Last year when I was reading Middle Grade Science Fiction and Fantasy for the Cybils, I made a collection of wise sayings and proverbs from the books I was reading so that you could choose your own “philosophy”, a la Charlie Brown’s sister Sally, for the new year. This year I made another from the Cybils nominees I read.
1. “Do not expect to find all your answers in the first asking.” ~The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck.
2. “Economy is a poor man’s revenue, and extravagance a rich man’s ruin.” ~Nobody’s Secret by Michaela MacColl.
3. “Be the cockroach.” ~A Matter of Days by Amber Kizer. (Meaning: survive like a cockroach.)
4. “There are no coincidences. Just miracles by the boatload.” ~Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool.
5. “Sometimes it’s best not to see your whole path laid out before you. Let life surprise you.” ~Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool.
6. “The reward for working hard is getting to do more work. And better work.” ~Andrew Jenks: My Adventures as a Young Filmmaker.
7. “These days may not be the best days of your life, but like it or not, these days will define you. Live them.” Katherine Longshore in Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves.
8. “One failure often sparks another success.” ~The Incredible Charlotte Sycamore by Kate Maddison.
9. “Always be truthful to yourself and your beliefs.” ~The Incredible Charlotte Sycamore by Kate Maddison.
10. “Leading a very public life can be injurious to your health.” ~Bad Girls by Heidi E.Y. Stemple and Jane Yolen.
11. “Just because you make it up doesn’t mean it isn’t true.” Bad Girls by Heidi E.Y. Stemple and Jane Yolen.
12. “It’s wrong to believe a thing till your mind has examined it.” ~Home Front Girl by Joan Wehlen Morrison.
13. “Life always goes on . . . even in Troy.” ~Home Front Girl by Joan Wehlen Morrison.
14. “Unexpected things could even be good.” ~Listening for Lucca bySuzanne LaFleur.
15. “Words matter . . . What we say about ourselves matter[s]. The words we use to represent ourselves matter. We have only so many ways we can express ourselves, and words are the most powerful.” ~Lena Roy in the essay “Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll”, Breakfast on Mars, edited by Rebecca Stern and Brad Wolfe.
16. “A single story can change many lives.” Craig Kielburger in the essay of the same name, Breakfast on Mars, edited by Rebecca Stern and Brad Wolfe.
17. “When no one knows you’re there, they say all kinds of things, and you can learn from what they say.” ~Maile Meloy in the essay “Invisibility”, Breakfast on Mars, edited by Rebecca Stern and Brad Wolfe.
18. “Sometimes you have to dig deep.” ~Alane Ferguson in the essay “Death Is Only a Horizon”, Breakfast on Mars, edited by Rebecca Stern and Brad Wolfe.
19. “It’s always worth making new friends in new places.” ~Casey Scieszka and Steven Weinberg in the essay “Death by Host Family”, Breakfast on Mars, edited by Rebecca Stern and Brad Wolfe.
20. “We need our imaginations. There’s a part of us that hungers to be creative.” ~Joshua Mohr in the essay “Creative Boot Camp”, Breakfast on Mars, edited by Rebecca Stern and Brad Wolfe.
21. “Sometimes . . . [you] just gotta break the rules. And I mean BRAKE the rules. No, I mean BRAKE. I put my foot on the brakes. NO MORE RULES.” ~Ellen Sussman in the essay “Break the Rules”, Breakfast on Mars, edited by Rebecca Stern and Brad Wolfe.
22. “Words are free and plentiful. They’re for choosing, admiring, keeping, giving. They are treasures of inestimable value.” ~Hold Fast by Blue Balliet
23. “Hold fast to dreams. You can do this. Not as hard as it seems.” ~Hold Fast by Blue Balliet
24. “Secrets can be lovely. They give you a chance to surprise people you love.” ~Hold Fast by Blue Balliet
25. “Always go to the funeral.” Cindy Rollins at Ordo Amoris.
26. “Waste nothing. Be always employed in something useful. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.” ~Benjamin Franklin in Becoming Ben Franklin by Russell Freedman. (originally from Franklin’s Autobiography)
27. “She who hates, hates herself.” ~South African proverb from A Girl Called Problem by Katie Quirk.
28. “Children are the reward of life.” ~Congolese proverb from A Girl Called Problem by Katie Quirk.
29. “[E]veryone has some evil inside them, and the first step to loving anyone is to recognize the same evil in ourselves, so we’re able to forgive them.” Allegiant by Veronica Roth.
30. “Life damages us, every one. We can’t escape that damage. . . . But, we can be mended. We mend each other.” Allegiant by Veronica Roth.