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Life Lessons From 11 Beloved Children’s Books

It’s easy for caregivers to breeze through the careful prose of children’s books with hardly a thought. But as every parent knows, young children love repetition, and the irresistible plea of a child asking to hear their favorite story, again, compels us to read the same pages over and over until the words become almost an incantation. In the unending retelling of the story, something interesting happens: Select lines emerge as particularly poignant and beautiful, growing more impactful through the years and etching themselves into our memories. Sometimes it even feels like the stories help us to tell our children things when we can’t find the words, or the kids don’t want to hear us.

These are the verses we recall years later, when the children have grown too big for bedtime stories, when a twinge of nostalgia creeps in for cardboard covers and bright illustrations. They are the words the kids remember too, as they get older and think back on how the sparkly Rainbow Fish learned to share or how the wise old Lorax spoke for the trees.

Here, we have collected 11 of our favorite quotes from children’s books. From The Little Prince to Mary Poppins, these classic stories remind us to have fun, be kind, and notice the beauty in the world around us.

It’s the time that you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important.
— “The Little Prince,” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Sometimes when you're surrounded by dirt… you're a better witness for what's beautiful.
— “Last Stop on Market Street,” by Matt de la Pena

The more he gave away, the more delighted he became.
— “The Rainbow Fish,” by Marcus Pfister

Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog.
— “Matilda,” by Roald Dahl

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.
— “The Lorax,” by Dr. Seuss

There's no place like home.
— “The Wizard of Oz,” by L. Frank Baum

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.
— “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” by Shel Silverstein

There is nothing sweeter in this sad world than the sound of someone you love calling your name.
— “The Tale of Despereaux,” by Kate DiCamillo

In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and the job’s a game.
— “Mary Poppins,” by P.L. Travers

You often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons than you do by being right for the wrong reasons.
— “The Phantom Tollbooth,” by Norton Juster

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
— “The Lion and the Mouse,” by Aesop

Photo credit: sigmund/ Unsplash

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About the Author
April Dávila
April Dávila is a lover of words. Her debut novel "142 Ostriches" was released in 2020.
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