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Charles Dickens

Charles John Huffman Dickens was born in 1812 in England. Because he was often sick as a child, he could rarely play outside with other children. Instead he became an avid reader.

When Charles was only ten years old, his family was so deeply in debt that they had to sell all of their belongings and move to London. Charles could no longer afford to attend school either. When he was 12 years old, his father was thrown into debtor’s prison and Charles had to go to work at a factory gluing labels onto bottles of shoe blacking (aka, shoe polish).

Because of his own circumstances, for the remainder of his life Dickens had a real concern for the poor and disadvantaged of society, especially the children. He combined his love of the written word and his concern for the underprivileged and began his own writing career when he was just 15 years of age.

By the time he was 24 years old, he published a collection of his stories call Sketches by Boz which was well received by the public.

A Christmas Carol was published in 1843. In part, this book helped shape the spirit of furture Christmas seasons in England. It became a timeless classic. Christmas cards became popular. Decorating trees, begun in Germany, became traditional. Family feasts and parties became even more important.

Charles Dickens died in 1870, leaving behind him a legacy of literature that is still cherished and read 150 years later.

More great links:

The Charles Dickens Homepage
Teach with Movie’s Christmas Carol unit activities


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