8 Best Books by Roald Dahl Every Writer Must Read

Are you looking for the best books by Roald Dahl? Take a look at several of his most famous titles in our round-up guide, and expand your horizons.

Roald Dahl is one of the most incredible children’s authors. He was born in Cardiff, Wales, in 1916. Of Norwegian descent, he served as a fighter pilot during WWII, becoming an ace with the Royal Air Force. After his time in the cockpit, he became a prominent intelligence officer. In the 1940s, he became a prolific writer, particularly for his children’s titles.

He earned a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 1983, and he won the British Book Awards Children’s Author of the Year in 1990. Consistently right among the greatest authors of all time, many of his works are still read today. His comic works are frequently kindhearted and have an underlying, warm current. He passed away in Oxford, England, in 1990.

Regardless of whether you are looking for books for yourself or your children, take a look at some of the best Roald Dahl books you should explore. You might also be interested in our round-up of the best Dostoevsky books.

Here Are The Best Books by Roald Dahl

1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 1964

Any list of the greatest books or stories by Roald Dahl has to start with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It has been made into a movie multiple times, is beloved worldwide, and even people who have not read the book are familiar with the story.

This book follows the story of a young boy from a low-income family who will do anything to help his loved ones. Eventually, after diving into a chocolate bar, he finds the golden ticket required to meet Willy Wonka. Exploring the famous factory is a dream come true from there, but there are a few twists and turns along the way. So even if you already know what happens at the end of the story, consider reading the book where it all began. You might be interested in exploring other children’s books, such as these best Astrid Lindgren books.

“Whipped cream isn’t whipped cream at all if it hasnt been whipped with whips, just like poached eggs isn’t poached eggs unless it’s been stolen in the dead of the night.”

Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • Dahl, Roald (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 192 Pages - 08/16/2007 (Publication Date) - Penguin Young Readers Group (Publisher)

2. Matilda, 1988

Best Books by Roald Dahl: Matilda
Matilda has been made into movies, and TV shows more than once

If you haven’t read the book, there is a good chance that you are familiar with Matilda. It has been made into movies, and TV shows more than once, and it follows the story of a child who loves nothing more than to foster her imagination by reading every book she can get her hands on. Unfortunately, she doesn’t necessarily get along with everyone, and some people, like the famous Trunchbull, actively seek to harm her. Nevertheless, the book is fascinating, inspiring everyone who is just a little different to reach their full potential. You might even find yourself craving a piece of chocolate cake at the end of the book. 

“Matilda said, “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…”

Roald Dahl, Matilda
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Matilda (Puffin Modern Classics)
  • Dahl, Roald (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 232 Pages - 09/23/2004 (Publication Date) - Viking Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

3. James and the Giant Peach, 1961

James and the Giant Peach is one of Dahl’s most famous works. The book follows the story of a young boy struggling to survive under the rule of his abusive relatives—the boy journeys to a land filled with mysterious creatures, including the giant peach from the title. There is a happy centipede with dozens of shoes and giants who are quick to anger. James and his friends will meet fantastical creatures that have become a hallmark of a Dahl story on the journey. All along the way, James’s giant heart will be on display, setting a solid example for readers of all ages. Check out our post on how Matilda’s Tim Minchin believes editing Roald Dahl’s work is wrong.

“My dear young fellow,’ the Old-Green-Grasshopper said gently, ‘there are a whole lot of things in this world of ours you haven’t started wondering about yet.”

Roald Dahl, James and the Giant Peach
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James and the Giant Peach
  • Release date: April 1, 1996
  • Age Range: 3 - 8 years
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Language: English
  • Dahl, Roald (Author)

4. The BFG, 1982

Roald Dahl has his writing style, which shines through in The BFG. It follows the story of an orphan girl who eventually befriends a welcoming giant. There are scary moments in the story, such as when giants start to munch on humans like popcorn, but there is a tremendous amount of wonder. The stars share their music, the giant explores other countries, and all of our dreams can come true. This is also a story where Dahl’s magnificent wordplay is on full display, so don’t hesitate to try to sound out some of his nonsensical terms. 

“The matter with human beans,” the BFG went on, “is that they is absolutely refusing to believe in anything unless they is actually seeing it right in front of their own schnozzles.”

Roald Dahl, The BFG
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The BFG
  • Dahl, Roald (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 08/16/2007 (Publication Date) - Penguin Young Readers Group (Publisher)

5. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, 1977

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More is a favorite among Dahl readers. It is more of an anthology, and it has several short stories that are unforgettable. One reads as an autobiography of Dahl’s life, and another follows a giant tortoise. If you have ever wanted to figure out what Dahl’s life was like as a fighter pilot in World War Two, you can find some answers in this story.

Of course, the main story follows Henry Sugar, who can see directly through solid objects, which gives him an upper hand when he plays cards. Eventually, he reforms himself into a saint, weaving an unforgettable story everyone will love. Looking for more children’s books? You might also enjoy our list of the best Stan and Jan Berenstain books.

“The secret of life’, he said, ‘is to become very very good at somethin’ that’s very very ‘ard to do.”

Roald Dahl, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More
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The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar
  • Dahl, Roald (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages - 05/01/2000 (Publication Date) - Viking Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

6. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, 1972

Some people may not realize there is a sequel to Dahl’s most famous work, but here it is. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator is a long way from the Chocolate Factory, but Charlie is journeying with Willy Wonky for a trip that will not soon be forgotten. It even pays a visit to the sitting president of the United States. While the characters might be the same, the story is different and an adventure that you will remember forever. 

“We must hurry!’ said Mr. Wonka. ‘We have so much time and so little to do! No! Wait! Strike that! Reverse it!”

Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
  • Dahl, Roald (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 159 Pages - 08/16/2007 (Publication Date) - Penguin Young Readers Group (Publisher)

7. The Witches, 1983

Best Books by Roald Dahl: The Witches
The Witches is a tale that eventually gets turned on its head, serving as a cautionary tale for people of all ages

The Witches is a horror story that follows a boy who ends up in the middle of an international conference filled with evil women. Fortunately, thanks to his grandmother, he is utterly immune to the witches and their evil deeds. Nevertheless, the witches permeate society, just waiting to take advantage of children who might make a wrong turn here or there. It is a tale that eventually gets turned on its head, serving as a cautionary tale for people of all ages. You might even want to read the story for yourself during Halloween. 

“A witch never gets caught. Don’t forget that she has magic in her fingers and devilry dancing in her blood.”

Roald Dahl, The Witches
The Witches
  • Witches The
  • Dahl, Roald (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 08/16/2007 (Publication Date) - Penguin Young Readers Group (Publisher)

8. Revolting Rhymes, 1982

Roald Dahl has always been known for his wordplay, if not his rhymes, but Revolting Rhymes is undoubtedly among his best works. He will share six famous fairy tales in his own ways, complete with many details that some of the other children’s storytellers might have left out. Some characters who make an appearance include Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and her famous dwarfs. But, of course, it is just as strange as his other works, and a lot of fun is baked within the pages. Looking for more? Check out our round-up of the 15 best poetry books for modern poetry lovers!

“Ah, Piglet, you must never trust
Young ladies from the upper crust.”

Roald Dahl, Revolting Rhymes
Revolting Rhymes
  • Dahl, Roald (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 48 Pages - 09/03/2009 (Publication Date) - Viking Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

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  • Meet Rachael, the editor at Become a Writer Today. With years of experience in the field, she is passionate about language and dedicated to producing high-quality content that engages and informs readers. When she's not editing or writing, you can find her exploring the great outdoors, finding inspiration for her next project.