Children’s Books I Grew Up On – Reviews & Reflections

Me as a toddler

I’ve mentioned many times on this blog that I grew up in a house of readers, always surrounded by books. I’m so thankful for that upbringing because I’ve loved books as far back as I can remember.

Recently, I decided to re-read a few of my favorite children’s books and wanted to provide some brief reviews and talk about why these books are so important to me.

The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien

The first book that always comes to mind when I reminisce on the books that I loved growing up is J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

The Hobbit is a sort of prelude to Tolkien’s adult fantasy trilogy, The Lord of the Ringsand far more suitable to children who might not be interested in the intricacies of the deep folklore and language that Tolkien created for his other novels.

I was introduced to this book early on because my mother had a gorgeous green leather edition of it in a slipcase that I would frequently take down from our living room’s bookshelf and read through over and over again. I’d spend afternoons poring over the pages and maps contained within the story. Hell, at one point I even managed to learn to read the runes on the maps. I was obsessed with this story early on, and am so thankful that my mother loved this book too. She died back in 2010, and every time I re-read this book it makes me feel closer to her.

Where the Sidewalk Ends Shel Silverstein.jpg

An author that I frequently think about (and whose work I still love) is Shel Silverstein. Not too long ago I shared a review of Silverstein’s adult book, Different Dancesbut I grew up reading his collections of children-appropriate poems, such as Where the Sidewalk Ends and Falling Up

When I re-read both of these books a few weeks ago, I was surprised to discover that I still enjoyed them, despite now being in my early thirties.

As with The Hobbit, Silverstein’s children’s books are definitely some that I’ll be sharing with any future children I have. The poems are perfect for kids that like to have fun with words and memorize witty little poems that they can recite back to friends and parents at (in)appropriate times.

The Giving Tree Shel Silverstein.jpg

Silverstein’s drawings, on every page of his books, are fun and simple and drew me in when I was a child.

While Where the Sidewalk Ends is definitely one of his most well-known classics, my favorite has always been The Giving Tree.

If you’re not familiar with that story, it’s about the relationship and friendship between a little boy and his tree. The tree loves the boy dearly, and willingly gives up anything it has in order to protect him. Whether this is in the form of shade, limbs to play on, apples to eat, and so on, there’s no sacrifice too big for the tree. By the end of the story, you’re left with a message of sacrificing everything for love and learning how to appreciate others. 

The Lorax Dr Seuss.jpg

It would be absolutely impossible to have a list of children’s books without having several Dr. Seuss titles on it.

Almost everyone I know, including people much younger than me, had at least one Dr. Seuss story that stuck with them. His books are so perfect and timeless that they’re going to be around for many decades to come, helping children learn to read while, at times, teaching them important lessons.

When I was young, my favorite Dr. Seuss story was One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. I had the entire book memorized by first grade and could recite it back perfectly.

Some of my other favorites are well-known, such as Green Eggs and Ham, Fox in Socksand The Butter Battle Book

As an adult, the book that I’ve come to appreciate the most is The Lorax. It’s not a surprise that this book has stuck in my mind for so long. I grew up reading books like The Lorax and watching movies such as FerngullyIt’s obvious that becoming an environmentalist started very young for me.

The Lorax is the kind of book that teaches both children and adults important lessons about conservationism and consumerism.

Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak.jpg The most aesthetically beautiful book I remember from my childhood is Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are

This book is truly iconic and will be for many years to come. The story is a very simple one, about a boy’s imagination, but it’s the artwork done by author Maurice Sendak that really makes this book special.

Each spread in the book is colorful and perfect enough to hang on your wall as an art print. The images, as an adult, evoke memories of playing as a young child and the fun that could be had with the power of your own imagination.

A little princess and a secret garden.PNGTwo of the first chapter books I remember reading were both by Frances Hodgson Burnett. A Little Princess and The Secret Garden are both wonderful stories for children, and I loved them so much when I was a little girl.

I recently purchased these stunning Barnes & Noble editions so that I could re-read them as an adult, which I plan to do around the holidays.

Out of the two books, The Secret Garden was always my favorite, primarily because I’m attracted to flowers and gardens.

I remember also watching movie adaptations of these stories when I was little, but I don’t actually remember much about them at this point.

So there you have it – a few of my favorite children’s books. Sometime in the near future, I’ll do another post about my favorite books as a pre-teen and teenager because I have so many more books that I could talk about. All of these books I’ll be sharing with my future children and grandchildren to hopefully show them the same wonderful stories that I had growing up.

