35 Best Children’s Book Quotes: the New, Old, Beloved and Hilarious
March 16, 2021
While some say there is truth in wine, we have another motto at The Bump: There is truth—so much truth!—in children’s book quotes. From Anne of Green Gables’ truth bombs to Albus Dumbledore’s words of wisdom for Harry Potter, the best children’s book quotes are honest, timeless and often very funny.
Which is how we divided them here: The Bump has listed our favorite children’s book quotes, classic children’s book quotes, funny children’s book quotes and children’s book quotes from five recently published books that you may have yet to discover, but which we suspect will be modern-day classics to you soon enough. From Winnie the Pooh’s sweetest questions to letters of grief from a boy named Dustin’s angry box of crayons, scroll to see the very best children’s quotes.
So, how did we determine our favorite children’s book quotes? We looked at some of our recent favorites, ones we remembered from when we were growing up that still ring true to us today. They may be the most famous children’s book quotes or simply, in our humble opinion, the best children’s book quotes, but they’ve all nailed it—that thing called “life.” Read the top children’s book quotes here!
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose."
—Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: Dr. Seuss’ masterpiece is pure inspiration—“Oh, the places you’ll go!” It’s perfect for the little dreamer and the new graduate.
“Finally the Rainbow Fish has only one shining scale left. His most prized possessions had been given away, yet he was very happy.”
—The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: The Rainbow Fish teaches kids that beauty is only skin deep, and that nothing feels better than giving to friends.
“But then I realized, what do they really know? This is MY idea, I thought. No one knows it like I do. And it’s okay if it’s different, and weird, and maybe a little crazy.”
—What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: Yamada’s award-winning picture book, brilliantly illustrated by Mae Besom, encourages kids to think outside the box. It’s okay to be different; in fact, it’s the best!
“I love you right up to the moon—and back.”
—Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: This little bunny spends the whole book asking his mom just how much she loves him. The answer? Well, as you can see above, too perfect.
“On the night you were born, the moon smiled with such wonder that the stars peeked in to see you and the night wind whispered, ‘Life will never be the same.’”
—On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: On the Night You Were Born is a modern-day classic because it celebrates the importance of each and every child, and the impact their arrival has on everything—especially their parents.
“He’s the strongest man in the world.” “Man, yes,” said Pippi, “But I am the strongest girl in the world, remember that.”
—Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: The story of a fearless redhead who believes, first and foremost, in the power of herself? Pippi would have been first in line at the Women’s March.
“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
—The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: A classic lesson from a classic book. What more do you need?
“Let the wild rumpus start!”
—Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: Sendak’s classic tale of a boy hungry for adventure—but in the end, more hungry for the comfort and love of home. But our favorite quote? The one in the middle of the mayhem! (After all, doesn’t it perfectly sum up your little monster’s MO?)
“‘Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’ 'You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. 'That in itself is a tremendous thing.’”
—Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: A tale of friendship between a spider named Charlotte and Wilbur the pig teaches about the unstoppable circle of life, but highlights the importance of each and every relationship…
“Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child, Listen to the DON’TS Listen to the SHOULDN’TS The IMPOSSIBLES, the WONT’S Listen to the NEVER HAVES Then listen close to me— Anything can happen, child, ANYTHING can be.”
—Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: One of many poems in SIlverstein’s collection, “Listen to the Mustn’ts” teaches a crucial lesson: No matter how many times you hear that something can’t and shouldn’t be done, you have to find your own path—and be fearless.
From Peter Pan to Alice in Wonderland, the classics are classics for a reason: They are beautifully told with messages—often the best quotes from children’s books—that are truly timeless. While the children’s book quotes in Roald Dahl’s novels often highlight the fight against injustice in the world, The Wizard of Oz’s children’s books quotes, especially the most famous one, reminds us that “there’s no place like home.” And quotes from The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh? All about friendship.
But Winnie and Peter Pan remind us of something else, too: That all children grow up. (Well, except Peter, of course.) While that might be a large thought for little minds to fully realize, it will ring all too true for adults, which is the real reason the most famous children’s books quotes are adored: They are whimsical, nostalgic and filled with life’s biggest truths.
"The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it. The reason birds can fly and we can’t is simply that they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings.”
—The Little White Bird by J. M. Barrie
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: The boy who never grows up certainly has a lot of profound things to say about the process. This one’s for the parents looking to hold on to their children’s innocence just a little bit longer.
“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
—Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: Carroll’s story of limitless imagination—or is it reality?—is filled with famous children’s book quotes, but we especially love this one for encouraging both its leading lady and its readers to embrace the crazy and believe in the impossible.
"‘Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. 'It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’”
—The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: One of the many lessons of The Velveteen Rabbit? To a child, there’s nothing more real than her favorite stuffed animal. He lives in her heart, and that makes all the difference.
“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
—The Twits by Roald Dahl
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: Dahl is the king of serving up realness—have you read Matilda? But this dose of realness is trademark Dahl: an important, inspiring lesson with just the right touch of humor.
“There’s no place like home.”
