Dear Mr. Dickens: A Real-Life Heroine Fights Anti-Semitism


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Author Nancy Churnin discusses the power of having a pen, paper, and something to say. Dear Mr. Dickens, 2021 National Jewish Book Award winner for children's picture book. In Eliza Davis's day, Charles Dickens was the most celebrated living writer in England. But some of his books reflected a prejudice that was all too common at the time: prejudice against Jewish people. Eliza was Jewish, and her heart hurt to see a Jewish character in Oliver Twist portrayed as ugly and selfish. She wanted to speak out about how unfair that was, even if it meant speaking out against the great man himself. So she wrote a letter to Charles Dickens. What happened next is history. Nancy Churnin is the author of Dear Mr. Dickens, the 2021 National Jewish Book Award children's picture book winner and 2022 Sydney Taylor Honor winner; A Queen to the Rescue, the Story of Henrietta Szold, Founder of Hadassah, a 2022 Sydney Taylor Notable and many more picture books about people who persevered to achieve their dreams and make the world a better place. Among her honors: Junior Library Guild selections, starred reviews, National Council for the Social Studies Notables, Silver Eureka Awards, Mighty Girl lists, Sydney Taylor Notables, Notable Book for a Global Society, Anne Izard Storytellers Choice Award and the South Asia Book Award. A native New Yorker, Nancy now lives in North Texas with her family, which includes a dog named Dog and two cantankerous cats. You'll find free teacher guides, resources and projects for each book on her website at

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