34 Roald Dahl Quotes To Inspire You To Find The Beauty & Magic In Everyday Life

Roald Dahl's books were the mainstay of every elementary school library.

50 Roald Dahl Quotes To Inspire You To Find The Beauty In Everyday Life

Roald Dahl was everything to me when I was a kid. 

Dahl quotes remind me that no matter how cruel and capricious life can be, the universe is ultimately made up of kindhearted, and warm people.

Especially given that Dahl grew up in Europe during World War II, the deep compassion he has for people, and most of all children, is an incredible feat. His works, which usually involve larger than life creatures and their curious child counterparts, spoke to a generation of condescended-to children, which is why they have such great staying power.


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Born to Norwegian immigrant parents, Dahl has been referred to as one of the “greatest storytellers for children of the 20th century.” Many of his stories are now ingrained in our imagination and in our cultural zeitgeist, whether it is through his stories, or the numerous adaptations his stories spawned.


His books have sold over 250 million copies worldwide, and his influence can be felt on many acclaimed directors today, like Tim Burton, Steven Spielberg, and Wes Anderson. From Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The BFG. Dahl has made himself a mainstay in the fantasy genre.

The best part of Dahl’s books is that he never talked down to children. In fact, his belief and complete joy in the secret intelligence of kids is a big reason why I clung onto him so tightly when I was in elementary school. 

The adults are always seen as dreary, evil, draconian, while the kids have the freedom to break free of the tyrannical structure built for them. What nuances Dahl lacks in realizing the adults, he makes up for in the great depth and nuance he gives to the children, and to the worlds they have access to. 

Now, here are 50 Dahl quotes to revel in the secret wisdom of everyday beauty you had when you were a kid. 

1. “A little magic can take you a long way.” 


2. “But there was one other thing that the grown-ups also knew, and it was this: that however small the chance might be of striking lucky, the chance is there. The chance had to be there.” —Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

3. “I will not pretend I wasn't petrified. I was. But mixed in with the awful fear was a glorious feeling of excitement. Most of the really exciting things we do in our lives scare us to death. They wouldn't be exciting if they didn't.” —Danny the Champion of the World

4. “Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world.” —Matilda

5. “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


6. “You’ll never get anywhere if you go about what-iffing like that.” —Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

7. “And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.” —The Minpins

8. “‘Meanings is not important,’ said the BFG. 'I cannot be right all the time. Quite often I is left instead of right.'” —The BFG

9. “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you.” —The Witches

10. “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


11. “Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.”

12. “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

13. “Don’t worry about the bits you can’t understand. Sit back and allow the words to wash around you, like music.” —Matilda

14. "When you're old enough to write a book for children, by then you'll have become a grown-up and have lost all your jokeyness. Unless you're an undeveloped adult and still have an enormous amount of childishness in you." —Matilda


15. “So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.” —Matilda

16. “We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.” —Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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17. “I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.” 


18. “We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it.” —Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

19. “The witching hour, somebody had once whispered to her, was a special moment in the middle of the night when every child and every grown-up was in a deep deep sleep, and all the dark things came out from hiding and had the world all to themselves.” —The BFG

20. “It's a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful.” —Matilda

21. “We all have our moments of brilliance and glory.” —Boy: Tales of Childhood


22. “When you grow up and have children of your own, do please remember something important: A stodgy parent is not fun at all! What a child wants — and DESERVES — is a parent who is SPARKY!” —Danny the Champion of the World

23. “There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination. Living there, you'll be free if you truly wish to be.” —Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

24. “The prime function of the children's book writer is to write a book that is so absorbing, exciting, funny, fast and beautiful that the child will fall in love with it. And that first love affair between the young child and the young book will lead hopefully to other loves for other books and when that happens the battle is probably won. The child will have found a crock of gold. He will also have gained something that will help to carry him most marvelously through the tangles of his later years.” 


25. “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.” —James and the Giant Peach

26. “The secret of life', he said, 'is to become very very good at somethin' that's very very 'ard to do.” —The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar

27. “You can write about anything for children as long as you've got humour.”


28. “So the music is saying something to them. It is sending a message. I do not think the human beans is knowing what that message is, but they is loving it just the same.” —The BFG

29. “Dreams is full of mystery and magic . . . . Do not try to understand them.” —The BFG

30. “I like enthusiasts of any kind.”


31. “You are still yourself in everything except your appearance. You've still got your own mind and your own brain and your own voice, and thank goodness for that.” —The Witches

32. “Never grow up...always down.” —George's Marvellous Medicine

33. “So shines a good deed in a weary world.” —Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

34. “I have a passion for teaching kids to become readers, to become comfortable with a book, not daunted. Books shouldn't be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage.”

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Jessica Xing is a writer that covers books, media, and culture.