Is it just me, or do children’s books seem somehow even more infused with wisdom now than they did when you were reading them knee-high to a grasshopper? I grew up in a house filled with, quite literally, thousands of books for me to read, and not once do I ever remember thinking about all those valuable life lessons from children’s books. What I do remember thinking about was whether or not Jack and Annie were going to survive whatever scrape their magic tree house had gotten them into now, and that if I nosed around other people’s business as much as Harriet did, I’d probably get into a lot of trouble with my mother.
Nonetheless, a quick trip back into the bookshelves of your childhood will reveal a whole new world of adventures you didn’t admire nearly enough as a child, lessons you couldn’t quite understand as a kid, and children’s book quotes that you’ll love as an adult. Winnie-the-Pooh really is actually much more profound than his street-smarts-less, honeypot-obsessed demeanor might otherwise suggest — really. And Matilda? She was definitely the Hermione Granger of her day (and don’t even try to pretend you’re not totally obsessed with Hermione Granger).
Ready to add some children’s book-inspired words of wisdom to your day? Here are 12 children’s book quotes that adults will love too.
1. “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
2. “Don't mess with anybody on a Monday. It's a bad, bad day.”
― Louise Fitzhugh, Harriet the Spy
3. “You must never feel badly about making mistakes ... as long as you take the trouble to learn from them.”
― Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
4. "Supposing I know of a flower that is absolutely unique, that is nowhere to be found except on my planet, and any minute that flower could accidentally be eaten up by a little lamb, isn't that important? If a person loves a flower that is the only one of its kind on all the millions and millions of stars, then gazing at the night sky is enough to make him happy. He says to himself 'My flower is out there somewhere.' But if the lamb eats the flower, then suddenly it's as if all the stars had stopped shining. Isn't that important?"
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
5. “It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like 'What about lunch?'”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
6. "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
7. "'It doesn’t happen all at once,' he said. 'You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.'"
— Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
8. “There is no water and still less soap. We have no city, but lots of hope.”
― Mary Pope Osborne, Earthquake in the Early Morning
9. "Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me ... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be."
― Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends
10. “‘We can fly! We can become butterflies! There’s nothing at the top and it doesn’t matter!’ As he heard his own message he realized how he had misread the instinct to get high. To get to the ‘top’ he must fly, not climb.”
― Trina Paulus, Hope for the Flowers
11. “I understand what you're saying, and your comments are valuable, but I'm gonna ignore your advice.”
― Roald Dahl, Fantastic Mr. Fox
12. “If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
13. “We all can dance when we find music that we love."
― Giles Andrege, Giraffes Can't Dance
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