What were your favorite children’s books growing up? Have you read any of my favorites? Let me know in the comments!

Looking for some more children’s stories?

Fantastic Mr. Fox | The Witches | Bunnicula | Furthermore | The Tea Dragon Society

Don’t forget to follow me on social media:

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Amazon Wishlist

If you would like to support Read Yourself Happy, you can donate through Ko-Fi!

20 Classic Books for Children’s Book Day

20 Classic Children's Books

Today is Children’s Book Day, which was started by the International Board on Books for Young People in 1967.

I still remember my favorite books from childhood, as I imagine most people do. The books we read as children can stick with us through adulthood.

Here are twenty classic children’s books to celebrate today. Is your favorite left out? If it is, let me know what it is in the comments!

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak


I read this book so many times when I was in elementary school. I reread it last year and it still holds as much magic as it did for me back then. The art in this book is really what makes it stand out.

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein


Aside from The Hobbit, Shel Silverstein’s books were probably the ones I read the most. He writes children’s poetry, and it’s immensely fun.

Charlotte’s Webb by E.B. White


First published in 1952, this book is a real classic. While most of us have seen the movie, it’s worth reading the novel too.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein


I obviously can’t include just one Shel Silverstein book. This book teaches an important lesson and is a moving story even as an adult.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl


Pretty much everyone has seen the movie (the original, not that travesty that came after), but trust me, the book is better.

Corduroy by Don Freeman


I never read this book as a child, but when I asked my boyfriend what his favorite children’s books were, this was the first one he mentioned.

Bunnicula by James and Deborah Howe


I never read Bunnicula as a child. I read it for the first time last year and really enjoyed it. Click here in you want to read my review.

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg


Like Corduroy, this is another book that my boyfriend loved as a child and that I’ve never read. It looks adorable though, so perhaps I’ll give it a read around Christmas time.

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss


What child hasn’t read and loved the most classic of classic children’s books? This book is simply iconic.

Goosebumps by R.L. Stine


Despite the first book coming out nearly thirty years ago, the scary stories contained in each Goosebumps book is still perfect for kids today. Also, does anyone else remember how much fun the choose-your-own-adventure books were?

Animorphs by K.A. Applegate


I’m including the Animorphs series because I was obsessed with these books. I read every single one as they came out, and they were my first introduction to science fiction, which quickly became my favorite genre.

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss


Another Dr. Seuss classic. Did anyone else’s mother put green food coloring in the eggs after reading this?

The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids by Debbie Daley


There are so many of these books! I had never read them before my boyfriend told me about them, and I read one last year. They’re adorable books that I would have enjoyed as a kid.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss


I promise this is the last Dr. Seuss book on the list! It’s so hard not to include all of his books because they are all wonderful and whimsical!

The Real Mother Goose by Blanche Fisher Wright


Published in 1916, you don’t get more classic than the tales of Mother Goose. These stories are usually some of the first that children are introduced to.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


I remember my mother talking about this book, although I’ve never actually read it. From what I’ve heard, it’s a great story for both children and adults.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter


When I was really young, my grandparents gave me a three-set collection of the Peter Rabbit books. When my house burned down when I was 19, that set was one of the things I was most upset about losing.

Matilda by Roald Dahl


Another Roald Dahl book! The film adaptation of Matilda came out when I was a kid, and it was immensely popular in our elementary school. How can you not love a children’s book about a kid who loves to read?

The Little Princess and The Secret Garden by Frances Hodges Burnett

Out of all of the books on this list, A Little Princess and The Secret Garden are the books that meant the most to me growing up. I have no idea how many times I read them, but I would always get lost in the story and imagine that it was me living these adventures.

What were your favorite childhood books?

The Tea-Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill – A Review


The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill
Graphic Novel | Fantasy
Published by Oni Press
Released in January 2019
Received in an Owlcrate Box
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars

This short graphic novel is probably one of my favorite items that I’ve ever received in a subscription box. I had never heard of Katie O’Neill before, but she has instantly become one of my favorite artists, to the point that I’m actually planning on buying one of her framed art prints as soon as my budget will allow.

The story in The Tea Dragon Society is almost too adorable – there are tiny dragons that grow tea leaves on their horns, and they’re meticulously cared for by their providers. The main character is Greta, who meets two members of the Tea Dragon Society, Hesekiel and Erik. They start teaching her how to care for the picky dragons. Greta also meets and befriends Minette, who’s very shy and quiet, but starts to emerge from her shell with Greta’s help.