—The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: Do we even need to explain? While many quotes on this list talk about spreading your wings and flying as far as you can go, this Oz line, the most famous of children’s book quotes, champions the love that you can only find at home.
“Then, suddenly again, Christopher Robin, who was still looking at the world, with his chin in his hand, called out ‘Pooh!’ ‘Yes?’ said Pooh. ‘When I’m—when—Pooh!’ ‘Yes, Christopher Robin?’ ‘I’m not going to do Nothing any more.’ ‘Never again?’ ‘Well, not so much. They don’t let you.’ Pooh waited for him to go on, but he was silent again. ‘Yes, Christopher Robin?’ said Pooh helpfully. ‘Pooh, when I’m—you know—when I’m not doing Nothing, will you come up here sometimes?’ ‘Just me?’ ‘Yes, Pooh.’ ‘Will you be here too?’ ‘Yes Pooh, I will be really. I promise I will be Pooh.’ ‘That’s good,’ said Pooh. ‘Pooh, promise you won’t forget about me, ever. Not even when I’m a hundred.’ Pooh thought for a little. ‘How old shall I be then?’ "Ninety-nine.’ Pooh nodded. ‘I promise,’ he said. Still with his eyes on the world Christopher Robin put out a hand and felt Pooh’s paw. ‘Pooh,’ said Christopher Robin earnestly, ‘if I—if I’m not quite—’ he stopped and tried again. ‘Pooh, whatever happens, you will understand, won’t you?’ ‘Understand what?’ ‘Oh, nothing.’ He laughed and jumped to his feet. ‘Come on!’ ‘Where?’ said Pooh. ‘Anywhere.’ said Christopher Robin.
So, they went off together. But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.”
—The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: Kids love knowing that Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh will always be friends. Parents? Grab that tissue box.
“But no one except Lucy knew that as it circled the mast it had whispered to her, ‘Courage, dear heart.’”
—Voyage of Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: The entire Chronicles of Narnia series is beloved, filled with some of the best children’s book quotes—period. But this one, focusing on youngest daughter Lucy, is particularly relatable: Even when we are frightened—and we all get frightened—we must face fear with bravery.
“Well, maybe it started that way. As a dream, but doesn’t everything? Those buildings. These lights. This whole city. Somebody had to dream about it first. And maybe that is what I did. I dreamed about coming here, but then I did it.”
—James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: James’ journey is one of resilience—and that resilience is rewarded in the end, with a dream come true. What better message can there be than that?
“I shall find out thousands and thousands of things!”
—The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: After realizing that he can indeed walk, and that he was simply afraid of what was beyond his door, Colin is determined to learn anything and everything. It’s as FDR once said: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
“Frog said, ‘I wrote “Dear Toad, I am glad that you are my best friend. Your best friend, Frog.”’ ‘Oh,’ said Toad, ‘that makes a very good letter.’ Then Frog and Toad went out onto the front porch to wait for the mail. They sat there, feeling happy together.”
—Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: Often topping “favorite children’s book quotes” lists, this Frog and Toad exchange is a reflection of the purest of friendships. And what are we without our best friends?
We all know laughter is the best medicine! You might be surprised to see a Harry Potter quote on this list as opposed to the classic, but honestly, is HP not a treasure trove of funny children’s book quotes? This list also includes funny children’s book quotes from Olivia (the pig), Eloise (the Plaza child) and Alexander (of No Good, Very Bad Day fame). There’s also a Lemony Snicket quote, because no list of funny children’s book quotes is complete with the king of sarcasm himself.
“But the three siblings were not born yesterday. Violet was born more than fifteen years before this particular Wednesday, and Klaus was born approximately two years after that, and even Sunny who had just passed out of babyhood, was not born yesterday. Neither were you, unless of course I am wrong, in which case, welcome to the world, little baby, and congratulations on learning to read so early in life.”
—The Penultimate Peril (from the series A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: Snicket balances all of the Unfortunate Events of his novels by serving them up with a healthy dose of humor. The children’s book quote above? Filled with perfect detail and sarcasm to spare? Classic Snicket.
“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.”
—Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: While the beloved Harry Potter series could easily appear on any of these lists for its countless inspiring children’s book quotes, we placed it here to honor Rowling’s constant wit, which is evident even in the series’ very first line (above!).
“I like people who make me like them. Saves me so much trouble forcing myself to like them.”
—Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: While Anne of Green Gables is certainly a classic, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more hilarious—and heartfelt—heroine than Anne Shirley of Prince Edward Island, the amazing dramatic orphan with a brilliant mind and a penchant for puffed sleeves.
“My bath was too hot, I got soap in my eyes, my marble went down the drain, and I had to wear my railroad-train pajamas. I hate my railroad-train pajamas.”
—Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: Because no child has ever articulated with such accuracy what it feels like to have a raging Case of the Mondays.
“It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful.”
—Matilda by Roald Dahl
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: Dahl plays to the adults just as much as the kids, and has an endless stream of the best children’s book quotes to show for it—including this truth. (Because yes, Mommy’s Little Angel is probably no saint.)
