Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Dahl in his flying gear (source here)
This Veteran's Day, consider hunting down two obscure books by much-loved British author Roald Dahl, who served his country during World War II...

Dahl was 23 years old when WWII broke out in 1939.  He joined the Royal Air Force and became a fighter pilot. He flew missions in Libya, Greece, and Syria, and was shot down in the Libyan desert, suffering serious injuries..  He was sent home as an invalid, after "surviving a direct hit at the Battle of Athens".

Eventually he was sent to Washington, D.C., where he was enlisted to help publicize the British war effort by writing a piece for THE SATURDAY EVENING POST.  His writing career was underway.  This account is from the Roald Dahl Official WEBSITE:

Roald Dahl's first book for children was not, as many suppose, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, but THE GREMLINS, a picture book published in 1943 and adapted from a script written for Disney. Walt Disney had invited the 25 year-old Roald to Hollywood, given him the use of a car and put him up at the Beverly Hills Hotel.  
The story of THE GREMLINS  focused on the mischievous spirits that, according to RAF legend, cause aircraft-engine failures.  In the end, the project to make a movie version was abandoned but the book was published.  Roald was never very keen on THE GREMLINS and didn't really think of it as a children's book.  Nevertheless, it caught Eleanor Roosevelt's eye and Roald became a not infrequent guest at the White House and at FDR's weekend retreat, Hyde Park.

“A life is made up of a great number of small incidents and a small number of great ones. An autobiography must therefore, unless it is to become tedious, be extremely selective, discarding all the inconsequential incidents in one’s life and concentrating upon those that have remained vivid in the memory.” – R.D.

GOING SOLO is Dahl's fascinating autobiography, told with the quirky, humorous style only Roald Dahl can deliver. Beginning with his travels in 1938, at the age of 22, to east Africa, he describes his experiences while working for the Shell Oil Company.  There he encounters lions and battles snakes. His descriptive memoir continues with his war exploits during World War II as an RAF pilot, when he took part in some unbelievable aeriel combat "dogfights".

Altogether, Dahl flew missions from April 1941, to June 1941, sometimes as often as five times a day. He was sent back to England when he began to experience terrible headaches from his old crash injuries that caused him to blackout while flying.

GOING SOLO (for ages 7th grade and up) is the sequel and continuation of his autobiography, BOY: Tales of Childhood.

1 comment:

  1. Anyone else having issues with Blogger? Earlier today, some of you were having trouble leaving comments on my previous post from today. An hour ago, I was updating/editing this post from last year to put on my facebook page tomorrow (which I do once in awhile). I hit "update" and blogger posted it right here, as today's post. So that's why you've got two posts from me today. Strange goings-on!