Roald Dahl (1916-90) was born in Cardiff to Norwegian parents and Roald Dahl Day is on his birthday, 13th September. It is primarily celebrated in schools and youth groups and is an opportunity to revel in Dahl’s classic children’s stories. These include ‘James and the Giant Peach’ (1961), ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ (1964), ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ (1970), ‘The Enormous Crocodile’ (1978), ‘The Twits’ (1980), ‘The BFG’ (1982) and ‘Matilda’ (1988).
His mother’s homeland tales of trolls, giants and dark forests influenced Dahl’s writing, as did the several family tragedies that occurred and his wartime experiences, including a plane crash that gave him a lifelong injury. He hated his school and his sympathies were always with the child against the big, bad adults. He wrote in a brick-built studio in the garden of his Buckinghamshire home and though some thought him eccentric, his particular outlook on life was undoubtedly the key to his huge worldwide success.
There are many ways in which Roald Dahl Day can be used in classrooms, libraries, Brownie meetings, etc., such as dressing up as favourite characters, acting out scenes, reading aloud or writing your own Dahl-style short story. The Roald Dahl Museum offers lots of activities on this day and throughout the year.
(Top images [cropped]: Dahl books by solarisgirl at Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0, Dahl in 1982 by Hans van Dijk for Anefo at Wikimedia Commons / Public domain)