In celebration of International Literacy Day, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite children’s book quotes and the lessons I’ve learned from them.
First, though, I want to talk about why literacy is so important to me. Everyone has causes that stir great passion in them. For me, it’s literacy. When I was a child, I lived in a development where there weren’t many kids around during the week. It was primarily a “weekender” development. As far as year-round residents went, there were only a few kids and they were all much older. I spent a lot of time reading. A LOT! I began devouring books at an early age and never stopped.
What literacy means to me
To me, reading is more than just a way to learn new information. It transports us to whole new worlds that we never even dreamed of. It gives us a chance to live thousands of lives within our own single life. When life gets too stressful, it’s a good escape from our own pressures of reality. A humorous book can bring us laughter and joy in a dark moment. A heart-wrenching tale teaches us empathy and compassion for others. A really amazing book can even bridge the gap between generations and socio-economic groups.
Think about that for a moment. Think of all the books that we read with our kids that we also loved as children ourselves. Think about the books that we read as adults that kids across the world were also reading! Harry Potter, for example, was beloved by both the young and old, the rich and poor, all races and ethnic groups. It was loved by practically the whole world!
What else can you think of that brings people of all walks of life together more than an amazing book? A TV show? Not really. While I do love my TV, very few shows resonate across all walks of life the way Harry Potter did. Perhaps a tragic event unites part of humanity but mostly in a very sad and stressful way. Books, though, they bring us together in joy and happiness!
What I learned from children’s books
I’ve read thousands of books in my life, yet it is the lessons I learned from authors like A.A. Milne, Dr. Seuss, E.B. White and other children’s book authors.
Peter Pan taught me that believing you can do something is the most important aspect of accomplishing anything. If we don’t believe in ourselves, we set ourselves up for failure right from the start. When those moments of doubt creep in, I remind myself that if I think I can’t do something, then I’ve already sealed my fate.
To most people, Eeyore seems like a grumpy, depressed donkey that seriously needs a good dose of meds. To me, though, he was actually curiously insightful and-dare I say it- oddly optimistic in his pessimism. Eeyore felt alone a lot of the time, and while that is sad, he did teach much about self-sufficiency! The above quote taught me that figuring stuff out for yourself is often much better than letting someone figure it out for you!
Of course, you can’t talk about Winnie the Pooh without mentioning this most famous Pooh quote! Christopher Robin said this to Pooh when he (Christopher) was starting school and wouldn’t be able to spend as much time with Pooh Bear. I’ve said these very words to my son when he is scared or feeling down.
Charlotte’s Web taught me a tremendous lesson about finding friendship in the most unlikely places. Where, aside from the magical world of a children’s book, can a little girl, a rat, a pig and a spider be united by such a common goal.
Dr. Seuss taught me to be myself, make smart choices and forge my own destiny. Through his simple rhymes, I learned about how important it is to protect the planet (The Lorax), be a little silly sometimes (Fox in Sox), try new things (Green Eggs and Ham) and not let strangers in the house (Cat in the Hat). Okay, so I don’t think that was the purpose of the Cat in the Hat, but seriously, has anyone read that book to their child and NOT said “by the way, we don’t let strangers in the house no matter what kind of cool hat they’re wearing” or something to that effect?
Reading has taken me on many journeys throughout my life and taught me so many valuable lessons. Literacy enriches our lives in so many ways. I am so grateful to the teachers who taught me to read, to my grandparents and mom for encouraging me to read anything I wanted and to all the amazing authors out there who continue to give me new journeys on which to embark!
I’d love to hear from you! What lessons did you learn from your favorite children’s book?
My favorite book of all time is one that I read when I was 7. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. That book taught me about giving yourself up for true love and that you don’t need materialistic items to have a wonderful and fulfilling life.
That’s a great one too! I have to add that to my list to get from the library to read to my son. I don’t think he’s read it yet.
great books you’re quoting! I actually love the Peter Pan’s one! you’re making me to read children books again now haha
Peter Pan had so many great quotes, it was hard to choose just one. I’m glad I inspired you to read children’s books!
Charlie and the Chocolate factory has many lessons including not being greedy, not being a glutton etc. Each kid is there to teach a lesson.
