How Matilda Influenced My Childhood as a Reader

Many people may not recognize the name Roald Dahl. For those of you who don’t know, Roland Dahl is the author of several very successful children’s books, some of which include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and Matilda. Many of Dahl’s books have been turned into highly popular movies.

Roald Dahl had an influence on my life through his books, particularly through the book Matilda.

When I was younger, it wasn’t the coolest thing to read by yourself instead of playing on the playground, or spending a whole Saturday stored inside your room turning page after page. While the majority of the time I didn’t care what other kids thought, I still questioned my favorite hobby from time to time.

I distinctively remember in 4th grade when we had to do a book report. My teacher was an avid reader herself and encouraged us strongly to read. I remember she had a huge wall lined with books that we could choose from. I read through many of the books that inhabited that wall. For this book report, though, we were asked to simply choose a book, read it, and make a poster about it. I walked over to the wall of books and for some reason chose the book Matilda.

Matilda became my favorite book after having completed that book report, and still is to this day. Matilda taught me many things, and as cliché as it sounds, they are things that have stuck with me to this day.

She taught me that:

  • It’s okay (and awesome) to be a reader, and that there’s strength to be found within books.
  • Reading can take you to other places, and pull you out of situations that aren’t always the greatest to be in.
  • Knowledge, and an eagerness to learn, can be used as a weapon against harsh realities of the world.Leah Meldrum
  • Sometimes adults aren’t the smartest, and what they say isn’t always the right thing.
  • To accept everyone, flaws and all.
  • It’s okay to be independent, even at a young age.

“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.”

– Roald Dahl, Matilda

If you haven’t read anything by Roald Dahl, I highly encourage you to do so. There’s a lesson for everyone to be found within his books. They’re cleverly written and undeniably witty, even for children. I’m sure fellow readers will find solace within Matilda, and even as an adult, you might learn a thing or two.

– Leah Meldrum


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