I love collections. Collections of books, of shoes, of childhood mementos, swatches of the favorite clothes my children wore to be made into a quilt (someday!), of wine corks, of sticky notes and most recently, quotes. Yes, quotes. Compelling, important, striking, sentimental and thought-provoking quotes from children’s books.
I am surrounded by a family of television and movie buffs. My husband can lighten any situation with a carefully-spoken quote from a Seinfeld episode. My son has been known to stand up at the Thanksgiving dinner table to recite the pledge of alliance as Aunt Bethany did in Christmas Vacation. My daughter can quote life lessons from the Disney Channel like there is no tomorrow and my oldest can turn any moment into a scene worthy of a quote from Jason Bourne. Why? Because we crave connection. Connections to each other, to lived experiences and to experiences lived vicariously through other means and media. We have met new friends, visited new places and learned how to deal with life situations by watching it unfold first on the screen in our media-drenched culture.
I have realized that I possess the same skill, but rather than quote movies and media, I tend to quote the characters that I have met in books. When my daughter faced a difficult situation on the bus, I repeated what Junie B. did during her difficult bus situation. When my son and I were driving through a particularly harsh storm, I compared our experience to Dexter’s in Lauren Tarshis’s I Survived Series. Why? Quite simply, because I am a reader. I connect with the characters and settings in books as if I have lived them myself and cannot help myself but inviting others into those worlds as well.
Lately, I have been making a more concentrated effort to cultivate my collection. I have a small moleskin notebook that accompanies me wherever I go. Typically, it is filled with to-do lists, ideas to remember later and important notes and reminders from work. Now, I use it to fuel my collection. As I read or talk with students about their own reading, I save the words that truly speak to me and I ask students, both adult and elementary, to share their favorites with me. Why? It is my hope to make it as commonplace to share a quote from a book as we would from a popular television show or movie. To show students that readers cannot help but make connections to what they read and share that reading with others…inspiring them to see for themselves. Ultimately, I envision a collection of quotes that could connect students to characters facing similar situations, celebrating similar milestones, grappling with the same tough questions or to simply lighten a moment with no bigger reason than to simply show students they are not alone and invite them to see for themselves in the pages of a book.
I would love for you to help build my collection. Please comment below with your most favorite snippets and I will work to compile them into a resource to help share my collection with others.