Roald Dahl is known to generations of children as the man that brought them magical stories like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Danny the Champion of the World and James and the Giant Peach.
Many people remember his stories from their childhood.
Olive:I’ve got a few favourites. There’s Matilda, TheWitches, James and the Giant Peach. They are so fantastic and different it’s like going into another world.
Beth:I used to read a lot of Roald Dahl when I was little, and I had a lot of Roald Dahl read to me by my parents.
He’s very funny. He’s a very witty author who makes good stories for children and for adults.
Kate:The BFG, The Big Friendly Giant, is about a big monster and he goes around catching dreams.
I can’t even remember.
Edel: I can’t remember.
I think my dog ate that book.
Tom: I’ve taught Roald Dahl to children.
I read four or five of his books and the ones that I taught were Danny Champion of the World, which I think is probably my favourite of all his books. But they are great children’s books.
Children love them and it’s great to be able to teach them to children who want to learn, who want to know.
And he’s a great man. I love his books. I think they’re great.
He invented his own words and he wrote about fantastic places and people.
By the end of the 20th century people had bought over 35 million copies of his books.
At the Roald Dahl museum and Story centre you can learn more about him and his world.
Gemma Holland works at the centre.
She explains why Dahl’s stories are still popular today:
Gemma: I think that the children still find the same things funny as they found funny 50 years ago and I think that Roald Dahl had a really amazing way of being able to reach the children, but also be able to reach the adults that were reading with the children.
So the humour isn’t just for the child but it’s also for the parents or the adult reading with that child and I think that is a massive appeal as well for everybody.
Roald Dahl’s parents were Norwegian, but they had left Norway to live in Wales before Roald was born on 13 September 1916.
Dahl wrote about his childhood in his autobiography, ‘Boy’.
He told many stories about being naughty at school.
When he was only nine years old Roald’s mother sent him to boarding school a long way from home.
He was terribly homesick and he wrote her letters nearly every day.
Although he was lonely and unhappy, his letters were always cheerful and full of stories.
And school wasn’t all bad.
A chocolate company sometimes sent new sweets for students to test.
This gave Roald a life-long love of chocolate, and became the inspiration for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Gemma:Roald Dahl absolutely loved chocolate and whenever he ate them, instead of just throwing the wrappers away he actually kept them and he would scrunch them all together to make a silver ball and he actually kept that ball as a little souvenir on his desk next to him when he wrote.
Part 2 The writer
Roald wasn’t the best student at school, but he was always good at sport and he enjoyed adventure.
He didn’t go to university after he finished school.
Instead, he started working for an oil company.
They sent him to Africa.
Gemma:Then World War II broke out and Roald Dahl saw this as another part of an adventure, so he actually joined the Royal Air Force and he became, and and learnt to fly a plane, um and he actually flew a variety of different planes, Tiger moths, Hurricanes, Gladiators and um unfortunately er Roald Dahl was actually involved in quite a serious accident when he crashed his plane in the desert, and he was very badly injured.
And all of that adventure actually led to his first ever published piece of writing and it was called ‘Shot Down Over Libya’.
By this time, Dahl already knew how to tell a great story.
He wrote a dramatic report about his accident while he was recovering in the United States.
He described how the Germans had shot him down, but really he had crashed because he had run out of fuel!
Dahl had moved to the United States in 1942.
He was working as a TV presenter when he met his wife, Patricia Neal.
She was a film star.
They married in 1953 and moved back to England.
The couple lived in the small town of Great Missenden and they had five children.
By the 1960s he had become a very successful short story writer.
At this time most of his stories were for adults.
Then the first story that he wrote for children was called ‘The Gremlins’ and it was all about little creatures that got inside the engines of planes and caused them to crash and break down.
And it was after that story and after the success of that story that he started writing stories for children including those famous ones such as James and the Giant Peach and then obviously Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Millions of children have heard or read the stories of Roald Dahl, but at the Roald Dahl story centre they encourage young people to write their own stories.