There’s so much diversity in the characters, which is so wonderful to see in a children’s graphic novel. Within these pages, you’ll also find plenty of healthy relationships, whether it’s romantic, friendship, or familial love.

It’s the art, though, that makes this graphic novel truly spectacular. It’s beautiful.


I want so much more of this world in my life. I can’t think of a single negative thing to say about this story or the art. Check it out, buy it, love it. I hope that one day we’ll get more Tea Dragon Society comics because I want to learn so much more about the different types of dragons and about what’s in the future for Greta and her friends.

Don’t forget to follow me on social media:

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Amazon Wishlist

If you would like to support Read Yourself Happy, you can donate through Ko-Fi!

Short Reviews

I’m almost always reading multiple books or comics at one time, and many of the smaller books I read are too short to warrant a long review. Therefore, I’ve gathered those books to review in one post!

Note: All of these books were obtained through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Good Night, Kitty Kitty! by Brenda Ponnay

Release date: November 1, 2018

This very short children’s book is about a child and their cat, and that cat’s mischievous hijinks at bedtime. As a cat owner myself, I can attest to the truthfulness of everything this cat does right as you’re attempting to fall asleep! This book was adorable and would be perfect for the kitty-loving child in your life.


Muddy: The Raccoon Who Stole Dishes by Griffin Ondaatje

Release date: April 2, 2019

Another children’s book, this is a story about Muddy Whiskers (how cute is that), a raccoon that wants to eat human’s leftovers. His parents along with the rest of the raccoons that inhabit their little cove by the water have all promised to stop stealing leftovers from humans because it was causing them to get into trouble. One day, though, a new restaurant opens up nearby, and Muddy decides to get what he wants, stealing plates full of leftovers, much to the chagrin of Mr. and Mrs. Whiskers.

This was such a cute book, and the illustrations were wonderful. This is definitely a book I would share with the children in my life.


A Hell of an Innocent by Zidrou

Release date: April 18, 2018

This third book is definitely not a children’s book!

A Hell of an Innocent is a graphic novel noir set in Australia around the time of the Vietnam War. Greg Hopper is a man who was accused of his wife’s gruesome murder, afterward fleeing into a remote area where he raises livestock with his dog Commonwealth.

Everything stays the same for Greg for around 20 years, until one day he receives a newspaper whose front page is proclaiming that the killer has confessed, and it’s none other than Greg’s brother Ike.

Greg goes back into town where he’s surrounded by people who are constantly apologizing to him for blaming him for his wife’s murder. He seems to take everything in stride until he goes to see his sister-in-law.

Throughout the story his companion is the ghost of his wife, frequently sharing the stories of all the lovers she had when still alive.

It’s a graphic novel about jealousy, sibling relationships, and guilt.

Overall, the story itself is lacking, and the characters were a little bland. The twist was predictable, but in a story whose focus is the relationship between siblings, I don’t think that hurt the overall work very much. The art by Philippe Berthet was absolutely stunning. There are so many panels that blew me away, especially the ones that focused on landscape. The characters and animals were all well-drawn and the color scheme of the whole thing was perfect for the type of story that it was. It was a somewhat enjoyable read, but not one I would ever find myself coming back to a second time.


Book Love by Debbie Tung

Expected release date: January 1, 2019

Out of all the books on this list, this one was my favorite.

Book Love is the perfect gift for the book-obsessed person in your life. I recognized my own experiences in almost every page of this graphic novel. The art is adorable, and it’s a quick read, as I finished it in roughly 20 minutes. Everyone who calls themselves a bookworm will fall in love with this book.

Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts?

Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl – A Review


The Book

Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
Published by Alfred A Knopf
Released in 1970
Goodreads | Amazon
Author Links: Website | Twitter


Fantastic Mr. Fox is a children’s book about Mr. Fox and his family. Every night, Mr. Fox goes to one of the three farms surrounding the hole they live in and steals food for his family. The farms are run by nasty men: farmers Boggis, Bunce, and Bean.

One day the farmers decide they’ve had enough of Mr. Fox stealing their food, and they band together to kill Mr. Fox, Mrs. Fox, and their four small foxes. The rest of the story is the adventure of Mr. Fox outwitting the farmers and saving both his family and his other burrowing friends.


The book is dotted with tons of illustrations by Quentin Blake, who did the art for most of Dahl’s books.


