Boy: Tales of Childhood

Boy: Tales of Childhood

by Roald Dahl

London: Jonathan Cape, 1984

160 pp.

Age: 9+

Interests: biography, history, nonfiction, British boarding schools, family history

Next: Going Solo (the sequel to this book), also War Boy: A Country Childhood by Michael Foreman

Related Posts: A Roald Dahl Reading List

This is a terrific autobiography by the reknowned children’s author about his early years and school career. It is so direct and conversational that it would be a perfect introduction to nonfiction and biography for young readers. It’s a snapshot of another era, and spends a fair amount of time on the strict rules and brutal traditions of corporal punishment as endured by the author at various private schools in Wales and England. He relates these experiences with the same sense of outrage and injustice that he felt at the time – young readers will relate immediately to these passages. And, thankfully, in this day and age they will find them almost unbelievable.

Besides school life, family misfortunes, illnesses, accidents, as well as outrageous pranks, jokes, and larks are all related. It also provides a little practical family tree history, which might spark the reader to learn more about their own ancestors. But most of all it’s a captivating read, as it reflects wonderfully the concerns and obsessions of the young, from injustices in the classroom, to treats and sweets and glorious summer vacations.

(This title available at


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All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.
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