Happy Birthday, Mr Dickens!

Charles John Huffam Dickens was born this day in 1812- and I'm so glad he was! A true Dickens' fan, one of my holiday treats is to choose which of his amazing stories I am going to re-read!

 

I am sure this statement will have some people rolling their eyes and mouthing 'Rather you than me!' or something less polite; others will understand my passion for the man and his writing ( and 'his' London!).

My first experience of Dickens was when I was 6. I discovered an abridged version of David Copperfield languishing on the classroom shelves. I loved it - and read everything by him that I could lay my hands on!

The debate surrounding when we should introduce children to Dickens (and Shakespeare and Jane Austin and the Brontes...) without 'turning them off' the classics makes me laugh. As with most things, it's about knowing your class, knowing your material, being enthusiastic, choosing the right approach and sharing it with them for a reason rather than because you have to! Any teacher telling their class that they hate Dickens ( or Shakespeare or Jane Austin or the Brontes...) really shouldn't be teaching it. 

There are some great re-telling of these stories; A Muppet Christmas Carol is my favourite film because it keeps true to the original whilst putting the Muppets' unique twist on the story and is an excellent way into this story. On the eleventh day of Christmas, we looked at some of the stories that are innovations on this theme ( please look on our bookshelves for this post!)

Marcia Williams' work is an excellent way into the great man's stories- Oliver Twist and Other Great Dickens Stories' contains comic strip versions of 'Oliver Twist', 'A Tale of Two Cities', A Christmas Carol', 'David Copperfield' and 'Great Expectations'.  

Nothing can replace the words of the master though!