Tag archives: reading quotes

Friday, 22 January 2016

Wonderful observations on the power and importance of books and reading

St AugustineIt’s a horrible day so I’ve been cheering myself up with some great reflections on books and reading, appropriately illustrated by this picture, seen in King’s College London. (Check here for lots more inspiring quotes.)

I love this, from The History Boys by Alan Bennett:
“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.”

This is an extract from The Beckoning Silence by Joe Simpson:
“It occurred to me that the only reason I was here was because of reading; it was the reason I began to climb. There is something about reading which takes you beyond the constrictions of space and time, frees you from the limitations of social interaction and allows you to escape. Whoever you encounter within the pages of a book, whatever lives you vicariously live with them can affect you deeply – entertain you briefly, change your view of the world, open your eyes to a wholly different concept of living and the value of life. Books can be the immortality that some seek; thoughts and words left for future generations to hear from beyond the grave and awaken a memory of another’s life.”

Here’s Matt Haig:
“Reading isn’t important because it helps get you a job. It’s important because it gives you room to exist beyond the reality you’re given. Reading makes the world better. It is how humans merge. Empathy. Reading is love in action.”

I’ve quoted this from Kofi Annan before, but it’s worth any number of repetitions:
“Literacy is the bridge from misery to hope.”

Tanya Landman memorably said this when she won last year’s Carnegie Award:
“Someone who reads for pleasure is far less likely to be a bully or a bigot. They are far less likely to cause harm to others because they can imagine how it would feel. They are far less likely to collude with any kind of persecution. Instead, they are far more likely to do something about it.”

This is from philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer:
“Reading is equivalent to thinking with someone else’s head instead of with one’s own.”

Finally, James Baldwin:
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”


Friday, 18 December 2015

Inspiring quotes about books and reading

IMG_2613For my last blog before Christmas, here are some great quotes celebrating books and reading, illustrated by the wonderful library at Hampton Hargate Primary School, where I gave a course recently.

I have this belief that children become readers before they can read. They become hooked on books because they were read aloud to as a child. Jacqueline Wilson

I will defend the importance of bedtime stories to my last gasp. JK Rowling

There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

The desire to read has to be encouraged before the skill can be taught. Tanya Landman

Books give a child a lever with which to prise open the world. Amanda Craig

A book is a device to ignite the imagination. Alan Bennett

A childhood without books – that would be no childhood. That would be like being shut out from the enchanted place where you can go and find the rarest kind of joy. Astrid Lindgren

Without stories, we wouldn’t be human beings at all. Philip Pullman

Reading makes you think, that is what it’s for. Aidan Chambers

I wouldn’t be a songwriter if it wasn’t for the books I read as a kid. Taylor Swift

Great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood. John Green

People place so much value on thought, but feeling is as essential. I want to read books that make me laugh and cry and fear and hope and punch the air in triumph. I want a book to hug me or grab me by the scruff of my neck. I don’t even mind if it punches me in the gut. Because we are here to feel. Matt Haig

You’ll never be alone if you’ve got a book. Al Pacino

Read. Read anything… Just read. Neil Gaiman

Monday, 22 June 2015

The importance of picture books – articles, links, publications and some great quotes

I love children’s picture books and I am always delighted when I’m asked for courses about using them. Announcement day for the prestigious Greenaway Award for best illustrated children’s book seems like the ideal time draw attention to useful blogs, publications and websites about picture books. And I can’t resist including some powerful quotes, to demonstrate the enormous value of this fabulous and very diverse medium.

grillFirst of all though, a mention of the Greenaway winner. Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill is a fabulous non-fiction picture book with stunning illustrations. It was moving to hear Grill talk at the award ceremony about his struggles with reading as a child, and his desire to create books that are accessible for children who find reading difficult.

Levi Pinfold says ‘The joy of picture books is how much you soak in without realising it. Judging things by what you see has just as much meaning as fiction.’

I am a huge fan of Shaun Tan’s books, and I very much admire what he says about picture books: ‘For me, a successful picture book is one in which everything is presented to the reader as a speculative proposition, wrapped in invisible quotation marks, as if to say “what do you make of this?” ’ As Mary Roche says in her book listed below ‘There is no space here for passive listening.’

I loathe the view that picture books are just for young children. So does Mathew Tobin, and he’s written an excellent piece about their importance for all ages. Trevor Cairney’s blog Why older readers should read picture books is valuable too, as is Picture books for all on the British Council site. Anthony Browne tells us ‘Picture books are for everybody at any age, not books to be left behind as we grow older. The best ones leave a tantalising gap between the pictures and the words, a gap that is filled by the reader’s imagination.’ Here’s Shaun Tan again: ‘There is an appealing simplicity of form, which is not to say that it is necessarily simple: The restrained coupling of text and image can contain any level of poetic sophistication or complexity.’

All of these websites and books are very well worth a look:

  • Marianne Bradnock, Picture Books from 0 to 90, School Library Association, 2015, ISBN 9781903446850
  • Illustrated Books
  • Picture Book Den
  • Mary Roche, Developing Children’s Critical Thinking through Picture Books, Routledge, 2014, ISBN 9780415727723
  • Martin Salisbury, 100 Great Children’s Picturebooks, Lauence King, 2015, ISBN 9781780674087
  • Martin Salisbury and Morag Styles, Children’s Picturebooks: The Art of Visual Storytelling, Laurence King, 2012, ISBN 9781856697385
  • Talking Beyond the Page: Reading and Responding to Picture Books, ed. Janet Evans, Routledge, 2009, ISBN 9780415476966

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Quotes about books and reading for World Book Day

WBDI’ve done blogs full of quotes and books and reading before. Couldn’t resist adding some more for World Book Day.

A book is a dream that you hold in your hand. Neil Gaiman

A wise reader reads the book of genius not with his heart, not so much with his brain, but with his spine. It is there that occurs the telltale tingle. Vladimir Nabokov

A book is like a garden carried in the pocket. Chinese proverb

Hell is a bookless place. Patrick Ness

There are no days of our childhood lived so fully as those spent with a favourite book. Marcel Proust

You give them the materials, but it’s the readers who build that world in their own minds. Ursula Le Guin

Books are uniquely portable magic. Stephen King

I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book. J K Rowling

That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet. Jhumpa Lahiri

Finally, an extract from Matilda by Roald Dahl:

The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.


Monday, 12 January 2015

‘It’s ink that should flow, not blood’- quotes about the power and importance of the written word

‘The pen is mightier than the sword’, goes the famous saying. It was written by Edward Bulwer-Lytton in his play Cardinal Richelieu, and his main character goes on to say ‘Take away the sword; states can be saved without it!’

How potent all the images of people holding up pencils and pens in response to last week’s atrocities in Paris have been. I was also very moved by the words used by this young man, as reported in today’s Guardian.
Ahmed DossoThese quotes too are compelling reminders of the vital importance of reading and writing:

‘Our books and our pens are the most powerful weapons.’ Malala Yousafzai

‘Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.’ Neil Gaiman

‘Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.’ Frederick Douglas

‘Reading for pleasure is not a luxury: it’s medicine for the soul.’ Nicola Morgan