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16 Quotes About Writing for Children

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1. Maurice Sendak

From his final television appearance on The Colbert Report: "I don't write for children. I write. And somebody says, that's for children."

2. Beverly Cleary

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In an interview with the University of Washington: "As a child, I disliked books in which children learned to be 'better' children."

3. Dr. Seuss

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On where he got his ideas: "I get all my ideas in Switzerland near the Forka Pass. There is a little town called Gletch, and two thousand feet up above Gletch there is a smaller hamlet called Über Gletch. I go there on the fourth of August every summer to get my cuckoo clock fixed. While the cuckoo is in the hospital, I wander around and talk to the people in the streets. They are very strange people, and I get my ideas from them."

4. H.A. Rey

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On finding ideas for Curious George: “I know what I liked as a child, and I don’t do any book that I, as a child, wouldn’t have liked.”

5. Eric Carle

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In an interview with Reading Rockets: "[Children's books] are deceptively simple. I admit that. But for me, all my life I try to simplify things. As a child in school, things were very hard for me to understand often, and I developed a knack, I think. I developed a process to simplify things so I would understand them."

6. Steven Kellogg 

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On why he became an author and illustrator"When I was a kid, I was very aware of the fact that a lot of the adults in my neighborhood hated their jobs ... Knowing that one day I would be an adult, I really didn't want to lose the fun of childhood by going into this dark period where every day started off with resignation and gloom or worse. And so I was determined to get to know myself very well and choose a job that I thought would be just right for me."

7. Margaret Wise Brown

MargaretWiseBrown.com

On the importance of “goodnight noises everywhere”: “In this modern world where activity is stressed almost to the point of mania, quietness as a childhood need is too often overlooked. Yet a child's need for quietness is the same today as it has always been—it may even be greater—for quietness is an essential part of all awareness. In quiet times and sleepy times a child can dwell in thoughts of his own, and in songs and stories of his own.” 

8. Roald Dahl

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On his early career, when he wrote novels for adults: “I’m probably more pleased with my children’s books than with my adult short stories. Children’s books are harder to write. It’s tougher to keep a child interested because a child doesn’t have the concentration of an adult. The child knows the television is in the next room. It’s tough to hold a child, but it’s a lovely thing to try to do.” 

9. Judy Blume 

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About censorship: “Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won't have as much censorship because we won't have as much fear.”

10. Lloyd Alexander 

On choosing a profession"The old expression 'Poets are born, not made' is absolutely true in my case. Sadly, I very quickly understood that I was not born to be a poet, and I couldn't manage to make myself into one. I could only hope that maybe, with luck, I might've been born to write for young people."

11. Stan and Jan Berenstain

Museum of Play

In an interview for Scholastic: "Children are very good about finding mistakes. We get probably thousands of letters, and some of them find mistakes in our books. As some readers know, Sister Bear always wears a pink hairbow. In one book we forgot the hairbow, and we got a letter about it. That proves to us that the children are really paying attention, and that's good." 

12. Tomie dePaola

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Talking to children in a literacy promotion video series: "Reading is important because, if you can read, you can learn anything about everything and everything about anything.”

13. Madeleine L'Engle 

On writing for the right audience: “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”

14. Astrid Lindgren 

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On the difference between adult and young readers: “I don’t want to write for adults. I want to write for readers who can perform miracles. Only children perform miracles when they read.”

15. Tim Wynne-Jones

On what kids' books are really about: “It’s the ability to bring events and characters to a resolution that draws me to writing, especially writing for children. I don’t want to ever be didactic, but if there’s something I do want to say, it’s that you can bring things around. You can make a change. Adult novels are about letting go. Children’s novels are about getting a grip.”

16. Mark Haddon

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In a piece for The Guardian: "Writing for children is bloody difficult; books for children are as complex as their adult counterparts, and they should therefore be accorded the same respect."

See Also: 10 Dr. Seuss Quotes About His Work

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New 'Eye Language' Lets Paralyzed People Communicate More Easily
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0

The invention of sign language proved you don't need to vocalize to use complex language face to face. Now, a group of designers has shown that you don't even need control of your hands: Their new type of language for paralyzed people relies entirely on the eyes.

As AdAge reports, "Blink to Speak" was created by the design agency TBWA/India for the NeuroGen Brain & Spine Institute and the Asha Ek Hope Foundation. The language takes advantage of one of the few motor functions many paralyzed people have at their disposal: eye movement. Designers had a limited number of moves to work with—looking up, down, left, or right; closing one or both eyes—but they figured out how to use these building blocks to create a sophisticated way to get information across. The final product consists of eight alphabets and messages like "get doctor" and "entertainment" meant to facilitate communication between patients and caregivers.

Inside of a language book.
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

This isn't the only tool that allows paralyzed people to "speak" through facial movements, but unlike most other options currently available, Blink to Speak doesn't require any expensive technology. The project's potential impact on the lives of people with paralysis earned it the Health Grand Prix for Good at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity earlier in June.

The groups behind Blink to Speak have produced thousands of print copies of the language guide and have made it available online as an ebook. To learn the language yourself or share it with someone you know, you can download it for free here.

[h/t AdAge]

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How Bats Protect Rare Books at This Portuguese Library
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Visit the Joanina Library at the University of Coimbra in Portugal at night and you might think the building has a bat problem. It's true that common pipistrelle bats live there, occupying the space behind the bookshelves by day and swooping beneath the arched ceilings and in and out of windows once the sun goes down, but they're not a problem. As Smithsonian reports, the bats play a vital role in preserving the institution's manuscripts, so librarians are in no hurry to get rid of them.

The bats that live in the library don't damage the books and, because they're nocturnal, they usually don't bother the human guests. The much bigger danger to the collection is the insect population. Many bug species are known to gnaw on paper, which could be disastrous for the library's rare items that date from before the 19th century. The bats act as a natural form of pest control: At night, they feast on the insects that would otherwise feast on library books.

The Joanina Library is famous for being one of the most architecturally stunning libraries on earth. It was constructed before 1725, but when exactly the bats arrived is unknown. Librarians can say for sure they've been flapping around the halls since at least the 1800s.

Though bats have no reason to go after the materials, there is one threat they pose to the interior: falling feces. Librarians protect against this by covering their 18th-century tables with fabric made from animal skin at night and cleaning the floors of guano every morning.

[h/t Smithsonian]

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