Happy birthday, Roald Dahl! To celebrate the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and other classic kid’s books, we’ve dug up free eBooks that inspired him as a young boy.
In his autobiographical book, Boy: Tales of Childhood, Dahl explained how an English teacher named Mrs. O’Connor changed his life with her reading list. We’ve collected free eBooks from his early classroom assignments–follow the links below to download. The Telegraph has an excerpt:
In two and a half hours, we grew to love Langland and his Piers Plowman. The next Saturday, it was Chaucer, and we loved him, too. Even rather difficult fellows like Milton and Dryden and Pope all became thrilling when Mrs O’Connor told us about their lives and read parts of their work to us aloud. And the result of all this, for me at any rate, was that by the age of 13 I had become intensely aware of the vast heritage of literature that had been built up in England over the centuries. I also became an avid and insatiable reader of good writing.
Free Books That Inspired Roald Dahl
The Vision and Creed of Piers Ploughman by William Langland
The Canterbury Tales, and Other Poems by Geoffrey Chaucer
Paradise Lost by John Milton
The Poetical Works of John Dryden, Volume 1 by John Dryden
An Essay on Man; Moral Essays and Satires by Alexander Pope
Dahl also talked about how his mother inspired him with fairy tales from Norway. We’ve also found a collection of those magical stories (complete with the illustration embedded above) The Norwegian Fairy Book by Clara Stroebe.
When we were young, she told us stories about Norwegian trolls and all the other mythical Norwegian creatures that lived in the dark pine forests, for she was a great teller of tales.