Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." -Ebenezer Scrooge
Illustration by Lisbeth Zwerger, source

Following intense scrutiny by Oliver Cromwell and his largely Puritan Parliament, Christmas celebrations in Great Britain were in decline. At the same time, the Industrial Revolution allowed British workers little time for the holy days. 

But Christmas celebrations began to make a comeback in the mid 1800's, in great part due to Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and... Charles Dickens! 

Happy Birthday to A Christmas Carol, published 169 years ago today, on December 19, 1843! I love this beautiful edition, illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger.

According to Laura Grande, who writes in History Magazine: Christmas still was not observed by the majority of the population, as workhouses and mill owners refused to recognize it as a holiday, forcing their employees to work their usual shifts, which often ran longer than 10 hours a day. With the majority of England at work, it’s no small wonder that Christmas still went largely unrecognized.

Dickens began writing "A Christmas Carol" in October of 1843 and the novella was completed within six weeks.

By Christmas Eve, all 6,000 copies had sold out and it continued to sell out with each new edition well into the following year.

The observance of Christmas had experienced a mid-Victorian revival, with a heavy emphasis on family-oriented festivities. 

Dickens was hailed as a hero and he did public readings of "A Christmas Carol" every holiday season from 1853-70. In total, Dickens had read his book aloud to massive crowds 127 times.
{source: Laura Grande, from December 2010/January 2011 issue of History Magazine. I found the article in its entirety, here.}

Another nice edition of Dicken's A Christmas Carol is this one, illustrated by P.J. Lynch.  You can see many of his illustrations for the book here, on his website.

Read more about the life of Charles Dickens, HERE, in my past post commemorating his 200th Birthday this year.

1 comment:

  1. I just heard something about this the other day, about how Dicken's book "A Christmas Carol" changed the mindset about Christmas; how it became more of a time to give and do good deeds because of this book.
    I also love Lisbeth Zwerger's art-- I have a book about her! Her water colors are just gorgeous!