Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Young Adult Nonfiction Literary

William Blake

The Gates of Paradise

by (author) Michael Bedard

Initial publish date
Sep 2006
Literary, General, Historical
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2006
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 14 to 18
  • Grade: 9 to 12


Journey back to the 1700s to meet one of the most fascinating people in history. Dreamer, craftsman, poet, madman, and genius — William Blake. Born in 1757 in London, as a boy he apprenticed as an engraver and began a career that would include masterpieces of art.

Blake lived during times of incredible change and upheaval, including the Gordon Riots and the French Revolution. Spiritualism and the allure of magic were being replaced by a belief in rationalism. Blake celebrated the beauty of small things. His work showed, “…a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower….” [William Blake] Yet, with the noise and dirt of mills (factories), the Industrial Revolution was drowning out a quiet, rural way of life. The value of things made carefully by hand was being lost.

At the same time, the printing press was making it possible for more and more people to read. The rise of printed books and book illustration was revolutionary and Blake was part of it.

On the 250th anniversary of Blake’s birth, master storyteller Michael Bedard brings this Renaissance man and his times to vivid life in this biography that is lavishly illustrated with Blake’s work.

About the author

Michael Bedard is a multi-award-winning author of middle-grade and young-adult novels that blend his love of literature with a flair for the ominous. His novels include A Darker Magic, The Green Man, and Redwork, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award and the CLA Book of the Year Award for Children. Michael was born and raised in Toronto, where he still lives.


Michael Bedard's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Praise for The Painted Wall:
“…balanced and elegant….”
Globe and Mail

Praise for Stained Glass:
“…Bedard has established himself as a master at examining the source of creative inspiration.”
Quill & Quire

Librarian Reviews

William Blake: The Gates of Paradise

Michael Bedard’s William Blake: The Gates of Paradise details the life of another celebrated eighteenth-century artist. Introduced to the work of William Blake over 40 years ago by one of his teachers, Bedard is sure to inspire a generation of young would-be poets with this book. This eloquently written and well-researched biography acts as a great introduction to the life of this famous Romantic poet, artist, commercial engraver and visionary – tackling the minute details of Blake’s family life, his artistic endeavors as well as life in eighteenth-century London. Bedard even provides the reader with interpretations of Blake’s poetry ensuring that these beautiful poems are accessible to young readers. Plenty of images of Blake’s gorgeous engravings, sketches and portraits are scattered throughout the book and the full-colour reproductions of the frontispieces from Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience will help young readers appreciate the magnificence of this luminary’s work. This book also includes a selected bibliography.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Summer 2007. Vol.30 No.3.

William Blake: The Gates of Paradise

Journey back to the 1700s to meet one of the most fascinating people in history. Dreamer, craftsman, poet, madman, and genius – Blake’s work included many masterpieces of art.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Canadian Children’s Book News. 2007.

Other titles by