I am a collector of aphorisms, a gatherer of proverbs, and a dispenser of words of wisdom.
If we could all remember and act upon these kidlit maxims, the world would be a better place, or at least a more innocent and childlike place.
1. “Just because doing the right thing can be prickly, that doesn’t make it any less right.” ~Circa Now by Amber McRee Turner.
2. “Our goal was never to live; our goal is to love. It is the goal of all truly noble men and women. Give all that can be given. Give even your life itself.” ~Empire of Bones by N.D. Wilson.
3. “Cowards live for the sake of living, but for heroes, life is a weapon, a thing to be spent, a gift to be given to the weak and the lost and the weary, even to the foolish and the cowardly.” ~Empire of Bones by N.D. Wilson.
4. “[O]nly a coward would rather defenestrate a helpless old man than face me in a fair fight.” ~The Hero’s Guide to Being an Outlaw by Christopher Healy.
5. “Maybe normal’s not so bad.” ~Minion by John David Anderson.
6. “Never sit down at the negotiating table with cannibals, lest you find yourself on the menu.” ~Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly.
7. “[L]ife is neither fair nor kind.” ~Always Emily by Michaela MacColl.
8. “In this game of life
your family is the court
and the ball is your heart.
No matter how good you are,
no matter how down you get,
on the court.” ~The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
9. “If I tell you, you’ll just forget at some critical point. If you figure it out for yourself, you’ll always remember.” ~The Castle Behind Thorns by Merrie Haskell.
10. “The only cage that a grudge creates is around the holder of that grudge.” ~The Castle Behind Thorns by Merrie Haskell.
11. “Bravery isn’t measured by size. It’s measured by heart.” ~Mouseheart by Lisa Fielder.
12. “A story helps folks face the world, even when it frightens ’em. And a lie does the opposite. It helps you hide.” ~The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier.
13. “Don’t confuse what you do with who you are. . . [T]here’s no shame in humble work.” ~The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier.
14. “Stay right with your brothers. Stay right with the Lord. Hit like thunder, and run like the devil’s nightmare.” ~Boys of Blur by N.D. Wilson.
15. “It’s never too late to make a better decision.” ~The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage.
16. “Everything takes as long as you’ve got.” ~The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage.
17. “[M]ost situations don’t require my input.” ~The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage.
18. “You can’t buy a friend, that’s for sure. You have to be one.” ~Alvin Ho: Allergic to the Great Wall, The Forbidden Palace, and Other Tourist Attractions by Lenore Look.
19. “No lamb for the lazy wolf.” ~Frostborn by Lou Anders.
20. “If there’s one thing more stressful than being attacked by ravenous ghost-rats, it’s finding that you’re going to a fancy party and you haven’t got a thing to wear.” ~Lockwood & Co.: The Whispering Skull.
21. “Angry and grumpy.
Jealous and grumpy.
Selfish and grumpy.
Worried and grumpy.
Sad and grumpy.
Grumpy is like ketchup—it goes with a lot of things.”
~Wisher Dreamer Liar by Charise Mericle Harper.
22. “Just because something is true, it doesn’t mean you want to know about it.” ~Wisher Dreamer Liar by Charise Mericle Harper.
23. “[T]ragedy is not glamorous. . . . Tragedy is ugly and tangled, stupid and confusing.” ~We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.
24. “Be a little kinder than you have to.” ~We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.
25. “In searching for the truth, be ready for the unexpected. Change alone is unchanging.” ~Heraklietos of Ephesos in The Ninja Librarians: Accidental Keyhand by Jen Swann Downey.
26. “Do not, however tempting it might be, poke sticks at sleeping grifters.” Cabinet of Curiosities, Emma Trevayne.
27. “Bring your brain to the party.” ~The Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell.
28. “Do it like you mean it!” ~Little Green Men at the the Mercury Inn by Greg Leitich Smith.
29. “Failure is just as valuable as success, if you figure out what caused the failure.” ~Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor by Jon Scieszka.
30. “Together, we’re strong. Strong enough to fight, and strong enough to win.” ~Horizon by Jenn Reese.
31. “Iron resolve. Ferocious courage. And a healthy dose of insanity. That’s what makes a superhero. Not some amazing power.” ~Almost Super by Marion Jensen.
32. “It’s not your power that makes you super. It’s what you do with that power.” ~Almost Super by Marion Jensen.
33. “An empty food dish means chaos.” ~Fat & Bones and Other Stories by Larissa Theule.
34. Q: “Is there really a cure?”
A: “For every very blessed ill there is being a cure.”
~Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George.
35. “You must be putting on your shoes like a very man, and going forth!” ~Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George.
36. “If you’re going to do it, don’t do it stupid.” ~Loot by Jude Watson.
37. “If you think nothing can go wrong, you’d better think again.” ~Loot by Jude Watson.
38. “Never cheat, but be able to spot a cheater.” ~Loot by Jude Watson.
39. “Life isn’t fair. It never has been and it never will be. You can sit back and moan about its unfairness while the witches roll across the countryside, or you can pick yourself up and get on with it.” ~Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson.
40. “You get to decide who you want to be. No one else.” ~Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson.
41. “Let love heal you.” ~The Time of the Fireflies by Kimberley Griffiths Little.
42. “One’s nature is largely a product of habit.” ~The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler.
43. “It is always better to ask a question than to answer one.” ~Shouldn’t You Be In School? by Lemony Snicket.
44. “You should only snap your fingers if you do it well. It’s the same for surgery, or driving a forklift.” ~Shouldn’t You Be In School? by Lemony Snicket.
45. “If you’ve never had buttermilk and you’re curious what it tastes like, good for you and don’t be.” ~Shouldn’t You Be In School? by Lemony Snicket.
46. “The treachery of the world will continue no matter how much you worry about it.” ~Shouldn’t You Be In School? by Lemony Snicket.
47. “Everyone needs a moment on the diving board, before jumping into the depths below.” ~Shouldn’t You Be In School? by Lemony Snicket.
48. “Don’t be dazzled. Pay attention. Use your knowledge of the enemy.” ~Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins.
49. “Sometimes the thing to do is invite your adversary for cake and lemonade, and see if they can become your friend.” ~Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins.
50. “But when you are Team Squirrel, and the other team is Team Hawk, this is not a good idea. Because as far as the hawk is concerned, you are the cake. And also the lemonade.” ~Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins. (See also #6.)
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Some of these books are also nominated for a Cybil Award, but the views expressed here are strictly my own and do not reflect or determine the judging panel’s opinions.