Love that one! My son hasn’t read the book yet, but he’s really into the movie. Now that he’s getting older, I will introduce him to the book too.
I love your passion for literacy. I taught language arts before I had my kids and I loved passing on that love of reading to my students.
Thank you! It must be so rewarding as a teacher to see a child get excited about a story. My son always shares the great tales he read in school. I think that’s his favorite part of the day.
We adore books here too! I love reading aloud to my children because then we have a shared experience that crops up in our conversations afterward. A favorite for us:
“I feel my strength coming back to me. Oh, children, catch me if you can!” spoken by Aslan in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
It’s our favorite way to get playful and start an active game. Of course it gets pretty crazy afterward because I have eight children…LOL.
That is fantastic! Reading aloud really can open up whole new worlds of play. I love to ask my son to imagine what happened after the story ends. It gets his mind thinking!
Yet another reason to read to your children! There are so many wonderful lessons hidden inside children’s books. Thanks for sharing your favorites!
Thank you! I think the list of great reasons to read to your children is pretty much as limitless as the number of children’s books out there!
Great literary quotes! As a book blogger, this speaks to me!
-Rebecca @ Love at First Book
Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed them!
I spent most of my childhood reading! I still adore the Curious George books, and I remember feeling very grown-up the first time I read a “chapter book” (“The Boxcar Children”).
Curious George was my favorite book to read in school. I loved the adventures of that silly monkey and the man in the yellow hat!
Love children’s books. It’s one of the reasons why I love George MacDonald as an author because he “I write, not for children, but for the child-like, whether they be of five, or fifty, or seventy-five.” He I think understood that there’s a child in all of us and I think his books reflect that.
I’ve never read his books. I’ll definitely have to check them out. Thanks for the recommendation!
Children’s literature is really inspirational! I love Winnie the Pooh, there are so many great quotes from the whole series. thanks for sharing!
Stopping by from the Blogelina Commentathon!
Winnie the Pooh is one of my favorite sources for inspirational quotes. I have the Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet somewhere, filled with their wisdom.
You mention some of my favorites here! Recently I’ve been reading Winnie the Pooh and Beatrix Potter to my little one. The Beatrix Potter stories are almost all about lessons, but definitely lessons of a different time. They don’t always translate well!
Oh, I can’t believe I forgot Beatrix Potter! Love her stories. I grew up with that bunny!!
I’m a mom and a teacher. I read to my children each day and miss it if I don’t do it. I can’t imagine a world without books. Reading, and the love of reading, has instilled in me a passion, a fire, and a sense of wonderment and imagination second to none. I am grateful to pass it on.
Yet, daily I see kids who struggle with literacy. It frankly blows my mind. Reading with my boys is such a staple in our house. I encourage reading at home more than any other activity, but sadly I know it’s not happening.
Reading your post though reinvigorates my drive to spread the word and passion!
I love that you also have such passion for literacy! I started reading to my son before he was even born. He had an extensive library before he could even walk. Books are just an assumed part of our lives, like eating and sleeping. I’m glad I reinvigorated your drive to spread the word!
The book i remember the most is The Little Prince and the drawing of the python that has just eaten an elephant. It has taught me that it’s important not to lose our creative thinking when we grow up. What a great post – I loved it!
I think children’s books are still my favorite although I also enjoy reading chapter books along with my middle school student. Alice in Wonderland always spoke to me.
Alice in Wonderland is my all-time favorite! I wrote a 10 page paper in high school on all the hidden symbolism in it. I think it has something that everyone can relate to. We all know what it’s like to feel out of place sometimes.
I’m a book nerd/hoarder. I was collecting children’s books for my son before we even found out I was pregnant and his collection now is outrageous. I just hope he appreciates them as he gets older.
I’m also a quote junkie. I love this post. I especially love the quote by Eeyore that you included.
I’m a book hoarder and quote junkie too! It’s great that your son has such an extensive library. Mine does too and he loves it. We definitely never get bored!
Winnie the Pooh has always been a favourite of mine. My aunt bought me a copy when I was little and I had it read over and over until i could read it for myself over and over and over. There is a lot of wisdom in those pages! (Hidden amongst lots of cuteness!)
