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Andrew Billen is a journalist and critci and writes extensively for the Observer, Evening Standard and the Times.
Charles Dickensâ€™s happy childhood was shattered when he father was jailed for debt leaving his family penniless. The life story of the writer is easily told in this admirably concise account which delves into Dickensâ€™s own life showing how what happened to him enabled him to write classics such as Oliver Twist and Great Expectations. Subtitled, â€˜The man who invented Christmasâ€™ in particular it tells the true story that inspired Dickensâ€™s celebrated A Christmas Carol.
Young Charles Dickens's happy childhood came to a sudden end when his father was jailed for debt and, aged 12, he was sent to work in a factory to make shoe polish. By his mid twenties, he was on the verge of becoming the most popular novelist the world has ever known. He created hundreds of unforgettable characters and travelled all over the country and in America giving readings of his work to thunderous applause. But Charles never forgot his days working alongside poor and abandoned orphans. He helped children in every practical way he could: by raising money for children's charities and writing stories that changed the way people think about children for ever. Part of the Great Victorians series of biographies for children aged 9 years and up.
Like all children the young Charles Dickens loved Christmas, and his parents made sure it was extra special - with dances, games, laughter and plum pudding. But when he was ten, his life changed dramatically - his father was thrown into the debtor's prison and Charles' magical childhood came to an abrupt end. In The Boy Who Invented Christmas, Andrew Billen tells the story of how Dickens became England's most famous writer - and chased the dream of a perfect Christmas all his life. He never forgot his days among the poor and abandoned, and as he rose to fame, he believed more and more in the importance of doing good to others. This became Dickens's Christmas message - and the inspiration for his book, A Christmas Carol, one of the most enduring stories ever told.
Young Charles Dickens's happy childhood came to a sudden end when his father was jailed for debt and, aged 12, he was sent to work in a factory making shoe polish. By his mid twenties, he was on the verge of becoming the most popular novelist the world has ever known, creating hundreds of unforgettable characters, but Charles never forgot his days working alongside poor and abandoned orphans. Andrew Billen tells the gripping life story of Charles Dickens, explaining how it fed into his work, and how, along the way, he invented the modern idea of Christmas.
Sam was a grumpy, difficult but fascinating man. He wasn't handsome. He wasn't good at sport. He was poor, lazy and not even very happy. But Sam Johnson was a hero.Why? Because of his words.Yes, he wrote many books and magazine articles. He spent nine long years writing the first important dictionary of the English language. But it isn't for his writing that Sam is remembered.What keeps Sam's memory alive are the clever things he said. Words which are still funny and true centuries later.