It’s no secret to people who have been reading this blog since the beginning that I adore Roald Dahl’s books (click to read my review of The Witches)Fantastic Mr. Fox might be one of my favorites.

It’s a very short read. The edition I picked up from the library came out at less than 90 pages, and I believe it took me less than an hour to finish it. I actually love the Puffin Books edition I got from the library due to its having red text and illustrations. I’m so used to the standard black ink that the red made reading the story really fun.

One of the reasons I love this book so much is that, at its core, it’s a book about the connection between family and friends. They work together, through their exhaustion and starvation, to stay alive. It’s a serious message told through a light-hearted story.

I’m still very much on the fence about the artwork by Quentin Blake. I agree with what I said in my review about The Witches that while it’s great for children’s books, I’m not a huge fan of it, but it is somewhat starting to grow on me.


I’m giving this story four out of five stars. It was so much fun to re-read a book I loved as a child. It’s the perfect gift for the animal-loving children in your life.

Don’t forget to follow me on social media:

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Amazon Wishlist

If you would like to support Read Yourself Happy, you can donate through Ko-Fi!

Bunnicula by Deborah & James Howe

Bunnicula review; james and deborah howe; read yourself happy; halloween books, children books

The Book

Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe, illustrated by Alan Daniel
Amazon | Goodreads
Published by Scholastic
Released 1979
Author Links: Website

What It Is

Bunnicula is a children’s book told from the point of view of two of a family’s pets: Harold, a dog who loves to eat, and his best friend Chester, a know-it-all cat.

Photo by Anusha Barwa on Unsplash

When the family goes to the movies one night to see Dracula, one of the children in the family almost sits on a bundle in his chair, and that bundle turns out to have a small bunny in it. The family adopts the rabbit and brings it home, naming it Bunnicula.

Chester becomes suspicious after seeing Bunnicula out of his cage one night, seemingly getting right through a locked door. Then even stranger things start to happen. The family begins to find vegetables drained of all of their colors. Also, during the day Bunnicula never wakes up, only becoming animated with the rise of the moon. Chester makes a startling revelation, as all of these signs, and more, point to Bunnicula being a vampire!

Wanting to save his family, Chester begins reading up on vampires and, with the somewhat reluctant help of Harold, tries to get rid of Bunnicula. However, many of his plans are foiled, the family becoming irritated at Chester’s misbehaving.

My Thoughts

I never read this book as a child, which is unfortunate because I know I would have loved it. I found it at Goodwill recently and, since Halloween is right around the corner, thought it would be fun to read.

Harold is a lovable character and wants to see the best in everyone, a wonderful quality to see in a children’s book. He also does what he knows to be right, even if that means coming into conflict with his best friend, Chester.

I feel like this book should have a disclaimer, as one of the children frequently feeds Harold chocolate cupcakes, which is obviously very bad for dogs. It’s not a good habit to teach to children.

The illustrations by Alan Daniel were really cute and made the whole story even more fun to read.

bunnicula; books; children books; halloween books; what should i read for halloween

If I ever have kids, I know I’ll read this to them. It was an adorable story, and I love that it was told from the point of views of the animals. It’s a light-hearted take on the classic vampire story.


3 out of 5 stars. It was fun, easy to read, and a great book for children on Halloween.

Bunnicula Merch

I have to share this because it is just the cutest, and I wish I had the extra money to spend on one right now!

There’s a great Etsy shop called Squidbrains, where you can find the most adorable Bunnicula enamel pin. I absolutely love it.


Also, if you want to know a little bit more about James and Deborah Howe, there’s an article over at Mental Floss that you should read.

Don’t forget to follow me on social media:

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Amazon Wishlist

If you would like to support Read Yourself Happy, you can donate through Ko-Fi!

The Witches by Roald Dahl

The Book


The Witches by Roald Dahl
Amazon | Goodreads
Published by Jonathan Cape, a division of Penguin Random House
Released 1983
Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter
10 Things You Should Know About Roald Dahl on His Birthday

“It doesn't matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you.” ― Roald Dahl, The Witches.png

What Is It About?

The Witches is a children’s book about a little boy that goes to live with his Norwegian grandmother after his parents are killed in a car crash. His grandmother warns him about the dangers of witches and how to spot one.

“Real witches dress in ordinary clothes and look very much like ordinary women. They live in ordinary houses and they work in ordinary jobs.”