“When they’ve finished reading, Olivia’s mother gives her a kiss and says, ‘You know, you really wear me out. But I love you anyway.’
And Olivia gives her a kiss back and says, ‘I love you anyway too.’”
—Olivia by Ian Falconer
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: Is there anything as wonderful (and pee-your-pants funny) in this world as a child’s lack of self-awareness?
“M. Dior designed a dress for me And it is absolutely chic Although I would have preferred a tassel or two Pas de quoi
Here’s what I am A clothes horse, which is cheval”
—Eloise by Kay Thompson
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: She may still be in her single digits, but Eloise runs The Plaza, walking her turtle down the halls while dressed in Dior and inadvertently terrorizing the hotel’s workers. And her French? One hundred percent better than yours.
“George and Harold were usually responsible kids. Whenever anything bad happened, George and Harold were usually responsible.”
—The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: This opener tells you basically everything you need to know about this politically incorrect romp of a children’s book. It’s about two friends who hypnotize their awful principal into believing that he’s the star of their superhero series—starring a superhero who prefers to work in his underpants. Ridiculous? Yes. But there’s humor for both the big and little kids in this one.
Bonus Quote: “POLICE STATION Back in 15 minutes Please don’t commit any crimes 'till we return. Thank you.”
“C Clunky Clarissa, all clingy and clueless,
left California and now she is shoeless.”
—The Alphabet From A to Y With Bonus Letter Z! by Steve Martin and Roz Chast
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: Read the title? See the author name? Yep, this cleverly illustrated book of silly tongue twisters is one heck of a good time.
“The cats nestle close to their kittens, The lambs have lain down with the sheep, You’re cozy and warm in your bed my dear, Now go the f—k to sleep.”
—Go the F—k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach (and famously narrated by Samuel L. Jackson)
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: Okay, we admit, you might not actually read this one to your kids. But we couldn’t make a list of funny children’s book quotes and not include this bad boy! (And let’s be honest, you know you wish you could read this to your kids!)
Of course, while we love our classic children’s books, we also love discovering new children’s books, too, which is why we included five of the best new children’s books to love, complete with their best children’s quotes. We have one from the genius Neil Gaiman, another that shows just how cool STEM jobs can be, and yet another entirely narrated by crayons. Enjoy!
“‘I can talk,’ said Cinnamon. ‘I think I always could.’ ‘Then why didn’t you?’ asked her mother. And Cinnamon said, ‘Why not? Because I had nothing to say.’ ‘And now?’ asked her father. ‘And now the tiger has told me of the jungle, of the chattering of the monkeys and the smell of the dawn and the taste of the moonlight and the noise a lakeful of flamingos makes when it takes to the air,’ she said. ‘And what I have to say is this: I am going with the tiger.’”
—Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: Gaiman tells the tale of an Indian princess with pearls for eyes who refuses to speak until she has something to say—thanks to a tiger. It’s a fascinating (and visually arresting) lesson on the importance of words—the right words.
“When Harry thought about Winnie and the voyage across the ocean, his head said, ‘I shouldn’t.’ His head said, ‘I can’t.’ But his heart made up his mind.”
—Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: Finding Winnie tells the real-life tale of Winnipeg the Bear—aka “Winnie the Pooh”—and how, thanks to Harry Colebourn, the vet who found her, she went from becoming the mascot of the Royal Army to a mainstay at the London Zoo, where she met the real-life Christopher Robin. The touching and beautifully illustrated tale is told by Colebourn’s great-granddaughter.
All right, LISTEN.
I love that I’m your favorite crayon for grapes, dragons, and wizards’ hats, but it makes me crazy that so much of my gorgeous color goes outside the lines. If you DON’T START coloring inside the lines soon…I’m going to COMPLETELY LOSE IT.
Your very neat friend, Purple Crayon”
—The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: This is just one of the many letters Duncan’s rioting crayons send to him before heading to school one day—and each letter is wittier than the last.
“I know you’ll be kind… and clever… and bold. And the bigger your heart, the more it will hold. When nights are black and when days are gray—you’ll be brave and be bright so no shadows can stay. And become anybody that you’d like to be. And then I’ll look at you and you’ll look at me and I’ll love you, whoever you’ve grown up to be.”
—The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: Martin’s tale, which she also illustrated, is another beautiful story about encouraging your kids to dream big. Because you’re the first one who can tell them that they can be anything!
“’Why does it tick and why does it tock?’ ‘Why don’t we call it a grandDAUGHTER clock?’ ‘Why are there pointy things stuck to a rose?’ ‘Why are there hairs up inside of your nose?’
She started with Why? and then What? How? and When? By bedtime she came back to Why? once again. She drifted to sleep as her dazed parents smiled at the curious thoughts of their curious child, who wanted to know what the world was about. They kissed her and whispered, ‘You’ll figure it out.’
—Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
Why It’s a Children’s Book Quotes Winner: According to the latest census, only about a quarter of all STEM jobs are filled by women. Witty and inspiring—as evidenced by the quote above!—this series aims to change that.