By: Mila Vincent and Johanna Luza | Photo by Shayna Vincent ~
Mila Vincent, our six-year-old book critic, followed up her attendance at the November launch party for Dear Mr. Dickens by reviewing this engaging book— the true story of a brave woman who spoke up and changed the great Charles Dickens’ heart the better. As always, Mila picks the perfect outfit for each review. Here, she wears a Kindness Activist T-shirt as she presents her review alongside her grandmother, Johannah Luza. They both give this a thumbs up for a grandparent/grandchild read.
Dear Mr. Dickens
Written by: Nancy Churnin
Illustrated by: Bethany Stancliffe
Creston Books, distributed by Lerner Books
Mila: Charles Dickens was a famous writer who wrote so many books a long time ago. He even wrote “A Christmas Carol.” I got to see the play once and loved it. But I didn’t know that he wrote a book that said some things about Jewish people that weren’t very nice. I didn’t like what he said because I’m Jewish, and neither did a lady named Eliza Davis.
She started writing letters to Charles Dickens and told him that it wasn’t right to say mean things about Jewish people or any group of people. She was kind of scared to write to him because he was so famous and she was just a regular person like me. When he read her letter, he was mad and wrote a letter back to her. But she didn’t give up. She wrote to him again!
He must have finally paid attention to her because he wrote a book about a very kind Jewish person. Then he wrote Eliza Davis a letter, and he started telling people that it was wrong to judge others just because of their religion.
My grandma told me it doesn’t matter what religion you are. Don’t judge others! Be kind to all people! I was sad at first when Mr. Dickens said bad things about Jews, but I was happy that he changed in the end. My grandma said he had a “change of heart.” I think this book might make other people have a “change of heart” too!
Johannah: What an interesting and informative book! I never knew Charles Dickens was considered antisemitic by some. And I certainly never knew the story of Eliza Davis writing to him. Since Mila is only six, I explained a little about antisemitism. Like other young Jewish children, she is aware that she had relatives killed in the Holocaust, but it’s still somewhat difficult for kids this age to understand why. I do this a little at a time with different books we read. Parents and grandparents can do the same, just a little at a time. The end of the book was such a wonderful lesson for kids of all ages. As with all of Nancy Churnin’s non-fiction books, adults always learn something new, and children always learn how an “average, everyday person” can change the world!