November 2011 Indie Next List
“Hopkinson and Hendrix weave an intriguing and informative narrative to show how Charles Dickens transformed from a young lad on the streets of London to one of the most well-known literary figures of all time. Learn how Dickens used his imagination and creativity to escape his dreary, misfortunate circumstances in this riveting tale.”
— Rebecca Moore, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA
"For years Dickens kept the story of his own childhood a secret. Yet it is a story worth telling. For it helps us remember how much we all might lose when a child's dreams don't come true . . . "As a child, Dickens was forced to live on his own and work long hours in a rat-infested blacking factory. Readers will be drawn into the winding streets of London, where they will learn how Dickens got the inspiration for many of his characters. The 200th anniversary of Dickens's birth was February 7, 2012, and this tale of his little-known boyhood is the perfect way to introduce kids to the great author. This "Booklist" Best Children's Book of the Year is historical fiction at its ingenious best.
About the Author
Deborah Hopkinson is the author of numerous award-winning children's books, including "Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt, " winner of the International Reading Association Award, "Girl Wonder, " winner of the Great Lakes Book Award, and "Apples to Oregon, " a Junior Library Guild Selection. She received the 2003 Washington State Book Award for "Under the Quilt for the Night." She lives in Oregon. Visit her on the Web at www.deborahhopkinson.com.
John Hendrix, a native Texan, lived in the West Texas of which he wrote for most of his life. His articles appeared in West Texas Today, The Hereford Journal, and other publications, in addition to The Cattleman. Hendrix died in Sweetwater in 1952 at the age of sixty-four.
Booklist Best Children's Book of 2012
Starred Review, School Library Journal, January 1, 2012:
“Hopkinson’s engaging text invites readers to experience the story with her…. full of well-crafted description and detail.”
Starred Review, Booklist, December 15, 2011:
“A fine introduction to the writer, and a terrific, completely un-preachy departure point for discussions of child labor and social reform.”
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2011:
"Both accessible and rich in simile and metaphor, this fictionalized biography concerns the budding novelist’s coming of age, as he ekes out a living (during his family’s stint in debtors’ prison) and pursues his dream."