I think story telling is important because it helps to make life more interesting.
Around the museum there are lots of things to inspire young writers.
So how did writers like Dahl turn their ideas into a story?
Roald Dahl er always wrote his ideas down in his ideas books that he kept with him at all times.
He actually had some ideas in his notebook for 20 years before he used them.
And Dahl always wrote in the same way.
He always wrote in his writing hut and I’m sitting in his replica chair right now um, and we’re surrounded by lots of really interesting things that he kept in his writing hut.
Dahl always wrote with a pencil.
So he would sharpen six of them and then he would sit down to write on his special yellow paper.
Everything he did he wrote by hand.
He would write for two hours every morning and then he would stop for lunch and then he would write for two hours every afternoon as well.
Roald Dahl died in 1990 at the age of 74. One of the last lines he wrote was, ‘Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it’.
I think that’s a lovely way to finish off his last book.
Basically saying that if you believe in magic you will find it, and I think story storytelling definitely helps us to keep that magic alive.
Unit 10 Three inventors
Part 1 Emily Cummins
Many of the inventions of the past 100 years have changed the way we live our lives.
Mobile phones are owned by almost six billion people worldwide and when over six trillion texts are sent every year, many of us believe that we can’t live without them.
People are always trying to think of the next big invention that’s going to change the world.
But for some inventors this doesn’t mean designing a new phone app, or building a smaller, quicker, lighter computer.
For some inventors it’s about looking at what everyone really can’t live without.
Emily Cummins is a young inventor who is looking for new ways to help people.
She started inventing at a very young age.
Emily:At the age of 4, my granddad gave me a hammer.
I used to spend hours with him in his shed at the bottom of the garden.
As I got older, he would teach me about the different properties of materials and how to use the tools and the machinery in his shed.
While she was still at school Emily designed a new type of fridge.
But her fridge doesn’t look like the ones that most of us have in our kitchens.
It’s designed to be used in areas where there isn’t any electricity.
I spent a lot of time researching how to redesign the refrigerator.
I realized that people in Africa weren’t able to store food and medicine because they didn’t have access to electricity or refrigerators.
The design was very simple. A small cylinder inside a larger one.
You put your food or medicine in the small cylinder.
Between the two cylinders you put some material that stays wet like sand or soil.
In the sun, the fridge then ‘sweats’, just like a person.
The water evaporates and pulls the heat out of the small cylinder and the contents stay cool.
The fridge was designed so anyone anywhere could make it with simple tools and materials.
And Emily wanted to help people do this.
When I was 18, I travelled to Africa on my own which was really scary at first but actually, when I got there, people were really welcoming, they invited me into their homes, they looked after me, they listened to me and we shared ideas, so although initially I was frightened about the experience, it was actually incredible.
Part 2 Josh Silver
It is estimated that about 60 per cent of the world’s population need eye-glasses to see clearly.
Everyone should have their eyes checked regularly by an eye-care professional.
But, in parts of Africa, there’s only one eye-care professional for eight million of the population.
If you can’t see, you might not be able to read, or drive, or even work.
Josh Silver is a Professor of Physics.
He invented a new kind of eye-glasses to solve this problem.
John: These, these eye-glasses are rather interesting, rather special in a way, I call them adaptive eyeglasses and I will demonstrate them for you.
The eye-glasses work by adding liquid to the lenses.
I want to see clearly in the distance, I just… I’m covering up one eye, I’m adjusting the lens now until I’ve got nice clear vision and then do the same with the other eye and there we are.
Right, I can now see clearly in the distance so these glasses have the interesting feature that I can change each lens so as to suit my vision and get clear vision.
When you go through this correction procedure and you get the eye-glasses set to your vision, you don’t wear them like that, you do up the screws on this frame and you cut off the adjusters and then you end up with this, which you can wear and this is my pair and there are about 40,000 or so of these in use now in about 20 countries.
