Quotations about   children

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Depend upon it, as long as the church is living so much like the world, we cannot expect our children to be brought into the fold.

Dwight Lyman "D. L." Moody (1837-1899) American evangelist and publisher
God’s Good News, “Where Art Thou?” [Gen. 3:9] (1897)
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Added on 23-Oct-17 | Last updated 23-Oct-17
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Schoolmasters and parents exist to be grown out of.

John Wolfenden (1906-1985) British educator, author
In Sunday Times (London) (13 Jul 1958)
Added on 26-Aug-17 | Last updated 5-Sep-17
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Rupert had never forgiven his mother for continuing to have children once she had achieved the heights of human creation by giving birth to Rupert.

Kerry Greenwood (b. 1954) Australian author and lawyer
Death at Victoria Dock, ch. 8 (1992)
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Added on 24-Aug-17 | Last updated 24-Aug-17
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It kills you to see them grow up. But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn’t.

Barbara Kingsolver (b. 1955) American novelist, essayist, poet
Animal Dreams (1990)
Added on 3-Jul-17 | Last updated 3-Jul-17
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Children’s talent to endure stems from their ignorance of alternatives.

Maya Angelou (1928-2014) American poet, memoirist, activist [b. Marguerite Ann Johnson]
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, ch. 17 (1969)
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Your responsibility as a parent is not as great as you might imagine. You need not supply the world with the next conqueror of disease or a major movie star. If your child simply grows up to be someone who does not use the word “collectible” as a noun, you can consider yourself an unqualified success.

Fran Lebowitz (b. 1950) American journalist
Social Studies, “Parental Guidance” (1981)
Added on 22-May-17 | Last updated 22-May-17
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When one hears the argument that marriage should be indissoluble for the sake of children, one cannot help wondering whether the protagonist is really such a firm friend of childhood.

Suzanne La Follette (1893-1983) American journalist, author, feminist
(Attributed)
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Added on 13-Mar-17 | Last updated 13-Mar-17
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The most influential of all educational factors is the conversation in a child’s home.

William Temple (1881-1944) English Anglican archbishop, teacher, preacher
The Hope of a New World (1940)
Added on 1-Mar-17 | Last updated 1-Mar-17
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And perhaps, after all, it is better that the lad should break his neck than that you should break his spirit.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) Scottish essayist, novelist, poet
The Amateur Emigrant (1880)
Added on 7-Feb-17 | Last updated 7-Feb-17
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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 (1930-1999) American poet, singer-songwriter, cartoonist, children's author
“Listen To The Mustn’ts,” Where the Sidewalk Ends (1974)
Added on 31-Jan-17 | Last updated 31-Jan-17
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I am always for getting a boy forward in his learning; for that is a sure good. I would let him at first read any English book which happens to engage his attention; because you have done a great deal when you have brought him to have entertainment from a book. He’ll get better books afterwards.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
In James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson “16 April 1779” (1791)
Added on 26-Jan-17 | Last updated 26-Jan-17
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If you bungle raising your children I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1929-1994) First Lady of the United States (1961-1963), book editor, celebrity
Interview with Sander Vanocur, NBC News (1 Oct 1960)
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Added on 17-Jan-17 | Last updated 17-Jan-17
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I never hear parents exclaim impatiently, “Children, you must not make so much noise,” that I do not think how soon the time may come when those parents would give all the world, could they hear once more the ringing laughter which once so disturbed them.

Abbott Eliot "A. E." Kittredge (1834-1912) American clergyman and Presbyterian leader
(Attributed)

Quoted in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
Added on 3-Jan-17 | Last updated 3-Jan-17
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Of all the pestilences dire,
Including famine, flood, and fire;
By Satan and his imps rehearsed,
The neighbors’ children are the worst.

Stoddard King (1889-1933) American author and songwriter
“Philosophy for Parents”
Added on 6-Dec-16 | Last updated 6-Dec-16
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We must take note that the games of children are not games in their eyes; and we must regard these as their most serious actions.

Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) French essayist
Essays, Book 1, ch. 22 (1580-88)
Added on 29-Nov-16 | Last updated 29-Nov-16
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Children will imitate their fathers in their vices, seldom in their repentance.

Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) British Baptist preacher, author [Charles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon]
Spurgeon’s Sermons, 3rd Series, Sermon 21, “Manasseh” (1883)
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Added on 22-Nov-16 | Last updated 22-Nov-16
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A torn jacket is soon mended; but hard words bruise the heart of a child.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet
Drift-wood, “Table-Talk” (1857)
Added on 21-Nov-16 | Last updated 21-Nov-16
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The proper time to influence the character of a child is about a hundred years before he is born.

William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) English prelate [Dean Inge]
More Lay Thoughts of a Dean (1931)
Added on 8-Nov-16 | Last updated 8-Nov-16
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Don’t take up a man’s time talking about the smartness of your children; he wants to talk to you about the smartness of his children.

Edgar Watson "Ed" Howe (1853-1937) American journalist and author [E. W. Howe]
Country Town Sayings (1911)
Added on 1-Nov-16 | Last updated 1-Nov-16
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Delusions are often functional. A mother’s opinions about her children’s beauty, intelligence, goodness, et cetera ad nauseam, keep her from drowning them at birth.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Time Enough for Love (1973)
Added on 25-Oct-16 | Last updated 25-Oct-16
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Wherever there is authority, there is a natural inclination to disobedience.

haliburton-natural-inclination-to-disobedience-wist_info-quote

Thomas Chandler Haliburton (1796-1865) Canadian politician, judge, humorist
Sam Slick’s Wise Saws and Modern Instances (1853)
Added on 18-Oct-16 | Last updated 18-Oct-16
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You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.

Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) Lebanese-American poet, writer, painter [Gibran Khalil Gibran]
“On Children,” The Prophet (1923)
Added on 11-Oct-16 | Last updated 11-Oct-16
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There is not so much comfort in the having of children as there is sorrow in parting with them.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia (1732)
Added on 4-Oct-16 | Last updated 4-Oct-16
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If thou desire to see thy child virtuous, let him not see his father’s vices: thou canst not rebuke that in them, that they behold practiced in thee; till reason be ripe, examples direct more than precepts: such as thy behaviour is before thy children’s faces, such commonly is theirs behind their parents’ backs.

quarles-behind-their-parents-backs-wist_info-quote

Francis Quarles (1592-1644) English poet
Enchyridion, Century 3, cap. 18
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Added on 21-Sep-16 | Last updated 21-Sep-16
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The first half of our lives is ruined by our parents and the second half by our children.

Clarence Darrow (1857-1938) American lawyer
(Attributed)
Added on 20-Sep-16 | Last updated 20-Sep-16
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Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children in school? We teach them that two and two make four and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. And look at your body — what a wonder it is! Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the ways you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity
for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must work — we must all work — to make the world worthy of its children.

Pablo Casals (1876-1973) Spanish cellist, conductor, composer
Joys and Sorrows: Reflections (1970)
Added on 13-Sep-16 | Last updated 13-Sep-16
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The first duty towards children is to make them happy. If you have not made them happy, you have wronged them. No other good they may get can make up for that.

Charles Buxton (1823-1871) English brewer, philanthropist, writer, politician
Notes of Thought (1873)
Added on 6-Sep-16 | Last updated 6-Sep-16
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Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.

Brown - reflect the kind of care they get - wist_info quote

H. Jackson "Jack" Brown, Jr. (b. 1940) American writer
Life’s Instructions for Wisdom, Success, and Happiness (2001)
Added on 30-Aug-16 | Last updated 30-Aug-16
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In America there are two classes of travel — first class, and with children. Traveling with children corresponds roughly to traveling third class in Bulgaria.

Robert Benchley (1889-1945) American humorist
Pluck and Luck (1925)
Added on 23-Aug-16 | Last updated 23-Aug-16
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Has it ever occurred to you … that parents are nothing but overgrown kids until their children drag them into adulthood? Usually kicking and screaming?

King - kicking and screaming - wist_info quote

Stephen King (b. 1947) American author
Christine, Part 1, ch. 3 (1983)
Added on 17-Aug-16 | Last updated 17-Aug-16
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There isn’t a child who hasn’t gone out into the brave new world who eventually doesn’t return to the old homestead carrying a bundle of dirty clothes.

Art Buchwald (1925-2007) American humorist, columnist
Syndicated column (11 Sep 1983)
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Added on 13-Jun-16 | Last updated 13-Jun-16
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A child miseducated is a child lost.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) US President (1961-63)
State of the Union address (11 Jan 1962)

This quotation is usually attributed to Kennedy's 1963 State of the Union Address, but it does not show up in the formal text or the video recording.

