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


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


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


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