Roald Dahl, the creator of the BFG would have been 100 this month and everyone is celebrating! #roalddahl100
*** Make sure you check out our Roald Dahl Resources at the end of this blog!***
Why is the world celebrating Roald Dahl 100?
The Roly-Poly Bird, Matilda Wormwood, Augustus Gloop, Charlie Bucket; Roald Dahl’s colourful characters have captivated imaginations ever since his first children’s book, ‘The Gremlins’, was published in 1943. Dahl’s books have the capacity to make a reader go through each and every emotion, always leaving feeling happier for having read the book. As the man himself said, “A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.”
Roald Dahl published 19 novels and numerous short story collections, poems and scripts. But what makes his writing so appealing to children? Almost all of his stories are told from the point of view of a child; and they include a villainous adult as well as a ‘good’ adult to counteract them. The characters are allowed to be naughty, there’s often grotesque comic violence and without doubt the child always wins. What more could a child want from a book?
Every year on the 13th September, children and adults everywhere celebrate the life and work of this amazing author. 2016, however, holds even more significance, as it marks one hundred years since Roald Dahl’s birth on the 13th September 1916.
Celebrating Roald Dahl Day in school
Many schools across the country have been sharing ideas on Twitter about what they will be doing on 13th September. Some are extending the event to last a whole week and a few are even turning the occasion into the opportunity to have a lengthy Roald Dahl project lasting several weeks. We have included several of the tweets throughout this blog for ideas and inspiration. For more inspiration head over to Twitter where @Jo_c_gray has been collecting all of your fantastic ideas using #Roalddahl100
Memories of Roald Dahl’s stories
To celebrate Roald Dahl’s wonderful stories, schools could ask members of staff, parents and other stakeholders to offer anecdotes about hearing his stories. Not only will children will see adults as readers, there is nothing more endearing than feeling inspired to read a book when it is recommended by someone who you look up to and respect.
My first real memory of Roald Dahl’s world is of being taken to the cinema, aged 8, to see ‘Matilda’. As soon as I left the screen I remember badgering my dad to take me immediately to the bookshop so I could re-live the magic. I devoured the book in days, entranced by Matilda’s intelligence, her defeat of the Trunchbull and her happily ever after with Miss Honey. From then on I was a true Dahl fan.
Everyone we spoke to seems to have memories of Roald Dahl and the magical, captivating stories he has written:
“One of many main memories of Roald Dahl stories must have been when I was about 7 years old. I'd got into the habit of reading when I went to bed, sometimes staying up later than I was meant to. I don't recall how I came to have a copy of Fantastic Mr Fox, but I do very much remember starting reading it one night, and realising after some time that it was past my bedtime, but that I had got a long way through the book. In the end, it became the first book that I ever read in a single evening - a monumental achievement (and testament to the gripping quality of the writing). The only problem was, I didn't feel like I could tell anyone of my feat, because I'd broken the bedtime lights out rule!”
“As a child I had very little interest in reading. When my Year Five teacher introduced ‘The Witches’ by Roald Dahl, my passion for reading was finally ignited, so much so that I bought the book myself and finished it before the teacher had finished reading it to the class! Needless to say it wasn't long before I had devoured every book he had written and with a new found love for books I applied for a library card.”
- Victoria Ruddy, SENDCo at St Anne's CofE Primary School, Trafford
Roald Dahl themed events
It’s not just schools that take part. This year hundreds of individual events have been organised all around the world, including a Roald Dahl themed afternoon tea at The Shard, nature trails at Tatton Park and exhibitions of the illustrations for the books by Quentin Blake. Manchester will have a pop up cinema airing film adaptations of Roald Dahl’s books along with a ‘Wonka style’ garden and an inflatable giant peach! This summer also brought the release of the new film adaptation of ‘The BfG’ which will hopefully introduce Roald Dahl’s work to a new audience.
Roald Dahl Websites
There’s an amazing range of Roald Dahl websites out there but these are some of our favourites:
The official Roald Dahl website: http://www.roalddahl.com/
Try out your very own Twit beard: http://twitbeard.royalcourttheatre.com/
Puffin Roald Dahl World: https://www.penguin.co.uk/puffin/worlds/roald-dahl/
Literature Wales: www.literaturewales.org/our-projects/invent-event-rd100/
Inspired? There are so many books and so many resources out there that sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. With that in mind, we’ve created some resources to help.
The first is a quick guide to Roald Dahl’s books – there’s a summary of each using six word stories. Perhaps you could challenge your pupils to create even better ones!
The second is a Roald Dahl idea bank, full of hooks and ideas to get your school interested in Roald Dahl.
Then we have also included a text-based Literacy plan for Roald Dahl’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ using One Education’s Predict, Interrogate, Capture, Create (PICC) approach.
Lastly, there are more quotes, memories and recommendations to inspire your pupils.
Go out and celebrate the life and work of this great man. Reread one of your childhood favourites and encourage a new generation to do as he said “Please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall.”