When you think of great books for children, Roald Dahl cannot be far from your mind …The UK recently celebrated Roald Dahl Day. This takes place every September on the date of the late author’s birth. This year’s celebration was especially significant, as it marks 100 years since his birth. As a result, there were many celebrations. In fact, you may have noticed children heading to school dressed up as Charlie Bucket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or costumed as the BFG. You may even have seen a few Twits walking around.
Dahl was born in Llandaff, Cardiff and remains one of Britain’s most treasured authors. He wrote over 39 works, including short stories and screenplays. Some of his most famous books include James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr Fox, The BFG, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Dahl’s children’s works are usually told from the point of view of a child. They typically involve adult villains who hate and mistreat children, and feature at least one “good” adult to counteract the villain(s). The strength of his characters and his use of language still resonate throughout children’s literature. Dahl often talked about the influence of the books he read when he was a child. His love of language and his wish to share it shines through his stories. Dahl said that his primary aim when he started writing was to create stories that his own children could enjoy. However, his books are a way for you to develop an understanding of the world and your place in it. They can also provide you with a fresh perspective that allows you to be more open-minded.
The stories created by Dahl are much loved, and both children and adults continue to read them today. What is it that makes his stories so engaging and universal? Perhaps it’s because they never patronise you or sugar-coat the events that happen in life. His stories are full of deliciously wicked characters and unexpected twists that you believe in wholeheartedly. The joy in his writing is that it takes you away from your own life, which can sometimes appear all too sensible. To quote Willie Wonka (one of Dahl’s characters): “A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”
If you do have an interest in literature and the way this can shape your life, consider signing up for Oxbridge Home Learning’s A-level in English Literature. This A-level will allow you to read and analyse a diverse range of poetry, prose and drama texts, giving you the chance to deeply immerse yourself in words and discover different ways to look at the world around you. Let the magic of books come alive!