Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Most Memorable Passages from Children's Literature

The list of memorable passages is posted here.

You can submit more of your most memorable passages from children's literature in the comments to this post.


Erin said...

As Mo had said: writing stories is a kind of magic, too.
-Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Little Willow said...

But it's no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then. - Alice in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll

featherbee said...

"Some pig"

Charlotte's Web

Little Willow said...

More from Carroll:

Everything's got a moral, if only you can find it. - The Duchess

The Duchess: Be what you would seem to be -- or, if you'd like it put more simply -- Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.
Alice: I think I should understand that better, if I had it written down: but I can't quite follow it as you say it.

Alice had learnt several things of this sort in her lessons in the schoolroom, and though this was not a VERY good opportunity for showing off her knowledge, as there was no one to listen to her, still it was good practice to say it over.


Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. - The White Queen

Little Willow said...


That was the thing. You just never knew. Forever was so many different things. It was always changing, it was what everything was really all about. It was twenty minutes, or a hundred years, or just the instant, or any instant I wished would last and last. But there was only one truth about forever that really mattered, and that was this: it was happening. Right then, as I ran with Wes into that bright sun, and every moment afterwards. Look, there. Now. Now. Now. - The last lines

JUST LISTEN by Sarah Dessen

So many versions of just one memory, an yet none of them were right or wrong. Instead, they were all pieces. Only when fitted together, edge to edge, could they even begin to tell the whole story. - Page 236

It wasn't my job to save anyone, anyway. Especially since I hadn't even been able to save myself. - Page 250

Little Willow said...

BODY BAGS by Christopher Golden

It was a beautiful day to grow up.

SINS OF THE FATHER by Christopher Golden

A girl looking for emotion could starve in L.A.

It seemed like every month that went by, every day older, life became more complicated. The rule for growing up seemed to be that no choice, no decision worth making was without some cost.

And even the most pleasant of dreams could be painful under the light of the morning sun.

Little Willow said...

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Therein lay the problem.
Life had altered in the wildest possible way, but it was imperative that they act as if nothing at all had happened.
Imagine smiling after a slap in the face. Then think of doing it twenty-four hours a day. - Page 211

He must have longed for it so much. He must have loved her so incredibly hard. - Page 303

They'd been standing like that for thirty seconds of forever. - Page 396

Inside, she said all of it. - Page 512

Books and pages and a happy place. - Page 520

Don't make me happy. Please, don't fill me up and let me think that something good can come of any of this. - Page 521

But a few other visions were there as well.
Come with me and I'll tell you a story.
I'll show you something. - Page 544

Little Willow said...

UPSTREAM by Melissa Lion

And here are the things I know: Time will never be what my watch says. Time passes too fast when you just want it to stop, and time passes too slow when all you wish for is a lifetime in a minute. It'll just never be what it really is, hands moving on a clock. - Page 41


SWOLLEN by Melissa Lion

"You could fill a book with the things you haven't seen." (Farouk)
"Books are already filled with them," I said, "And posters and television shows." (Sam) - Page 130

I counted in fours because if I stopped, the tears in my eyes would spill over. - Page 138

And so I waited in the library and touched the spines of the books I should have read long ago to make myself smart, to keep up with him. - Page 161

I turned the light off and listened in the silence for the voices of people I had loved within these walls. - Page 181


It's not home. It's people in a house. - WILD ROSES by Deb Caletti

She kicked her heels like a little girl and waited for something to happen. - THE NINE LIVES OF CHLOE KING: The Stolen by Celia Thomson

But I guess you don't see the planets when you're staring at the sun. You just get blindsided. - Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

I wonder if the ducks have missed me. - THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS by Tara Altebrando

"Courage is fear holding out for just a few minutes longer." - Ms. Anderson to Carrie, Quit It by Marcia Byalick

Give me a glass slipper and I'd twist my ankle and shatter the shoe. - Light Years by Tammar Stein, Page 70

That's the trouble with loving a wild thing. You're always left watching the door. (Paragraph break) But you also get kind of used to it. - East by Edith Pattou, Page 12

. . . But when a house is empty, then it's the house's turn. It holds all the emptiness and all the fullness of the years it has known, the footprints of all the people who have ever walked its rooms gather themselves. The air is expectant, waiting. Hushed. Hush. Listen to the house. What is it telling you? - All Rivers Flow to the Sea by Alison McGhee, Page 115

You think you know your possibilities.
Then other people come into your life.
And suddenly there are so many more.
- The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan, Page 207

In the library, Tiny is like a secret princess. - The Queen of Cool by Cecil Castellucci, Page 112

The contentedness of the cat brought a smile to my face. - AutumnQuest by Terie Garrison, Page 46

We got to pick at the last meeting. The ones who wanted to be Good got to stand in one corner of the room, the ones who wanted to be Evil in the other. The ones who wanted to be Good & Popular went to the third corner, and the ones who wanted to be Useful in the fourth. - You & You & You by Per Nilsson, Page 133

See, I think it's important to know someone's story. - Penny From Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm, Page 54

Erin said...

