Famous Children’s Authors: Roald Dahl

The Gutenberg Printing Press
January 10, 2021
Booker T. Washington: American Educator
February 9, 2021

Famous Children’s Authors: Roald Dahl


Roald Dahl is a famous children’s author known for writing 19 children’s books and six short stories.  Some of his most famous books are, The Gremlins (1943), James and the Giant Peach (1961), Charlie and The Chocolate Factory (1964), Fantastic Mr. Fox (1970), The BFG (1982), The Witches (1983) and Matilda (1988).

 Dahl was born on September 13, 1916 and died on November 23, 1990 at the age of 74.  Although a British author, he was born in Wales from immigrant Norwegian parents. Unfortunately, his father died when he was only four years old.

Much of his rules he applied in his children’s books emanated from his harsh experiences in school.  In Llandaff Cathedral School, his first school, the principal gave him a harsh beating for playing a practical joke.  As a result, his mother removed him to St. Peter’s, a British boarding school.  He was homesick and unhappy and wrote to his mother every day without revealing his unhappiness.  

In 1929, at age 13, Dahl attended the Repton School in Derbyshire, where he was exposed to hazing, an environment of ritual cruelty, servitude toward the older boys, and terrible beatings. These experiences are reflected in his writings.

The rules were:

  1. Just add chocolate
  2. Adults can be scary
  3. Bad things happen
  4. Revenge is sweet
  5. Keep a wicked sense of humor
  6. Pick perfect pictures
  7. Films are fun … but books are better
  8. Food is fun!

Dahl also relied on his useful play on language, which was a key element of his writing by invented new words and swapping letters around based on familiar sounds such as something lickswishy and delumptious is good to eat.

Dahl’s works are mainly told from the point of view of a child, which involved adult villains who hate and mistreat children, and have at least one good adult to counteract the villains.

Dahl was regarded “as one of the greatest storytellers for children of the 20th century.” (The Independent, 12 December 2010)

References and More Reading:

‘Roald Dahl centenary: ‘Tremendous things’ promised for 2016” (https://www.bbc.co.uk.news/uk-wales-334087485

“Fans gather for Dahl celebration” (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/5341084.stm)


“Roald Dahl’s School Days (http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/arts/sites/roald-dahl/pages/media-2000-school.shtml).

Sturrock, Donald (8 August 2010) “Roald Dahl’s schooldays were filled with the ritual cruelty of fagging for older boys and with horrible beatings” (https:/www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/biographyandmemoirereviews/7932061/Roald-Dahls-schooldays.hlml).

WEB LINKS: corporal punishment in British schools” (http://www.corpun.com/webschuk.htm).

 “Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rule Book (TV Movie 2007)”. IMDb.

‘Once upon a time, there was a man who liked to make up stories. . .” (https:/www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/once-upon-a-time-there-was-a-man-who-liked-to-make-up-stories-2158052.html)