It actually appears to be from his 1962 State of the Union address; while it does appear in the formal text or the audio recording, it does show up in a copy in Vital Speeches and Documents of the Day, Vol. 2 (1961). There are other small textual changes to the speech in that version, which makes me think that it is a press release copy which was delivered in a slightly different form (without the quotation) before Congress; this would explain why the reference became so popular, but is not found in the official version of the text.
Added on 1-Jun-16 | Last updated 1-Jun-16
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Notoriously insensitive to subtle shifts in mood, children will persist in discussing the color of a recently sighted cement mixer long after one’s interest in the topic has waned.

Fran Lebowitz (b. 1950) American journalist
Metropolitan Life (1978)
Added on 16-Mar-16 | Last updated 16-Mar-16
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The rules are only barriers to keep children from falling.

[Ces règles ne sont que des barrières pour empêcher les enfants de tomber.]

Germaine de Staël (1766-1817) Swiss-French writer, woman of letters, critic, salonist [Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, Madame de Staël, Madame Necker]
Germany [De l’Allemagne], Part 4, ch. 9 (1813)
Added on 8-Mar-16 | Last updated 8-Mar-16
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And why does this same God tell me how to raise my children when he had to drown his?

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
Some Mistakes of Moses, Sec. 18 “Dampness” (1879)
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Added on 2-Feb-16 | Last updated 2-Feb-16
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Little boys may be an intolerable nuisance; but when they are not there we regret them, we find ourselves homesick for their very intolerableness.

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) English novelist, essayist and critic
Beyond the Mexique Bay (1934)
Added on 13-Jan-16 | Last updated 13-Jan-16
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I am fond of children (except boys).

Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) English writer and mathematician [pseud. of Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson]
Letter to Kathleen Eschwege (24 Oct 1879)
Added on 30-Dec-15 | Last updated 30-Dec-15
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Don’t take up a man’s time talking about the smartness of your children; he wants to talk to you about the smartness of his children.

Edgar Watson "Ed" Howe (1853-1937) American journalist and author [E. W. Howe]
Country Town Sayings (1911)
Added on 23-Dec-15 | Last updated 23-Dec-15
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What you fear to believe, your children will believe.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
Vectors: Aphorisms and Ten-Second Essays, #340 (2001)
Added on 2-Oct-15 | Last updated 2-Oct-15
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Children are different — mentally, physically, spiritually, quantitatively, qualitatively; and furthermore, they’re all a little bit nuts.

Jean Kerr (1922-2003) American author and playwright [b. Bridget Jean Collins]
“Children Really are Not People,” Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, The Saturday Evening Post (27 Jul 1957)
Added on 31-Aug-15 | Last updated 31-Aug-15
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The real menace in dealing with a five-year-old is that in no time at all you begin to sound like a five-year-old.

Jean Kerr (1922-2003) American author and playwright [b. Bridget Jean Collins]
Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, “How to Get the Best of Your Children” (1957)
Added on 24-Aug-15 | Last updated 24-Aug-15
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Teachers need our active support and encouragement. They are doing one of the most necessary and exacting jobs in the land. They are developing our most precious national resource: our children, our future citizens.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
Speech, Centennial Celebration Banquet, National Education Association (4 Apr 1957)
Added on 9-Jul-15 | Last updated 9-Jul-15
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Girls … were allowed to play in the house … and boys were sent outdoors. … Boys ran around in the yard with toy guns going kksshh-kksshh, fighting wars for made-up reasons and arguing about who was dead, while girls stayed inside and played with dolls, creating complex family groups and learning how to solve problems through negotiation and roleplaying. Which gender is better equipped, on the whole, to live an adult life, would you guess?

Garrison Keillor (b. 1942) American entertainer, author
The Book of Guys (1993)
Added on 15-Jan-15 | Last updated 15-Jan-15
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I think there’s a lot of people out there who say we must not have horror in any form, we must not say scary things to children because it will make them evil and disturbed. … That offends me deeply, because the world is a scary and horrifying place, and everyone’s going to get old and die, if they’re that lucky. To set children up to think that everything is sunshine and roses is doing them a great disservice. Children need horror because there are things they don’t understand. It helps them to codify it if it is mythologized, if it’s put into the context of a story, whether the story has a happy ending or not. If it scares them and shows them a little bit of the dark side of the world that is there and always will be, it’s helping them out when they have to face it as adults.