I was born singing. Most babies cry. I sang an aria.
~Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

Erin said...

In Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Jo is describing her castle in the air:

"I'd have a stable full of Arabian steeds, rooms piled with books, and I'd write out of a magic inkstand, so that my works should be as famous as Laurie's music. I want to do something splendid before I go into my castle - something heroic or wonderful that won't be forgotten after I'm dead. I don't know what, but I'm on the watch for it, and mean to astonish you all some day. I think I shall write books, and get rich and famous: that would suit me, so that is my favorite dream."

Erin said...

"Get out of my way, you cakesniffers!" said a rude, violent and filthy little girl.
~Carmelita Spats, The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket

There are few sights sadder than a ruined book.
~The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket

A new experience can be extremely pleasurable or extremely irritable, or somewhere in between, and you never know until you try it out.
~The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket

Little Willow said...

I used to think there were words for everything, in poems and books and plays that famous people had written, but there aren't. Words can help you to remember what it feels like to do things, but it's doing the things in the first place that counts. I don't want Words, Words, Words anymore, I want Life, Life, Life -- actual real reality. - The Actual Real Reality of Jennifer James by Gillian Shields, Page 349

alvina said...

I wasn't sure which category this belonged in, but I settled on here. This is from ZEN SHORTS by Jon Muth:

"I'm sorry for arriving unannounced," said the bear. "The wind carried my umbrella all the way from my backyard to your backyard. I thought I would retreive it before it became a nuisance." He spoke with a slight panda accent.

Michael introduced himself. Then Addy introduced Karl because Karl was shy around bears he didn't know.

And this is how Addy, Michael, and Karl met Stillwater.

Erin said...

Here are two quotes from WRITING MAGIC by Gail Carson Levine:

There is no such thing as a perfect book or a perfect story.

I expect to be learning to write till I die.

Erin said...

"The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning."

And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at least they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.

~The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis

MotherReader said...

Okay, when I think of memorable, I think of a passage that I can actually remember, accurately. Now, I admit to having a terrible book-memory, but one passage I can quote, without a doubt, is from Junie B. Jones. It starts the beginning of most of her books (can't remember -hah- when it stops showing up)

"My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all."

Elaine Magliaro said...

From CHARLOTTE'S WEB by E. B. White. This is the last paragraph of the book:

"Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. Although he loved her children and grandchildren dearly, none of the new spiders ever quite took her place in his heart. She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both."

I think this book is in a class by itself! After I finished reading CHARLOTTE'S WEB to my second graders every spring, we all tried to hold back our tears. We were sad about Charlotte's death--and so sad that we had come to the end of this wonderful book.

Erin said...

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.”
~Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

“There are all kinds of courage,” said Dumbledore, smiling. “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”
~Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

“The truth.” Dumbledore sighed. “It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.”
~Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

“Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn’t realize that love as powerful as your mother’s for you leaves its own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign . . . to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever.”
~Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

"That's what Hermione does. When in doubt, go to the library."
~Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling

Erin said...

“My fingers tingle to grasp a pen — my brain teems with plots. I’ve a score of fascinating dream characters I want to write about. Oh, if there only were not such a chasm between seeing a thing and getting it down on paper!”
~Emily Climbs by L. M. Montgomery

“To die will be an awfully big adventure.”
~Peter Pan by James M. Barrie

“What do these children do without storybooks?” Naftali asked.

And Reb Zebulun replied: “They have to make do. Storybooks aren’t bread. You can live without them.”

“I couldn’t live without them,” Naftali said.
~Naftali and the Storyteller and His Horse, Sus by Isaac Bashevis Singer

She wished she was a famous writer already, and didn’t have to go through the unfamous stage.
~Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

On every hand were what looked like thousands of books, ranged on shelves, stacks and stacks of them.

