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Roald Dahl's Children's Bravery List is inspirational

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Roald Dahl's bravery list is inspirational  by M.D. Liz Brown

Friday is Roald Dahl Day, the annual commemoration of the much-loved writer and his works. This year to celebrate, 1500 British children between the ages of 7 and 16 years were asked to name their bravery inspirations in a poll that was commissioned by the Roald Dahl Story Company.

Of course, some literary figures inevitably came up such as Harry Potter and Dahl’s own creation, Matilda, as well as a collection of stars from the worlds of entertainment and sport. However, it is interesting and for me very encouraging that the number one inspiration was teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

Like many others, I am in awe of this committed and inspirational young woman who has already made her mark on the world, speaking out about climate change and entreating politicians from all nations to take action on environmental issues before it’s too late. She speaks on behalf of a generation that, as she sees it, will inherit a world which isn’t worth having unless those people who are supposed to protect the young do something to, well, protect them!

Nobody of any age could fail to be affected by her eloquent and well-researched speeches, which aren’t delivered with the hysteria that is all too often associated with teenagers. Instead she speaks with a quiet confidence that hints at wisdom way beyond her tender years. Her conviction is firm, her assertions backed up with facts and her message as clear as the water that drips from a melting glacier.

There is so much to admire about this poised and quite extraordinary young person but for me, what is especially heartening is that other young people recognise the huge value in what she is doing, appreciate the courage needed to do it and, one hopes, will be inspired to act upon her message.

If young people like Greta Thunberg can inspire their peers to care for the planet they inhabit and even take direct action to safeguard its future, then just maybe we can all hope for better things to come.  It would be wonderful if Harry Potter could simply wave his magic wand and put right all the damage that has been done, but it is real people, specifically young people like Greta Thunberg and all those who are inspired by her who really have the power to change the world.


Children’s top 10 modern-day bravery icons

1.       Greta Thunberg - 16-year-old environmental campaigner and activist

2.      Matilda - A young girl who stands up to her bullying headteacher, Miss Trunchbull

3.      Malala Yousafzai - Human rights campaigner and youngest ever Nobel Prize winner

4.      Ariana Grande – Singer who performed a benefit concert in Manchester less than a month after the tragic terror attack during her stadium gig

5.      Harry Potter - An orphaned wizard who stands up for what he believes in and always speaks the truth

6.      Andy Murray - Tennis player who returned to play this year after a career-threatening injury

7.       Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games) - Volunteers herself in place of her younger sister as tribute for the Hunger Games

8.      Barack Obama - The first black President of the United States, a Nobel Peace Prize winner for his humanitarian efforts and supporter of numerous charities

9.      Dustin (Stranger Things) - Dustin stands strong when bullied at school and when the supernatural turns his life upside down, he protects his friends

10.    Stormzy - Rapper who uses his music to speak out about topics including racial discrimination and the Grenfell fire tragedy.