Roald Dahl Day

Roald Dahl was born on September 13, 1916, in Wales, to Norwegian parents, Harald Dahl and Sofie Magdalene Dahl. He was named after the Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen. He was educated in British public schools, which by the sounds were not much happier than the school attended later by his character Matilda. In World War II, he became a fighter pilot in the Royal Air Force. After headaches bad enough to make him black out, he was sent as an attaché to the United States, where he helped promote British war interests.

After the war, he married actress Patricia Neal. The couple had five children, in a marriage that lasted thirty years. During this time, he became a writer. Though he also wrote tales for adults, he is mainly remembered for his children’s books. Dahl’s books are not subtle. There are the good guys – the child or children and a sympathetic adult – and the bad guys – most of the other adults. Children’s book critic Amanda Craig has said, “He was unequivocal that it is the good, young and kind who triumph over the old, greedy and the wicked.”

In 1961, Dahl published the book James and the Giant Peach. The book met with wide critical and commercial acclaim. Three years later, he published another big winner, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which is my own personal favorite of his stories. Other popular stories are Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Witches, The BFG (Big Friendly Giant), and Matilda. He also wrote the screenplay for Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang. Dahl died in 1990 at the age of 74.

On September 13, schools take part is The Dahlicious Dress up Day, which helps support Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity. They provide financial aid and other assistance for seriously ill children.

Quotes by Roald Dahl

Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world. (Matilda)

Bunkum and tummyrot! You’ll never get anywhere if you go about what-iffing like that. Would Columbus have discovered America if he’d said ‘What if I sink on the way over? What if I meet pirates? What if I never come back?’ He wouldn’t even have started! (Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator)

You should never, never doubt something that no one is sure of. (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it. (The Minpins)

Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable. (Matilda)

A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely. (The Twits)

“Anyone can ask questions,” said Mr. Wonka. “It’s the answers that count.” (Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator)

Well, maybe it started that way. As a dream, but doesn’t everything. Those buildings. These lights. This whole city. Somebody had to dream about it first. And maybe that is what I did. I dreamed about coming here, but then I did it. (James and the Giant Peach)

I’ve heard tell that what you imagine sometimes comes true. (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you. (The Witches)

A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men. (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place, you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall. (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)

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