Ross MacKenzie

Don’t be frightened of teaching scary stories

This children’s author owes his love of reading to Roald Dahl’s The Witches, and urges teachers not to steer clear of darker tales

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I won’t pretend to be an expert on the curriculum. I’m not at all sure how much freedom teachers have when selecting books – it’s understandable that they might have reservations about reading a frightening or dark story to pupils. But I think it would be a real mistake to write off a book for the sole reason that “it’s scary”.

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to visit many schools. I’ve talked to thousands of children aged 8-12 about books, writing and what, for them, makes a great story.

I’ve learned that children are just as discerning as adults – perhaps more so. They’re honest ...

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