a full meal at a chophouse and even left the waiter a tip." That last bit tells you what you need to know about Di...more
Adrienne
While most of English society thought poor people deserved their lot in life and simply ignored those who were "beneath" them, Charles Dickens had a different opinion. As a youth, his father's debts made it so Charles was denied the education he so desperately wanted and instead was forced to do menial labor. As he did so, he saw how society, with its laws and regulations (such as sending people to debtor's prison until they could pay their debt but not allowing them to work in order to earn mon...more
Jgrace
Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London – Andrea Warren
4 stars
There is a long tradition of biography as morality tale in children’s literature. Frequently there is little factual basis for the lesson; George Washington did not, in fact, chop down the cherry tree. However, with Charles Dickens, the lesson is implicit in the life of the man. Andrea Warren has presented the life of Charles Dickens in sixteen easy chapters with the clear intent of showcasing him as a social activist. The t...more
Barbara
This thoroughly delightful and richly detailed biography of the author of several books that are literary classics and part of the school literary canon--Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities--describes his formative years and his youthful experiences working in a factory due to his father's financial woes. Apparently, those formative experiences working alongside the other poor as well as his growing awareness of how difficult their daily lives were made an i...more
William
I jumped on this the minute I finished Dodger. Being a Dickens fan, I wanted to know exactly why he spent so much effort detailing the plight of London’s poor. This book was my answer. It was easy to follow and contains valuable insight into his own history and experiences. The illustrations and photos from Victorian times provided me with realistic imagery that I could take to my next reading. The history discussed covers a great deal of information, including discussions about Queen Victoria h...more
Renae
As a general rule, I don't read very much nonfiction for pleasure. Since I have to read it for my job, I tend to avoid it in my personal choices.

This title, however, is a case where I'm glad I made an exception.

Andrea Warren's book about Charles Dickens is one of the most reader-friendly nonfiction pieces I've read in a long time. I took an upper level literature class in college about Dickens and London, and I still came out of reading this book having learned a great deal.

The uniqueness in th...more
Alyssa Anderson
Primary. Non-Fiction.

This book tells of Charles Dickens' early life as a poor child working in factories when his father was sent to debtor's prison and how those experiences influenced his writing and how his writing influenced the way of life for millions of London's poor children in the future. Since Charles Dickens' was such an enigmatic literary figure in London, I think the book The Trouble begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West would be a very compatible book since it te...more
Rebecca Reid
I had never before read a biography of Charles Dickens, but having read 7½ works by the author, I’ve generated a good idea of the issues that are important to him.

Andrea Warren’s new biography for young readers wonderfully captures the man and his stories. Although Charles Dickens and the Street Child of London (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, to be published September 26, 2011) was a short book, I finished it was a greater appreciation and understanding for Charles Dickens, an eagerness to read the...more
Alicia
A uniquely informative book about Charles Dickens' upbringing and how it led to his monumental short stories, books and ultimate success fighting for street children in London in the form of fundraising, befriending others and creating homes for the sick and orphaned children, and taking notice when no one else would. Sadly, he never shared his own crappy childhood which left his father and at one point his mother and the other children in a debtors prison while they worked off their debt becaus...more
Stephanie
I love that this book gives enough detail about Dickens life and history of the era to show the inspiration for his novels. Yet it is short and in a very readable format. It takes a lot less time to read than a Dickens novel. The book explains how Dickens' novels changed societies views of the poor and changed the course of history while still being a great form of entertainment.
Tom Franklin
This book for children is part biography of Charles Dickens and part history of child welfare in England. A reader looking for Dickens-specific background material would make a good start here, as the author describes his early upbringing and the factors that instilled the necessity to enact social change through his writing.

Warren makes several asides as well, providing brief biographies of some of the men who, before Dickens' time, laid the groundwork for some of the institutions that Dickens...more
Michelle
Before reading this book I knew very little about Dickens aside of knowing the titles of some of the books he wrote. While in London I happenstanced upon the street corner where he lived and wrote six of his principal works. I took a quick photo and made a mental note read a book by him. While this book is not by him, it gives a great overview of his life. An overview of some of his writings and the movement behind his writings is also explored. I have several places I plan to visit in London th...more
Barbara
Charles Dickens used his own experiences growing up to create such characters as Tiny Tim, Oliver Twist, the Artful Dodger, Pip, and David Copperfield. All were children, which was unusual for Victorian fiction, and all were poor. Dickens crusaded against the notion that the poor had brought their plight upon themselves, that they somehow deserved it. He wrote to educate as well as entertain and was an early advocate for social reforms designed ease poverty’s burdens. Dickens was a supporter of...more
Mary Ann
I read the e-book ARC from NetGalley.com. Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London, by Andrea Warren, is an excellent portrayal of Charles Dickens and his impact on his society. I knew very little about Dickens before reading this galley and thoroughly enjoyed learning about his life and the society around him. Readers will discover that Dickens was not only a popular writer, but also a social reformer whose influence improved the lives of the poor and destitute. Descriptions of the wor...more
Lisa Nelms
What a great book to read right before Christmas! Dickens reminds us what the season is all about. Andrea Warren did an excellent job of presenting the man behind the stories. I think Dickens would be proud to have such a good writer present his work in contemporary times. What happened then is still happening today. Dickens made people aware of the exploration and mistreatment of children in Victorian England. In Andrea's book she reminds us that there are children in China, India and Africa wh...more
Rachel
Although clearly a little biased, this book is very informative and easily accessible to adults, older children and teens. Truly helped me better understand Charles Dickens as writer and social reformer.

(If I ever get to visit England, I would now like to visit both the Coram Family - once the Foundling hospital - in London, and the Ragged School Museum - once the Copperfield Road Ragged School.)

A quick read - I was able to read it cover to cover in one evening - that delivers a lot of easy to...more
Heather
Review of an advance copy:
This is a fascinating introduction to Charles Dickens and the massive impact he had on social change in Britain. I really had no clue that his stories were inspired by his life as well as his desire to change the lives of the poor and the oppressed. Reading about the purpose and the effect of various novels was fascinating, and made me want to read Dickens' books. This would probably be a very good introduction for teens and may inspire them to try a Dickens' novel as w...more
Penny Peck
An excellent nonfiction book on a focused topic, that many tweens will find relatively easy to read - in fact, it may inspire some to read OLIVER TWIST or other Dickens' novels. It can also serve as a supplementary source for those doing a Dickens biographical report, or a reporton Victorian life. The author explains why Dickens was so interested in child poverty, and how it influenced both his writing and his actions. There are photos or art replications on every other page, and substantial bac...more
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