Joss Whedon (b. 1964) American screenwriter, author, producer [Joseph Hill Whedon]
Interview with Michael Silverberg (NPR)
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Nothing you do for children is ever wasted. They seem not to notice us, hovering, averting our eyes, and they seldom offer thanks, but what we do for them is never wasted.

Garrison Keillor (b. 1942) American entertainer, author
Leaving Home? (1987)
Added on 23-Oct-14 | Last updated 23-Oct-14
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Selective ignorance, a cornerstone of child rearing. You don’t put kids under surveillance: it might frighten you. Parents should sit tall in the saddle and look upon their troops with a noble and benevolent and extremely nearsighted gaze.

Garrison Keillor (b. 1942) American entertainer, author
Leaving Home? (1987)
Added on 16-Oct-14 | Last updated 16-Oct-14
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It’s been my experience that when an office begins to look like a family tree, you’ll find worms tucked away snug and cheerful in most of the apples.

George Horace Lorimer (1867-1937) American journalist, author, magazine editor
Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son (1901)
Added on 22-Jul-14 | Last updated 15-Oct-15
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There’s more magic in a baby’s first giggle than in any firestorm a wizard can conjure up, and don’t let anyone tell you any different.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Fool Moon (2001)
Added on 15-Jul-14 | Last updated 15-Jul-14
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Kids. You gotta love them. I adore children. A little salt, a squeeze of lemon — perfect.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Storm Front (2000)
Added on 10-Jun-14 | Last updated 10-Jun-14
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If children had teachers for judgment and eloquence as they have for languages, if their memory was exercised less than their energy or their natural genius, if instead of deadening their vivacity of mind we tried to elevate the free scope and impulses of their souls, what might not result from a fine disposition? As it is, we forget that courage, or love of truth and glory are the virtues that matter most in youth; and our one endeavor is to subdue our children’s spirits, in order to teach them that dependence and suppleness are the first laws of success in life.

Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues (1715-1747) French moralist, essayist, soldier
Reflections and Maxims [Réflexions et maximes] (1746) [tr. Lee (1903)]
Added on 5-Dec-13 | Last updated 5-Dec-13
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It’s frightening to think that you mark your children merely by being yourself.

Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) French author, existentialist philosopher, feminist theorist
Les Belles Images, ch. 3 (1966) [tr. O’Brian (1968)]
Added on 27-Dec-11 | Last updated 12-Feb-18
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Croesus said to Cambyses: That peace was better than war; because in peace the sons did bury their fathers, but in wars the fathers did bury their sons.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
Apophthegms, #149 (1625)

See Herodotus.
Added on 10-Sep-10 | Last updated 28-Jul-17
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If being a parent consists often of passing along chunks of ourselves to unwitting — often unwilling — recipients, then books are, for me, one of the simplest and most sure-fire ways of doing that. I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.

Anna Quindlen (b. 1953) American journalist, novelist
“Public & Private; Enough Bookshelves,” op-ed, New York Times (7 Aug 1991)
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Added on 16-Apr-10 | Last updated 24-Jan-17
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It is far more important to love your wife than to love God, and I will tell you why. You cannot help him, but you can help her. You can fill her life with the perfume of perpetual joy. It is far more important that you love your children than that you love Jesus Christ. And why? If he is God you cannot help him, but you can plant a little flower of happiness in every footstep of the child, from the cradle until you die in that child’s arms. Let me tell you to-day it is far more important to build a home than to erect a church. The holiest temple beneath the stars is a home that love has built. And the holiest altar in all the wide world is the fireside around which gather father and mother and the sweet babes.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“What Must We Do to Be Saved?” Sec. 2 (1880)
Added on 25-Sep-08 | Last updated 4-Feb-16
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Sure it’s simple, writing for kids. Just as simple as bringing them up. All you do is take all the sex out, and use little short words, and little dumb ideas, and don’t be too scary and be sure there’s a happy ending. Right? Nothing to it. Write down. Right on. If you do all that you might even write Jonathan Livingstone Seagull and make twenty million dollars and have every adult in America reading your book.

But you won’t have every kid in America reading your book. They will look at it, with their clear, cold, beady little eyes, and they will put it down, and they will go away. Kids will devour vast amounts of garbage (and it is good for them) but they are not like adults; they have not yet learned to eat plastic.

Ursula K. Le Guin (b. 1929) American writer
“Dreams Must Explain Themselves” (1973)
Added on 19-Oct-07 | Last updated 20-Jun-16
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