Lessons for Grown-ups from Children’s Books

What the Dormouse SaidWe’re pleased to turn today’s post over to our Senior Editor, Amy Gash. Read below as she talks about how she dreamed up the idea for What the Dormouse Said!

I love quotations. I collect them. I share them with friends. I leave them on the desk of my 17-year-old son, Nick, when I think he needs some words of wisdom but not necessarily directly from me. When I was a stay-at-home mother—this was before I worked at Algonquin—reading stories to a then-young Nick, I was surprised to notice that there were lines of great beauty in a many of these children’s books. I would stick the best ones up on the fridge and, when it was pretty much covered in quotations, I realized there were enough to fill a book.

Since What the Dormouse Said: Lessons for Grown-ups from Children’s Books was published, I’ve heard from so many adults who passionately remember their favorite books from childhood. Some of us even continue to read children’s books—and not only to our kids! Reading children’s books as an adult is a different experience; I’m always struck by how much relevance these books can have to my grown-up life. It might be true that everything we need to know we could have learned in kindergarten, right there in the books we were reading, but I was slow and didn’t realize it until 30 years later!

We’d love to know some of your favorite children’s books. You might be interested in taking a look back and see if any particular lines resonate with you. If they do, please share them for an Algonquin compendium. I’ll start us off with a few of my absolute favorite quotations, well worth heeding at any age.

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”—The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“So many things are possible just as long as you don’t know they’re impossible.”—The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster

“You don’t need tickets/To listen to crickets”—Insectlopedia, Douglas Florian.

“If you go around thinking you’re being cheated, life becomes very unpleasant.”—Bambi’s Children, Felix Salten



8 Comments On This Post:

December 16, 2009
2:44 pm
Sumayyah says...

“Because a person’s a person, no matter how small.” – Horton Hears a Who, Dr. Seuss

December 16, 2009
2:49 pm
uberVU - social comments says...

Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Twitter by AlgonquinBooks: What’s your fave quote from a children’s book? http://tinyurl.com/yfhemwd #favequote…

December 16, 2009
3:14 pm
admin says...

I can’t remember specific quotes, but some of my fave children books were Blueberries for Sal, Goodnight Moon, Are You My Mother, and anything Dr. Seuss or Berenstein Bears! All of which had great underlying messages.

December 16, 2009
4:18 pm
bethia says...

The small girl smiles. One eyelid flickers.
She whips a pistol from her knickers.

from Roald Dahl’s Little Red Riding Hood in Revolting Rhymes. Not sure why I love that line so much, probably because it seemed to naughty and unexpected. Revolting Rhymes are really wonderful, especially this one http://oldpoetry.com/opoem/61673-Roald-Dahl-Little-Red-Riding-Hood-and-the-Wolf.

January 5, 2010
11:02 am
Planet Mom says...

What comes to mind, almost instantly, is a sinfully delicious snippet from one of my personal faves, Where the Wild Things Are: “…they roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws till Max said, ‘BE STILL!'”

I suppose it’s because deep down we long to connect with a bit of that-which-is-unbridled–if only for a few moments, completely immersed within Sendak’s read-aloud classic.

January 12, 2010
1:12 pm
childrens books says...

childrens books…

September 26, 2011
12:43 pm
Sylvia Nosworthy says...

My favorite comment is from A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver by E. L. Konigsburg. It is describing Eleanor of Aquitaine: “Indecision wears a person out. Eleanor was never weary.”

January 25, 2013
12:03 pm
Carolyn Hart - Storytime Standouts says...

What the Dormouse Said is a delight. I have it on my bookshelf and can always find a thought-provoking ‘lesson’ inside – even though I am a grown-up now.

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