“Think of all those that we haven’t read yet!” said Abbie.

“Maybe some of them have magic inside, too!” said Fredericka.

“All of them, I should think,” said Barnaby, “one way or another.”
~Seven Day Magic by Edward Eager

“I’m sure Aslan would have, if you’d asked him,” said Fledge.

“Wouldn’t he know without being asked?” said Polly.

“I’ve no doubt he would,” said the Horse. “But I’ve a sort of idea he likes to be asked.”
~The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis

And then, I pulled out my notebook and wrote, and wrote, and wrote . . . The words moved like wheels across the paper. I didn’t count pages or minutes. Mom tapped on my door, and only then did I notice the sun had gone down and I was writing nearly in the dark . . . Where had I been?

“You’ve been sitting in here forever.” My mother flicked on the light switch and squinted at me. Had I? It was like magic, like Rip Van Winkle, who fell asleep and found himself a hundred years older when he opened his eyes.
~Sahara Special by Esme Raji Codell

Whatever he began to write seeped out of his head like ink running on damp paper. Where were the words he wanted? Why did they stay as dead as dry leaves?
~Inkspell by Cornelia Funke

“Oh, Sara. It is like a story.”

“It is a story . . . everything is a story — I am a story. Miss Minchin is a story.”
~The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

“Because on some level, even though it never turns out to be true, and even though I should know better, I still expect life to be like the movies.”
~The Boy Book by E. Lockhart

Grown-ups were always worrying about money, she knew that, but what did you need if you could eat and sit in front of the fire and read books? That was what Silver would do with her money.
~Tanglewreck by Jeanette Winterson

A beginning and an ending, though satisfying in their own individual ways, are simply that. A start and a conclusion, nothing more. It’s what comes in between that does the work, that builds the life and tells the story.
~Golden by Cameron Dokey

Erin said...

“Any writer who really has the fire within him will find time to write, Julie,” said Uncle Haskell with the air of a man who knew that fire well. “What about Coleridge and Stevenson, what about dozens of others, sick in body and mind, suffering acute pain, but still finding the time and energy to write?”
~Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt

Margaret gripped herself in front.

“Do you know, I feel odd here. Do you think I’m going to be sick?”

Mrs. Beamish laughed.

“Not you. Just a bit of nerves that is. Put one foot on stage and it will all be gone.”

What Mrs. Beamish said proved quite true. The moment Margaret walked onto the stage all the funny feeling was gone.
~Thursday’s Child by Noel Streatfeild

It is difficult for anyone to be a success in Shakespeare because there are so many people who love all Shakespeare’s work and have strong ideas as to how the different parts should be played.
~Theater Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

Odd as it may seem, there is a satisfaction unlike any other in creating an imaginary world and in pretending to be someone you are not.
~Shakespeare’s Scribe by Gary Blackwood

When I got well into a part, my awareness of everything outside the boundaries of the stage faded away. The only thing real to me was the world of the play. It was like slipping into a two-hour dream.
~Shakespeare’s Scribe by Gary Blackwood

“The Germans are dangerous,” he said seriously. “They can do terrible things to you and to all of us, because they have all the weapons. We have nothing.”

Charles stopped pacing and looked down at Dirk Jan.

“Yes, you have,” he said quietly. “You have right on your side. That’s the biggest weapon.”
~The Winged Watchman by Hilda von Stockum

Nancy said...

"Wendy, Wendy, when you are sleeping in your silly bed you might be flying about with me saying funny things to the stars."

From Peter Pan

Little Willow said...

An idea for another contest - Best closing lines! One of my FAVORITE passages from a book happens to be the very end of it, and I always want to tell people about it, but fear I'll spoil the book.

Also: I love the last page of The Great Gatsby so, so much.

And then: Today, I finished this book, and I wanted to share this line for this contest, but it's the last line of the book and I didn't want to spoil anyone either...

"Once upon a time," she said, "there was a princess
who knew she was meant for more than twirling her
tresses and swooning." -- The Runaway Princess by Kate
Coombs, Page 379


Little Willow said...

Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.

-- Lewis Carroll, published in TtLG

Little Willow said...

"The trouble with him was that he was without imagination. He was quick and alert in the things of life, but only in the things, and not in the significances."

- "To Build a Fire" by Jack London

Slow and steady wins the race.
- The Hare and the Tortoise by Aesop

"It must be inconvenient to be made of flesh," said the Scarecrow thoughtfully, "for you must sleep, and eat and drink. However, you have brains, and it is worth a lot of bother to be able to think properly."
- The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Erin said...

