The Children's Book Quote of the Day

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Going to believe September 16, 2013

Filed under: Chapter Books,Classics — Kristi @ 9:25 pm
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I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe the best does. 

(from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery)

 

 

 

Why do I love the Little House books? January 24, 2012

On the smooth, cream-colored page, in Ma’s fine handwriting, Laura read:

If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,

Five things observe with care,

To whom you speak,

Of whom you speak,

And how, and when, and where

Your loving mother

C L Ingalls

(from Little Town On The Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder)

I received a comment a week or so ago asking why I love the Laura Ingalls Wilder books so much? I assume this question is mostly in response to the volume of quotes I have used from the Little House series in the last year. Typically, on this blog, you will see groups of quotes from whatever I’m reading at the time. So, in re-reading the series last year, I found many notable quotes and used them during that time. But the question is still an interesting one. Why do any of us love the books we end up loving? I thought about it for a while and I have some answers for this particular series.

First, I love them because my Mumsie gave me the boxed set for my eighth birthday. That was my favorite-ever birthday party: my mom and aunts set up little stations all through our house for my friends and me. We had a make-up station, hair station, and dress up station. She had my great-grandmothers beautiful old dresses (from the days when ladies had many occasions to dress to the nines) shortened for us to play in. We had the dresses, the gloves, the hair-spray smell, the ridiculousness of make-up on eight-year-old faces. Then we had petite fores and punch and other fancy things on my mother’s good china. There was a lace table-cloth on the table. I remember I had asked for a basketball for that birthday because my PE Teacher scolded that I needed lots of practice at home (I couldn’t dare tell her that in our two-sister home there were no basketballs to practice with and DON’T get me started on the PE methods in public education). I did get a basketball–just what I asked for and didn’t want. But I also got the boxed set of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. I didn’t ask for them. I didn’t even know they existed. I had never heard of the television show based on them, we had not yet read one of them in school, but Mumsie told me she loved them when she was growing up. “Growing up.” That’s how she said it. Not, “I loved them when I was a little girl,” but “I loved them when I was growing up.” It made me feel like she thought I was growing up.

I read them straight through. In class later that year we read The Long Winter and I felt great that I had my own copy at home, so much better than the textbook version. By The Shores of Silver Lake was the first book that ever made me cry, when Laura became Mary’s eyes in a world that had gone dark, when she learned to sacrifice her own selfish desires to work toward sending Mary to college. For years after that, if I needed a good cry and couldn’t get the tears to come, I would pull Silver Lake down from the shelf and read a few chapters about Mary’s blindness. Silly, I know, but true. So I love the books for the memories first. Like my grandmother, I loved them when I was growing up.

And, I love them as a grown-up for a new set of reasons. I love them because they offer a gentle wisdom and a simple lifestyle in a crazy, commercial, speedy world. They take me back to the basics. They chastise me for always taking the easy way or the convenient way. They remind me to live well within my means, to not chase after everything my friends and neighbors have but to live with contentment. The Ingalls and Wilder families show beautiful examples of courage under pressure, grace in the face of tragedy, acceptance of hardships, determination, pluck, relationships, and humor. Sometimes I can hardly believe what they went through. I love the history of this country told through the eyes of a girl growing up in it. I love the romance between Charles and Caroline Ingalls and the romance between Laura and Almonzo Wilder.

In re-reading the series as an adult, I have been challenged to do things for myself that I might not have a few years ago. I am sewing my baby girl’s bedding and some other things for her nursery. I am venturing in to the world of cloth diapers (something I seriously thought was insane a couple of years ago when I had my son). I am making my own household products if I can’t find them at the rock bottom price I want to pay: laundry detergent, all-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, etc. I make gifts for people I love instead of shopping around to buy them something. I feel like I’m living more abundantly and counting my blessings more readily. When something is hard for me, I think how easy my modern life is compared to the pioneer life and I am grateful.

I’m grateful that I don’t have to depend on the weather for the very food to feed my family. I’m grateful to be having babies in the twenty-first century when my 8lb 4oz breech baby could be delivered by c-section safely, when I can get a glimpse of my daughter in an ultrasound video to know she’s growing well. I’m grateful for electricity and technology, for community and all the books I want.

I love the Little House books because they remind me of growing up, because they challenge me as a grown-up to live more simply, to do without what I don’t need and to appreciate the luxuries of living when i do, and because they’re just flat good books that have stood the test of time.