There are several ways to spot a witch, who are always female: they wear gloves to hide their hideous claws; all witches are bald, and therefore wear itchy wigs upon their heads; they have slightly larger nose-holes, which helps them to smell out nasty children and their “stink-waves”; the pupil of their eye continuously changes color; witches do not have toes, so the end of their feet are simply squared off; their spit and saliva is blue.

The reason for her teaching him about witches is quite simple: Witches are very dangerous and they want nothing more than to rid the entire world of children.

“A real witch hates children with a red-hot sizzling hatred that is more sizzling and red hot than any hatred you could possibly imagine.”

When the lawyer representing the boy’s parents share their will with his grandmother, the pair of them move back to the family’s home in England. One summer, after school is over, they decide to take a vacation, heading out to the coast.

The boy has pet mice, which the hotel has threatened to drown if they see them running about, so he searches for a quiet, hidden place to train them to do acrobatic feats.

The boy finds an empty conference room and sets up behind a curtain. Suddenly a large group of women starts coming in, taking their seats before a podium. Once they’ve all filtered in, a beautiful woman stands at the front and has them lock and chain the doors.

Once they’re all safely locked in, the woman standing at the front of the room removes her face, which had been a mask, and the boy makes a horrifying realization: this is a conference of witches, and the woman who took the mask off is the infamous Grand High Witch! And he’s trapped in a locked room with them!

The boy cowers in fear, anxious for their meeting to be over so he can get back to his grandmother. He breathes a sigh of relief as they start to exit, thinking he made it safely through until one of the witches gets a whiff of a child in the room. They catch him, and they turn him into a tiny mouse, although he still thinks and speaks as the child he was.

From there, the story turns into an adventure, with the boy and his grandmother working together to rid England, and the world, of witches.

The book is illustrated by Quentin Blake, who did work for most of Roald Dahl’s books.

My Thoughts

I grew up with Roald Dahl’s books. In the fifth grade, my teacher was obsessed with him, and every day she would read to us from one of his books. Now, at 31, I still find plenty of reasons to love his stories.

One of my favorite things about this book was the incredibly sweet relationship between the boy and his grandmother. It’s a nearly ideal family relationship, with both of them willing to do anything for the other.

Dahl’s writing style is fun to read, as you can see in this description of the witches:

“That face of hers was the most frightful and frightening thing I have ever seen. Just looking at it gave me the shakes all over. It was so crumpled and wizened, so shrunken and shriveled, it looked as though it had been pickled in vinegar. It was a fearsome and ghastly sight. There was something terribly wrong with it, something foul and putrid and decayed. It seemed quite literally to be rotting away at the edges, and in the middle of the face, all around the mouth and cheeks, I could see the skin all cankered and worm-eaten, as though there were maggots working away in there.”

That is definitely a description that terrified by as a child, but one that delights me to read as an adult.

I honestly cannot tell if I like the illustrations by Quentin Blake. While my art history-degree boyfriend hates it, I find myself feeling that, while not something I would actively seek out to display on my walls, his illustrations work very well for a children’s book. They’re fun and simple.


One thing about the book that surprised me that I didn’t remember from my childhood-reading of it was it’s frank and positive depiction of death. I don’t want to spoil anything, but there’s a conversation between Grandmamma and the boy near the end of the story where you can really see this. It’s not something that’s written about frequently in books, especially in books meant for children, so it was refreshing to see.

This book has been banned and challenged in several places, mainly for people feeling that this story teaches boys to hate women and that some of the points in the book are sexist.

There are two main points that I see when people complain about this book: misogyny, and the negative portrayal of witches.

I’m not sure if I’m somewhat biased simply because I read this book and loved it as a child, but my own opinion is that this is simply a light-hearted children’s book about a boy having an adventure. However, there are some points that can be made.

First, Grandmamma, the boy’s grandmother, is an amazing, strong woman. She isn’t afraid of anything, is immensely wise, and has a way of staying positive despite difficult circumstances. I think we can all learn a few lessons from her, and she’s a wonderful role model to look up to.

Second, the witches aren’t actually women, they just look like women.

“You don’t seem to understand that witches are not actually human beings at all. They look like humans. They talk like humans. And they are able to act like humans. But in actual fact, they are totally different animals. They are demons in human shape. That is why they have claws and bald heads and queer noses and peculiar eyes, all of which they have to conceal as best they can from the rest of the world.”

Overall, if this book makes you uncomfortable for either of the above reasons, that’s absolutely okay. We all have different backgrounds, experiences, and opinions, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Personally, I really enjoyed this story, and it’s one that I can easily see myself reading to my own children one day, albeit reminding them afterward that just because they see a woman wearing long gloves, that doesn’t mean she’s a witch.


