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Charles Dickens, one of the most famous novelists of England, was a friend of children. He wrote stories about boys and girls and grown-ups who lived in England. The condition of children in those days was very pitiable. They were treated badly by their employers. Partly because of stories about children written by Dickens, the children are treated better now than they were when Dickens lived.

When Dickens was young, his parents were too poor to pay the rent of the house or to buy good food for them. So, Dickens had to quit the school and had to take a job far away from home. He worked from morning to night, with very little food to eat and only one attic in which to sleep. He tells about all his sufferings in his novel DAVID COPPERFIELD.

In another story, Dickens tells us how badly children were treated in some schools of that time. At his own school, he was beaten with the teacher’s cane for laughing loudly or for forgetting his lessons.

Several of his characters in his books come from the life dickens knew. When the stories were first read some people were angry, some were ashamed. Some laughed when they saw their own foolish habits acted out by characters in Dickens’ books. And many began to believe that children should be having fun—that they should not always be beaten for forgetting school lessons---that they should not have to leave home and go to work when they are very young.

People still read Dickens’ books for the good stories that they tell.