To add to Little Willow's idea: best closing lines AND best opening lines!

Anonymous said...

My choice, which just happens to be an opening line (and one of my all-time favorite opening lines from children's literature):

From I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith: "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink."

Erin said...

"I have the most wonderful library. Everyone falls in love with it. It's like a field of poppies - no one ever wants to leave."
~Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters by Lesley M. M. Blume

Erin said...

She was born Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, and she did not open her eyes for three days.

~Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

Sherry said...

“To comprehend the difference between sentimentality and sentiment is the very kernel of wisdom, the true center of any worthwhile tale told.”
~Cromwell’s Boy - by Erik Christian Haurgaard

by Zlata Filipovic
“Mommy and Daddy often say: ‘Post nubila, Phoebus,’ which is Latin, Mimmy, and it means: After the clouds comes the sun.”
~Zlata’s Diary - A Child’s Life in Sarajevo

Little Willow said...


" . . . Which would you rather be if you had the
choice--divinely beautiful or dazzlingly clever or
angelically good?"


Gilbert Blythe wasn't used to putting himself out to make a girl
look at him and meeting with failure. She SHOULD look at him, that
red-haired Shirley girl with the little pointed chin and the big
eyes that weren't like the eyes of any other girl in Avonlea school.


Avonlea school always enjoyed a scene. This was an especially enjoyable one.


Anne felt that life was really not worth living without puffed sleeves.


" . . . Were we really there half an hour? It seemed just a few minutes. But, you see, we have five years' lost conversations to catch up with, Marilla."

Little Willow said...

. . . and thus it will go on, so long as children are gay and innocent and heartless. - PETER PAN by J.M. Barrie

Little Willow said...

"You see, Wendy, when the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies." - Peter Pan

Little Willow said...


"The sun sets in the west (just about everyone knows that), but Sunset Towers faced east. Strange!" - Page 1

"Who were these people, these specially selected tenants? They were mothers and fathers and children. A dressmaker, a secretary, an inventor, a doctor, a judge. And, oh yes, one was a bookie, one was a burglar, one was a bomber, and one was a mistake. Barney Northrup had rented one of the apartments to the wrong person." - Page 6


". . . And how is your pretty sister, the bomber?"

Turtle never knew he knew. - Page 214

Turtle turned to the window. The sun was rising out of Lake Michigan. It was tomorrow. It was the Fourth of July. - Page 216

"Hi there, Alice," T. R. Wexler said. "Ready for a game of chess?" - Page 216


Erin said...

From YELLOW STAR by Jennifer Roy:

"For how long?" I ask Papa,
trying to sound brave.

"Until . . .
Until . . ."
Papa pauses and looks at the ceiling
as if the answer to my question is above us.

Finally he tells me he just doesn't know the answer,
that these days we cannot plan the future
but instead must go day to day,
trusting that there will be an end to this situation,
that a better life is ahead.

Little Willow said...

"Don't go for normal," Ari suggests. "Go for happy. Go for what want it to be instead of settling for what it is." - Are We There Yet? by David Levithan, Page 192

Little Willow said...

Stay With Me by Garret Freymann-Weyr:

For me, they are one more thing that belongs in someone else's story. - Pages 170-171

This ring was my sister's, and if once I wished she'd given it to me, I'll wear it forever precisely because she didn't. - Page 304

Elaine Magliaro said...

From THE GIVER by Lois Lowry:

"Suddenly he was aware with certainty and joy that below, ahead, they were waiting for him; and that they were waiting, too, for the baby. For the first time, he heard something that he knew to be music. He heard people singing.
Behind him, across vast distances of space and time, from the place he had left, he thought he heard music too. But perhaps it was only an echo."

Elaine Magliaro said...

From THE WIZARD OF OZ by L. Frank Baum:

"And oh, Aunt Em! I'm so glad to be at home again!"

Nancy said...

From Runart:

runart said...
Harry Potter and the Prisoner Of Azkaban. the phrase needed to close the Marauder's Map - "Mischief managed." Genius.

Viagra Online said...

I'm not an expert, but still I will give my favorite one. "Alice in Wonderland" When she falls down the hole in the ground. I love that part.

Heather said...

"There's more to life than living in a hole" - wind in the willows
"It's the life of the mind that matters most." -hole in my life