It’s taken Josh over twenty years of research to develop these eye-glasses.
He travelled to Africa to see how his eye-glasses could help people.
Henry Ajay Mensa was the first person to get a pair of Josh’s eye-glasses.
Shall we try the glasses and see if that helps you with threading it?
Henry was a tailor in a small village in Ghana.
He needed good eye-sight to do his job making clothes, but his eye-sight was getting worse…
Ah! That did it immediately! So it works!
He was trying to thread a needle and he couldn’t and he put them on and he adjusted them and he just threaded a needle immediately and what he did was he then, he then started operating his sewing machine much faster.
This experience proved that Josh’s eye-glasses can work.
Today he is still improving his invention and looking for ways of producing adaptive eyewear for everyone who needs it.
My motivation for the work is to see those billions of people that need eyewear get it.
Part 3 Michael Pritchard
No-one can live without water, but today over a billion people live in water poverty.
They haven’t got easy access to clean water.
Drinking dirty water makes millions of people sick, and kills thousands of people every day.
After seeing the terrible result of the Asian Tsunami in 2004, inventor, Michael Pritchard, decided he wanted to do something about this problem.
It is expensive and difficult to send bottles of clean water to disaster areas.
Michael thought it was a simple problem.
Michael:… water is everywhere and Mother Nature has her own way of getting water to people, they’re called the clouds, they pick the water up from the sea for free, they take the salt out of it for free, they transport it hundreds of miles for free and then they dump it on the mountains and the rivers and the streams and where do people live? Near water.
So, Michael Pritchard invented the Lifesaver water bottle.
Using a special filter, the bottle can clean any water making it safe to drink.
What the lifesaver bottle allows people to do is take that water, put it in the bottle, give it a few pumps and the bottle just through filtration, very small holes, removes all of the bacteria and all of the viruses and makes the water sterile and safe to drink.
This new technology saves people’s lives and Michael has developed more products using his technology, like the Lifesaver jerry can.
The Lifesaver jerry can, can process up to 20,000 litres of water and is specifically designed to go into people’s homes and to be used on an everyday basis.
[The Lifesaver jerry can came like a gift for us, because without the jerry can we would not have life.
Everyone would die.
So, the jerry can means life for us.]
Michael has travelled around the world seeing his products in action saving lives.
We do many projects around the world to help people who do not have access to clean drinking water, whether that be in Malaysia or in Haiti, or in Pakistan or in India, we do lots of projects around the world to make sure that people have access to clean water, not just for a day or for a week but for life.
Unit 11 The Homeless World Cup
Part 1 The power of football
Football, or soccer, is one of the most popular sports in the world.
It’s played by millions of young people around the world every day.
At the professional level it’s an international game.
Talented young players often leave their home countries to train at the youth academies of famous football clubs around the world.
Becoming a successful player can change their life.
One of the world’s best footballers, Leo Messi, is Argentinian, but he has been playing for FC Barcelona in Spain for many years.
Messi moved to Spain when he was just 13, and he was only 16 when he started playing for the first team.
For a few lucky players, like Messi, playing football has not only been a life-long passion, but it has also made them rich and famous.
And sometimes this fame gives them a chance to help others.
Messi now works as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF helping children around the world.
But even if it doesn’t make you a star, football can make a dramatic difference to people’s lives.
Once a year, over 60 teams from around the world meet to play in a very unusual football tournament, the Homeless World Cup.
The Homeless World cup brings together teams of homeless people to play football for their country and helps them change their lives forever.
Part 2 The tournament
Mel Young is the co-founder and President of the Homeless World Cup.
Mel started his career in journalism.
But since 1993 he has been working on projects helping the homeless.
Today, he works at the global organization’s offices at a football stadium in Scotland.
He explains how the tournament started:
Mel: The idea of the Homeless World Cup came in a conference that we were having in 2001 in Cape Town.
