Roald DahlThis is a featured page

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(1916-1990)
Portrait "I have a passion for teaching kids to become readers,
to become comfortable with a book, not daunted." -Roald Dahl

Born in Llandaff Wales to Norwegian parents Harald & Sofie. Roald was one of six children. His father died when Roald was only three years old, thus molding a close relationship with his mother. Roald grew up in a heavily literature influenced household in Norway. Roald recalls his father keeping a journal while his mother was a great storyteller telling her children bedtime tales every night, this probably encouraged Roald to become an avid reader as a boy. Roald's mother has inspired many characters in his books, probably the most notable character is the kind, courageous grandmother in The Witches.


Like most young children, Roald disliked school, especially his cane-wielding headmaster Latin Master Captain Hardcastle. This certain headmaster was probably a dead-on interpretation for the children hating Ms. Trunchball character in Matilda. Roald was a renaissance man with many different interests, but his most passionate obsession began as a boy when he and his childhood friends would frequent the local sweet shop. This was the beginning of his sweetest creation born to date which would be his most famous book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory(1964).

At the age of 23, WWI broke out which sent Roald to join the Royal Air Force in which he eventually became a pilot officer. He was later on sent home as an invalid. In 1942 he moves to Washington, D.C. where he meets the author C.S. Forester who wanted to write an article on him about the British war effort. Roald decided to write down his own account for Forester who sent him a letter saying,"Did you know you were a writer-I haven't changed a word." Also enclosed with the letter was a check for $900, thus beginning Roald's career as an author. His first book published was The Gremlins.

He wrote adult short stories for 15 years before writing his first children's book. Dahl's style of writing centered around the more macabre of situations such as his short story "Lamb to the Slaughter" in which a woman beats her husband to death with a leg of lamb and then roasts the incriminating evidence to serve up to the police that come to question her. Dahl did not become a children's author until after he had children of his own which was in 1960, but he still managed to maintain the same quirkiness in his children's tales as well. Many of his stories were made up for the bedtime amusement of his two daughters, Olivia and Tess, which lead to books such as James and the Giant Peach(1961). One of Roald's signature styles is to portray adults as insensitive and ridiculous. His most famous selling book is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which has been translated into 34 languages. He has won the Whitbread Award for the Witches (1983) and the Children's Book Award for Matilda (1988).

Cover Illustration When real withces plot to eradicate all the children where they live in and eat them up, it takes the courage of one small boy named Charlie and his grandmother to unfoil their plot. With the help of some magic and disguising himself as a mouse, Charlie defeats the witches and saves children-kind.
Cover Illustration The last book written before his death, Dahl displays his characteristic story plots of children overcoming the evils of wicked adults. Matilda, not loved and mistreated by her biological parents seeks the solace of her harsh world at school with her favorite teacher Ms. Honey, but Ms. Trunchball (the mean principal) sees that teaching children should be a strict,boring,duty. Matilda overcomes being bullied by discovering new powers. In turn she helps Ms. Honey stand up to her evil aunt Ms. Trunchball and in return she adopts Matilda and rescues her from a life of misery from her awful parents.
Cover Illustration If you enjoy zany characters and high adventure, James and the Giant Peach is the book for you. With encountering insect characters and cloud-men, the recently orphaned James takes off on a grand adventure in a gigantic peach that was growing in his horrible aunts yard. James encounters different insects that have grown to human size (just like the peach) inside the tasty fruit. When the peach rolls downhill into the ocean, James sets off to visit America where when he arrives he is treated like a hero instead of an unloved orphan.
Cover IllustrationEnjoy the grand adventure of Charlie Bucket, who is as poor as can be and living with his bedridden grandparents and overworked mother, manages to win the golden ticket into Willy Wonka's chocolate factory where he encounters an unimaginable world of sweet creations and hidden human darknesses. The moral of the story is to have patience and many great rewards will come your way. Also, you might want to follow up this book with Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.


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