 

 

An awfully big adventure January 18, 2012

Filed under: Chapter Books,Classics — Kristi @ 9:33 am
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Next moment he was standing erect on the rock again, with that smile on his face and a drum beating within him. It was saying, “To die will be an awfully big adventure.” (from Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie)

 

Now and then November 23, 2011

Filed under: Chapter Books,Classics,Young Adult — Kristi @ 3:01 pm
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One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live for ever and ever and ever. (from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett)

When my son is snuggled up with his soft, blonde head on my chest, breathing in and out in that deep infant-like sleep, I am quite sure.

When I can rest my head on the strong shoulder of my husband at the end of a difficult day and know that he knows me, that he knows where the knots in my back are to massage away, which kind of humor will cheer me, where to get the right french fries, I am quite sure.

When I walk outside and hear the fall leaves rustle across the lawn, still green beneath their golden hues, and feel the fresh air on my face and breathe in the scent of dozens of homes preparing for a holiday feast, i am quite sure.

When I think of the baby growing in my womb, the miracle that is the formation of fingerprints and eyelids and organs that will serve him all his life, and when I consider the wonder that I was formed the same way, I am quite sure.

One of the strange things about living in the world is that one sees so many temporal things. All things within my vision will change. It is hard to often remember that I will outlive it all. I believe the world in its glory will pass away like a season, and yet I shall live for ever and ever and ever.

 

Might as well deal September 22, 2011

Filed under: Chapter Books,Classics — Kristi @ 10:37 pm
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Well, it would do me no good to run away. There were other bears in the woods. I might meet one any time. I mights well deal with this one as with another. (from Little House In The Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder)

*****Perhaps I should rename this blog to The Children’s Book Quote of Some Days or of The Days I am Not Sick and Exhausted from Pregnancy. I truly thank you for not giving up. Please keep reading and I will really try to post more regularly. For tonight, this is all I’ve got. ***** –Kristi

 

So lucky September 16, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kristi @ 4:59 pm
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“You’re a fortunate guy. And you ought to be shouting, “How lucky am I!” (from Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? by Dr. Seuss)

A week or so ago, Benjamin and I were headed home and I remember being in something of a hurry, though I can’t now remember why. We had to cross the train tracks and just as we approached them, the barriers came down indicating that a train was on its way. I rolled my eyes and craned my neck, trying to see how long this inconvenient train was going to be. Just as I was wondering why a train always seems to come just when I’m in a rush, the offending locomotive came blasting down the tracks in front of us, whistle blowing loudly. And that’s when the two-year-old boy in my back seat exclaimed, “Whoa! A train! We’re so lucky!!!”

 

Getting published is like chasing goats… November 9, 2010

Filed under: Chapter Books,Classics — Kristi @ 11:11 pm
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She would not even face the thought that presently she would have to go out in front of everybody and dance; even thinking of it made her inside feel as though she had swallowed an ice too quickly. (from Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield)

I have avoided “going out in front of everybody and dancing” pretty much all my life. And I don’t just mean actual dancing, although I have been known to excuse myself from that plenty of times as well. I mean just performing in general, putting myself out there for any and all to see, drawing attention to myself in any way. The feeling of swallowing ice too quickly captures the cold fear in a way that makes me feel it just to read it. What a great phrase!

I am learning, through writers’ conferences, books, blogs, etc. that becoming a published author requires a good deal of putting oneself out there. Oh, my. A few years ago, an elementary school I worked for put on a stunt to encourage reading among the children. The children read books and then take short tests over the content (to prove they’ve read them) and get points awarded per book read. At the end of the school year there is some type of award for the child with the most points, the top reader. This particular year, the faculty calculated the points and narrowed the results down to the top ten readers in the school. The top ten were then brought out in front of the whole school and released into a pen full of baby goats. The children chased down the goats as the crowd cheered and when they caught one, took a ribbon off of its neck with an envelope revealing their prize amount. I have never been more baffled.

I just kept thinking, as a person who surely would have been in the top ten readers of my own elementary school as a child, I would have rather died than chase down a goat in front of the whole school! But it seems that getting published is a lot like that: an introverted reader type is required to chase down a goat and wrestle a ribbon off of its neck. The envelope she wrestles off the goat may contain a rejection letter. Then she must chase down the next goat in the pen and so on until finally her hard work is rewarded. There is a certain degree of self-promotion involved in the process that is extremely unsettling to me.

All of this to say, next Monday I will put myself out there in a big way by inviting about fifty teachers to read three of my picture book manuscripts and critique them. Even thinking of it makes my inside feel as though I have swallowed ice too quickly. It is almost as horrifying as dancing in public, or chasing a goat in front of five hundred peers. Almost. Think of me, and maybe offer me a hot chocolate if you see me that day.