* A Weekly Low Down on Kids Books *
Title: A Boy Called Dickens
Author: Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrator: John Hendrix
As a homeschool family, we’re suckers for the educational picture book. Especially biographies.
A Boy Called Dickens tells the life of Charles Dickens. Obviously there are some creative liberties taken with Dickens’ boyhood thoughts and how he might have come to write certain stories, but that happens with any piece of biographical fiction.
As an adult Dickens fan, you recognize characters peeking around corners and haunting the boy’s subconscious as he works at the factory, tells stories to his friend, helps get his family out of debtor’s prison, and finally returns to school.
When I finished read the book, kiddo said, “Let’s read it again.”
I was out of breath from my strained fake British accent. I’m not an actress, but I like to make story time fun. It takes more effort than I’d care to admit. “No, I’m not reading it again right now.”
“Well, I think we should do the same thing with this one – let other kids read it!”
“You mean you recommend it?”
“Yes.” She gave it a literal thumbs up, with a tongue half sticking out the side of her mouth in thought.
Any biographical picture books you can find are great teaching tools, and you might as well fill them with as much information as you can while they’re sponges. History is easiest to remember as a tale, Dickens world and era becomes one you can touch and taste. Telling it from his boyhood makes it more relatable to a tiny one. Whether you’re a homeschool mom, or just someone who reads to your kids when you can, this book is a great resource; it’s colorful, factual, and engrossing.
(If you’re a seasonal reader, this one is perfectly wintery.)