Winnie the Pooh is full of great wisdom! The characters all offer such different insights, they could probably fill up a whole class of the Philosophy of Pooh!
We used to read all the time. It is one of the most important activities you can do with a child. Even when they can read, read together. I took a class on “Kiddie Lit” in college once, it was more like a philosophy course than philosophy was.
Great Quotes! These are things we never grow too old to hear.
I agree with you that even when they’re old enough to read on their own, it’s still important to read together. My son and I take turns reading to each other before bedtime.
Those are some excellent quotes. Love them!
I LOVE the quote from Dr. Seuss. Those were some of the favs in our home to read to my son. He loved for you to read to him. He would bring his little Golden books to people who came to the house. Wonderful post and the ability to read from day one is so important in our society. Reading will always be part of our lives to learn and discover more.
I need to get back to reading my own books and not just to my kids!
Where the Wild Things are may be my favorite of all the books I read as a kid. I read it to my littles at least weekly!
I can’t wait to have kids so I can read to them! My mom bought me a ton of books growing up – I have about 10 boxes stored at her house still!
Children’s literature is the BEST. I love reading to my kids, because I LOVE the books. Stopping by from the comment-a-thon…. Emily
Ha! I always think when I’m watching kids shows or reading my daughters books that every adult needs to read them too! Such good lessons in them – I wish every adult read kids books daily! 🙂
Me too! One of my favorite parts about having a kid is that no one looks at me funny when I read kids books anymore. Not that it stopped me before! 🙂
I love all of these, especially the Winnie-the-Pooh ones. I learned a lot about what being selfless means by reading The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I think that is one of the best books to teach children about giving out of love and not demanding something in return.
What a great collection of quotes and memories. These are great reminders about what is important in life.
I love the peter pan one! Thanks for sharing. My kids love to read and I think it helps them immensely in school. Great post!
Thank you! I really do think the more they read at home, the better they’ll do in school.
What great quotes from some great books. We love books of all kinds in our house.
I liked the Velveteen Rabbit story, when the rabbit looked so worn because he was so well loved and that was more important than looks!
I loved that one as I got older, but as a child it freaked me out, lol! I had a teddy bear, and I was always afraid that if I got sick, they’d throw him out!
Some of my favorite quotes come from Winnie the Pooh & Friends. Those books are incredibly uplifting and I still, to this day, find them inspirational.
Love this post! I learned to read when I was only four, thanks to my mother’s love of reading. She read to us on a daily basis and loved to share (still loves to share) the books she reads with me. Now as a mom myself, I am hoping to instill the same passion for reading that I have in my kids. We read a few books every night.
One of my favorite lines from Horton Hears a Who: “A person’s a person, no matter how small”. Another from the great Dr.: “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
Dr. Seuss had so many amazing quotes, it’s hard to pick my favorite. I do love that one, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” I wish you success in instilling your passion in your children! I think when they see how much you love reading, they’ll love it too.
After having kids, I’ve found that children’s books are great ways to teach. These are fantastic quotes! You should link to the books in which they appear.
Thanks for the suggestion, Jim! I didn’t even think of that!
I didn’t read my favorite children’s book until I was an adult. Anne of Green Gables. She taught me that a little girl can overcome a lot. It has special meaning too because our daughter is adopted and like Marilla says she is like my own flesh and blood.
I read that one much later in life too! I also read all the Little House books as an adult.
This is an original post Nicole. I am not a big reader and wasn’t as a kid. I can’t really think of a specific book that marked me that much 🙂
Hello from one book hoarder to another. I’m an avid reader, although now-a-days it’s audio books as my children make is tres difficult to sit and read. These quotes – I love them all!!!!
When I was little I liked the Berenstein bear books. They always had a cute lesson in each story. Love the quotes you used.
As a kid I read and reread Koko’s Kitten and anything Helen Keller related. I was a huge reader and still am. I would get in trouble from reading too much. I can’t think of a quote that really stands out to me, but I can think of a whole library worth of books that impacted me in some way.
I agree that reading is SO important. It got me through several very difficult times as a child. I love your passion!