Boy: Tales of Childhood

Author: Roald Dahl

Published: Penguin 1984

Year Level: Year 9

Roald Dahl is a writer who almost every youth is familiar with, this autobiography gives insight into his highly adventurous and entertaining childhood. Dahl begins with what he first remembers as a child and the narrative follows him until he finishes secondary school. Each story within the larger story is entertaining, and engaging –  some make you laugh out loud, some make you wince in pain and others make you feel just as embarrassed and ashamed as Dahl must have been.

As this is an autobiography, students would relate to it well because they know what they are going through (they hate school, friend problems, finding one’s talents), Dahl experienced also. This allows students to see that a highly successful writer had the same difficulties growing up as they do.

If students are familiar with Dahl’s other texts (novels, short stories and poems), they may see the start of those texts forming coming to light through the experiences of a young Dahl.

This autobiography would be useful to begin a study on autobiographies and encourage adolescents to think about the moments and incidents that shaped them. Each chapter can also stand alone and be studied as a short story.

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