I was talking with a colleague with mine, Harold Schmidt from, from Austria about how, how we could include more homeless people.
Mel and Harold thought of things that brought people together across the world.
We used football because it’s very, very simple, everybody understands it, it’s an international language first of all so … you, you can involve anybody, male, female, big, small, really good player, really useless player, doesn’t matter, it’s a great way of including people.
Teams in the Homeless World Cup don’t play matches in a football stadium.
They play a kind of football called Street Soccer.
Street soccer is, is just a simple form of football which is usually played in, in the street.
I mean football’s just this wonderful game, you can play it anywhere, you, you can play it on an 11 a side standard football pitch but you can also play 2 a side or 20 a side or you can play indoors or outdoors or – and you can mix teams of really good people and not very good people so street soccer’s like that, it’s just a space in the street.
The teams play on a small court.
There are eight players in each team, but only four play at the same time.
The games only last for 14 minutes.
In the World Cup Tournament the teams play about three games a day.
Organizing an international football tournament with teams of homeless people isn’t simple.
It takes a lot of work and it’s a challenge for Mel’s team in Scotland and their partners working around the world.
As well as organizing the tournament, they have to raise money and get passports and tickets for all the players.
So it’s all year round work that we’re doing to, to make sure that they, they come to, to the event.
But the hard work is worth it.
The tournament has grown every year and now there are around 50,000 homeless people from 70 countries training for a place in their national team.
The organization has many famous supporters and you even can watch the matches on television.
Part 3 Changing lives
For Mel, and his team, the most important thing about the Homeless World Cup is that over 70 per cent of the homeless players change their lives for the better because of the tournament.
The coach of the Kenyan team agrees:
I can tell you that over 95 per cent of all the players who took part – it has changed their life for the better.
Because of Homeless World Cup that they are where they are now.
They say now: This is not my life. I was not meant to be on the street.
Mel believes that the project is so successful because it helps the homeless become part of a team.
This helps them to improve their own lives while the project supports and encourages them.
Mel: I mean… I think my view is that homelessness … you are on your own.
And football is this great way in which you can be included so we get people from that position and say, do you want to play football… and then the training sessions build so you create a kind of, if you like a family, which is the team.
And the results for people like David Duke can be amazing.
David: I was living in a homeless project in Glasgow.
I took part in the Homeless World Cup which was held in Gothenburg in 2004.
David had become homeless as a teenager in Glasgow in Scotland, but the Homeless World Cup helped him change his life.
I went back into further education once I came back from the Homeless World Cup.
David completed his college course and got a full-time job.
And he continued to work with the Homeless World Cup.
My participation in the Homeless World Cup has led to me being a player, an assistant coach, a coach, manager, project manager, and I’m now a global ambassador for Homeless World Cup.
Today, David runs Street Soccer, an organization helping other homeless people in Scotland get involved with football.
David is a wonderful example of the success of a project that believes a ball can change the world.
The Homeless World Cup helped me change my life by providing me an opportunity to change my own life, it inspired me, it gave me motivation, and it encouraged me to be all I can be.
Unit 12 Where next?
Part 1 Cities
It’s always nice to think about your next holiday.
It’s good to have something to look forward to and most people know where they will go for their next holiday.
Yoni: On my next holiday, I’m going to stay in New York.
Joanna:I’m going to stay in a few different places, but one of the places I am most excited about is we’re going to stay in aneco-lodge in the jungle in Cambodia.
Reed:Los Angeles, California.
Selina: The next place on our list is Scotland.
Justin: The Bahamas.
There are so many amazing places to visit around the world.
It would be great to see them all.
But most of us haven’t got the time or the money to visit other countries and explore new places.
But what if your life were different?
If you were rich, would you travel the world?
If you didn’t have to go to work every day, where would you go next?
Is there a city you’ve always wanted to visit?
There’s so much to see and do in San Francisco in the USA.