4 out of 5 stars. This is a really enjoyable book and one that is quick to read. It’s also a great book to read near Halloween! I recommend buying this book if you’re a Roald Dahl fan, or checking it out from your local library if you’ve never read one of his books before.

Have you read The Witches? What do you think of it? Leave your thoughts in the comments down below!

Don’t forget to follow me on social media:

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Amazon Wishlist

If you would like to support Read Yourself Happy, you can donate through Ko-Fi!

Book Review: Mortals and Immortals of Greek Mythology by Francoise Rachmuhl

The Book

Mortals and Immortals of Greek Mythology by Francoise Rachmuhl and Charlotte Gastaut

Mortals and Immortals of Greek Mythology by Francoise Rachmuhl, illustrations by Charlotte Gastaut
Amazon | Goodreads
Children’s literature, mythology
Published by Lion Forge, 2018
I received an ARC of this book for review through NetGalley

What It Is

This is a children’s book about the most important figures in Greek mythology. Each page is fully illustrated, and the book is separated by gods first, followed by mortals. Each character receives a quick biography spanning several pages. The book was originally published in France but was released on September 18th here in America.

My Thoughts

It’s been years since I’d read any Greek philosophy, so I was pretty rusty going into this book. As I read it, I remembered many things I had forgotten and learned much more. The biography of each god or mortal is concise, yet very informative. The more adult themes are dealt with in a relatively light-hearted manner, making it accessible to children.

The illustrations, done by Charlotte Gastaut are gorgeous and are what makes this publication so special. Here are my favorite examples:

It was a stunning book. Despite being marketed toward children, this is definitely a book that people of any age would love.

Verdict (Buy/Borrow/Skip)

Buy. If you forget about famous Greek deities and need to brush up quickly, this book is a wonderful way to do so.

10 Things You Should Know about Roald Dahl on his Birthday

Today is legendary children’s author Roald Dahl’s birthday. Not surprisingly, it’s also Roald Dahl day. When I was in fifth grade, I had a teacher who adored Dahl, and for at least fifteen minutes every day, she would read to us from one of his books. It was my introduction to his work, and I have never stopped loving those stories.

In honor of Roald Dahl, here are 10 things you should know about him.

  1. His parents named him after Roald Amundsen, the first man to reach the South Pole.
  2. In 1940, Dahl was a member of the No. 80 Squadron RAF, part of the British air force. While flying from Abu Sueir to Mersa Matruh in Egypt, he had to attempt a landing in the desert, because he was running low on fuel and couldn’t find the airstrip where he was supposed to land. The plane crashed against a boulder and Dahl was temporarily blinded, but still managed to drag himself out of the plane wreckage before passing out.
  3. The inspiration for one of his most popular works, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, came from his days at the Repton boarding school. The students there were given trials of chocolate bars to try.
  4. Although known best for all of his children’s books, Dahl also wrote horror stories for adults, even winning a few Edgar Awards.
  5. Six of Dahl’s stories made their way onto Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and he also created a long-running TV show called Tales of the Unexpectedon the air in the U.K. from 1978-1988.
  6. The James Bond film You Only Live Twice was written by Dahl, as was the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
  7. His childhood was filled with tragedy. When Dahl was just three years old, his older sister died from appendicitis. That same year, his father died of pneumonia. After their deaths, Dahl’s mother decided to remain in the U.K. so that her son could get the best education possible.
  8. After his son suffered a sudden head injury, Dahl stepped out of the literary world and into the medical arena. He helped to invent a cerebral shunt that drained excess fluid from the brain. It became known as the Wade-Dahl-Till valve, and the inventors refused to accept any profit from the device.
  9. His favorite authors were Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, William Makepeace Thackeray, Frederick Marryat, and Dylan Thomas. In fact, after visiting Thomas’s writing shed, he ended up building a replica of it in his own yard to write in.
  10. After Dahl died in 1990 from a rare form of cancer, his family buried him with chocolate, pencils, snooker cues, burgundy, and, most notably, a power saw. (I don’t need to know this guy’s family to know I adore them immensely!)

Roald Dahl wrote so many great books, and too many to list all of them here. But here are some to help you get started. (Or you can just buy a whole set of 15 of books!)

What’s your favorite Roald Dahl book? Got any fond memories of reading his books while you were young? Leave a comment down below!