Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London

By Andrea Warren
(Houghton Mifflin, Hardcover, 9780547395746, 156pp.)

Publication Date: November 2011

List Price: $18.99*
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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 dropped on streets by mothers too poor to care for them, and a stunning lack of compassion from the upper class. After his family went into debt and he found himself working at a shoe-polish factory, Dickens soon realized that the members of the lower class were no different than he, and, even worse, they were given no chance to better themselves. It was then that he decided to use his greatest talent, his writing ability, to tell the stories of those who had no voice.

About the Author
I grew up in a tiny Nebraska town, and our public library was my refuge. I still remember books I read and reread there. At the time, it never occurred to me that someday I could write books. In fact, it took me several decades to confront my desire to write full-time. I kept waiting for someone to tell me to do it--to give me permission. I finally had to give myself permission, and it was the hardest and the easiest thing I've ever done.

While I love fiction, I am happy at present writing historical nonfiction. I might have majored in history and devoted my teaching career to it except for one major problem: I so often found it boring. Wars and treaties and successions of kings and presidents didn't interest me nearly as much as the people behind the facts. I loved historical literature, like "War and Peace", which taught me the facts but did so almost surreptitiously because I was so engrossed in the lives of the characters. I have tried to pattern my writing for children in the same way.

Andrea Warren was born October 30, 1946, in Norfolk, Nebraska. She received her bachelors of science degree from the University of Nebraska in 1968, and a master's in English from the same university in 1971. Ms. Warren also received a master's in journalism from the University of Kansas in 1983. She has written numerous books for young readers, including "Surviving Hitler: A Boy in the Nazi Death Camps", which was named a 2002 Robert F. Sibert Honor Book.

Praise For Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London

"Making no assumptions about her readers’ prior knowledge of Dickens, his novels, or the period, Warren writes in a clear, direct, vivid manner that brings it all to life."—Booklist, starred review

  "A well-researched biography explores how Charles Dickens used his stories to effect social change for London’s most destitute children... A lively biography and an interesting lens through which to see a venerated author."—Kirkus Reviews   "The author adeptly makes connections between Dickens’s own experiences and key events and characters in some of his greatest novels... Readers will come away with a real sense of Dickens’s immense influence in both literature and society as well as an appreciation for the compassionate, tireless man who championed Victorian England’s most vulnerable citizens."—School Library Journal, starred review
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