Roald Dahl

Author: Grades 3-5


From the get go, Roald Dahl was rambunctious and imaginative. Growing up Dahl moved from school to school and never seemed to excel as a student. Even though he was accepted to universities, he decided to adventure to Newfoundland on an expedition. He journeyed to Africa working for Shell Oil Company and later joined the Royal Air Force. After a serious injury, Dahl was transferred to Washington D.C. in 1939, where he was convinced by friends to start writing. He wrote for many years but became an established children's writer in 1961 when he published "James and the Giant Peach." Dahl published several other popular books such as "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "The Witches," "Matilda," and “Fantastic Mr. Fox." Over his lifetime Dahl composed 19 children's books and 9 short story collections that will be cherished for years to come!


“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”

“As I went on, the stories became less and less realistic and more fantastic. But becoming a writer was pure fluke. Without being asked to, I doubt if I'd ever have thought of it.”


The three books shown above display the extraordinary adventures of children journeying through their mythical worlds. Too often, we lose our imagination with age. By reading these books, our students step out of the boundaries of the world we live in and enter a place limited only by their imagination. To be creative is to put imagination and original ideas into action. Creativity is a trait that we want to promote within our students, however many times we inhibit this. In an attempt to keep control of our classroom, we tend to suppress creative instincts for the sake of order. These books encourage our students to think freely, imagine without restraint and hopefully instill a lifelong creative process.

Big image


Synopsis: This is a story of a little girl named Matilda with a big brain and mysterious magical powers. She overcomes the neglect of her parents and abuse of the Headmistress with the help of her friends and kind teacher Miss Honey.

Lessons: Perseverance is a trait that is taught throughout this book. There is an overwhelming sense of good and evil portrayed throughout the book, and ultimately good prevails. Matilda and Ms. Honey represent "good," while the Wormwoods (Matilda's Parents) and Ms. Trunchbull (the headmistress) represent "evil." For the most part, we think of families in a positive light, but Matilda and Ms. Honey have dismal home lives. Even with all the negativity they pursue an education and at the end of the story they create a new "family" together. By reading this book in the classroom, our students can take away the strong theme of perseverance that is evident.

Big image

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Synopsis: This is a story of a family of fox that are surrounded by three nasty rich farmers. Mr. Fox is very clever and steals from each of the farmers to feed his family. After realizing that the foxes are stealing from their farms, the farmers try and get revenge on the fox family. They end up threatening lives of the foxes, along with the other animals in the area. Luckily, Mr. Fox comes up with a plan to keep everyone safe from the farmers and keep everyone fed for the rest of their days.

Lesson: Mr. Fox is a sort of Robin Hood in this story where he steals from the rich to feed the poor. This brings up the complex topic of social justice. We know that stealing is wrong, however Dahl creates a character where we excuse his thievery. In the story, when Mr. Fox figures out how to deceive the farmers we feel as though every character gets what they deserve. When reading this book we introduce the topics of altruism, which get our students to contemplate societal norms.

Big image

The Vicar of Nibbleswicke

Synopsis: Reverend Lee is very nervous about starting his new job as the Vicar of Nibbleswicke. In his angst he relapses to his childhood dyslexia and says the most important word in each sentence backwards. Although funny at times Reverend Lee says some rather controversial things that upset the people of Nibbleswicke. However, he manages to keep his job with a very unconventional cure.

Lessons: This is a great lesson for students in your class with dyslexia. Students will empathize with the Reverend and his trouble with dyslexia. Students will have the opportunity to do some fun word work with the backwards words. When teaching this lesson I would role play with the students using different characters to give the students a chance to see them from another's perspective.

Big image

The Big Friendly Giant

Synopsis: Sophie is abducted from her orphanage early one morning by the Big Friendly Giant and taken to Giant Country. The BFG consoles the frightened Sophie and tells her that he doesn't eat children, he's responsible for giving pleasant dreams to children. She goes with him that night as he delivers dreams but the mean giants follow them, bully the BFG and plan to eat the children. In order to stop the mean giants Sophie and the BFG join forces and defeat the mean giants.

Lessons: The first lesson from The BFG is teaching teamwork. Throughout life we work with others to achieve our goals. By having collaborative assignments in elementary school students develop problem solving skills and social skills. The BFG and Sophie needed to work together to defeat the mean giants, so be sure to emphasize their teamwork when reading The BFG. The second lesson is to not judge based on appearances. Sophie immediately made assumptions about the BFG based on the way he looked and he was the complete opposite of what she was expecting. Creating a judgement free classroom is part of the community building aspect. Through The BFG we can cover both of these important lessons for our elementary schoolers.