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Roald Dahl

When Roald Dahl said, "I am an old man full of metal," he wasn't kidding around. "The head of my femur (that's the large round bone of the hip joint) has been sawn off on both sides and a fearsome stainless-steel spike with a ball on top has been hammered into the hollow of my thighbone and glued into place."

"What on earth, you will ask, has all this got to do with writing books for children? Quite a lot and I'll tell you why. It turns the body into a rickety structure and a rickety structure is no good for climbing trees or going for long walks. It prefers to be sitting comfortably in an armchair with a writing board on the lap and the feet resting on a suitcase. Thus it encourages my work and the only work I know is writing books."

Roald Dahl was born in Wales in 1916 and educated in English boarding schools from the age of nine until twenty. During World War II, he was a Royal Air Force fighter pilot in North Africa and Greece. When his active duty was completed, he was transferred to Washington, D.C., where he was asked to write about some of his adventures. "A Piece of Cake," his first published work, was an account of a fighter plane crashing in Libya. His first piece of fiction was called "The Gremlins," a story about little creatures who make trouble for the Royal Air Force by drilling holes in the planes and wreaking general havoc.

Fifteen years later, Roald Dahl found himself telling bedtime stories to his children over and over again, and those were the basis for James and the Giant Peach, his first published children's novel. After that came Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, to be followed by many others, including The BFG, The Witches, and Matilda.

Every book of Roald Dahl's was written in a little brick hut in the apple orchard about two hundred yards away from his home. He wrote them all in pencil ("I never could type"), sometimes with an old sleeping bag wrapped around him, since there was only a paraffin stove to heat the drafty hut. "When I am up here," he said, "I see only the paper I am writing on, and my mind is far away with Willy Wonka or James or Mr. Fox or Danny or whatever else I am trying to cook up. The room itself is of no consequence. It is out of focus, a place for dreaming and floating and whistling in the wind."

Things that Roald Dahl wrote about himself:

I have a passion for paintings and have collected them for many years.

I make good orange marmalade.

I breed orchids and am a keen gardener.

I eat lots of chocolate.

The only dish I have never eaten is tripe.

Beethoven is wonderful.

Pop singers are horrible.

I would like to have been a good doctor.

I have had eight major operations, three on the hips, five on the spine, and countless smaller ones.

Kindness is more important than piety.

I wish my dog could talk to me.

More can be learned about Roald Dahl in his autobiographical Boy: Tales of Childhood and Going Solo, as well as in the chapter called "Lucky Break" in The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More. Roald Dahl died in 1990 at the age of seventy-four. Although the world lost one of its most beloved authors, what he has left behind is a rich library of wonderful tales for children of today and tomorrow to discover and enjoy.


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Roger Daniels

Roger Daniels, author of Prisoners Without Trial: Japanese Americans in World War II, is a renowned expert on immigration, consultant to PBS and the Immigration Museum on Ellis Island, and expert witness on Japanese-American internment.


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Dante

Dante Alighieri, or simply Dante (1265 – 1321), was an Italian poet from Florence. His central work, the Divina Commedia (originally called "Commedia" and later called "Divina" (divine) by Boccaccio hence "Divina Commedia"), is considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature.


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Edwidge Danticat

Alejo Carpentier was born in Havana in 1904. He lived for many years in France and Venezuela but returned to Cuba after the revolution. One of the major Latin American writers of this century, he is the author of The Lost Steps, Explosion in a Cathedral, and The Chase. He died in Paris in 1980.


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John Darnton

John Darnton, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the George Polk Award for his journalism, is culture editor for The New York Times and the author of two novels. He lives in New York.


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Dr. Natalie Zemon Davis

Natalie Zemon Davis is Henry Charles Lea Professor of History Emeritus at Princeton University. Her books include Slaves on Screen: Film and Historical Vision and Woman on the Margins: Three Seventeenth-Century Lives. She lives in Toronto, Canada


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Paul Davis

Paul Davis (PhD, University of Wisconsin), professor emeritus of English at the University of New Mexico, has been the recipient of several teaching awards and academic honors, including that of Master teacher. He has taught courses since 1962 in composition, rhetoric, and nineteenth-century literature and has written and edited many scholarly books, including The Penguin Dickens Companion (1999), Dickens A to Z (1998), and The Life and Times of Ebeneezer Scrooge (1990). He has also written numerous scholarly and popular articles on solar energy and Victorian book illustration.


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Elizabeth Davis

Elizabeth Davis is the Coordinator of the interdisciplinary Writing Certificate Program at the University of Georgia, where she is a faculty member in the Department of English. She teaches a variety of advanced writing courses and also facilitates the faculty Writing Fellows program. Her research focuses on writing and technology and she has written and presented on a variety of topics including the technological infrastructures for writing programs, and the rhetoric of Tumblr. As part of a Cohort VI member team of the Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research she and her colleagues at UGA are investigating assessment methods and material practices in e-portfolio pedagogy. She is co-author (with Nedra Reynolds) of Portfolio Keeping: A Guide for Students, Third Edition.


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Alexandra Day

Alexandra Day is the pseudonym for Sandra Louise Woodward Darling. She is the author of Good Dog, Carl and the rest of the beloved Carl books, including Carl Goes Shopping, Carl’s Christmas, Carl’s Birthday and Carl’s Snowy Afternoon. Darling was born in 1941 in Cincinnati, Ohio, to a large and close-knit family. Painting was a popular family recreation, and almost every family excursion included one or more easels and a variety of sketch pads, chalks, paints, and pencils. For four years, the family lived on a hundred-acre farm in Kentucky. Here young Sandra grew especially fond of riding and training horses, and became a dog owner for the first time. Living in the country also provided plenty of time for reading, a life-long passion.

Sandra illustrated her first book in 1983: The Teddy Bears' Picnic, a popular children's song by Jimmy Kennedy. That same year, she was visiting Zurich, Switzerland, when she came across a volume of old German picture sheets, one of which featured a poodle playing with a baby who was supposed to be taking a nap. This image proved the inspiration for Good Dog, Carl. The Darlings' own dog, a Rottweiler named Toby, was the model for the book's main character. Since then, two other Darling Rottweilers have posed as Carl in the seven sequels: the late Arambarri, who was named for one of the Darlings' favorite jai alai players; and Zabala, who currently moonlights as an Our Best Friend therapy dog, visiting hospitals to cheer patients.
 
About her work Sandra says: ""I think that one of the reasons my illustrations have appealed to people is that they can sense my sincerity. I know that marvels exist which are just outside our ordinary experience, but that at any moment we may turn a corner and encounter one of them. Children also believe this, and because they and I have this conviction in common, we, as creator and audience, make good partners."" Sandra lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband, Harold.


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Harriet de Onís

Alejo Carpentier was born in Havana in 1904. He lived for many years in France and Venezuela but returned to Cuba after the revolution. One of the major Latin American writers of this century, he is the author of The Lost Steps, Explosion in a Cathedral, and The Chase. He died in Paris in 1980.


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Tatiana de Rosnay

TATIANA DE ROSNAY is the author of ten novels, including the New York Times bestselling novel Sarah’s Key, an international sensation with over 4 million copies sold in thirty-five countries worldwide that has now been made into a major film to be released in Spring, 2011. Together with Dan Brown, Stephenie Meyer, and Stieg Larsson, she was named one of the top ten fiction writers in Europe in 2009.  Tatiana lives with her husband and two children in Paris, where she is at work on her next novel.


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Thomas de Zengotita

Thomas de Zengotita is a contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine and holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University. He teaches at the Dalton School and at the Draper Graduate Program at New York University.


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Displaying 1-15 of 48