I remember thinking how tragic and sad that Dahl would have lost a child and I was curious about his life.
Yesterday, my Scholastic Book Box arrived filled with new books I purchased to add to my classroom library, including the Who Was? Biography series. One of my goals is to read more varied genres and model that for students, as well as encourage them to try new genres, too. I noticed one of the books was Who Was Roald Dahl? I decided to make that my next #bookaday.
The book states, "His life was full of wonderful ups and terrible downs. Roald Dahl was an up-and-down person, too. Charming one minute, nasty the next." He experienced a lot of tragedy in his life, including losing his older sister at a very young age and his father. His daughter Olivia died of measles and his son Theo was seriously injured by a car at the age of 3 months (he did recover). Roald Dahl himself had a lot of health and back issues from injuries sustained by flying planes in World War II. I didn't realize he had been married to a famous American actress, Patricia Neal.
While reading this book, I could imagine my third graders being confused by the history and names that it assumes they know, like World War II and Hitler. There are also features like a timeline that they would need to understand.
One thing to share with my young writers is how Roald's writing process was described. The book says, " He was very picky about his writing. He rewrote again and again. For every page he wrote, he might throw away three!" I think it is important to keep sharing these ideas with our students so they internalize the need for revision.