11 Beautiful Writing

Reading amazing children's and young adult literature is such a gift. These are some of my favorites. What are some of yours passages?  Please add them in the comments!

Happy reading,


And by and by Christopher Robin came to an end of things, and he was silent, and he sat there, looking out over the world, just wishing it wouldn't stop.
A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner

I used to believe in forever . . . but forever was too good to be true.
A. A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

It is only the darkness in our own hearts that will defeat us, in the end.
Alison Croggon, The Crow

And all meet in singing, which braids together the different knowings into a wide and subtle music, the music of living.
Alison Croggon, The Naming

Many forgotten things live still in children's tales.
Alison Croggon, The Riddle

The only thing to be ashamed of is denying your love. That is what makes the shadow grow within your heart; that is the darkening of the Light. And we all have many loves.
Alison Croggon, The Riddle

 . . . But when a house is empty, then it's the house's turn. It holds all the emptiness and all the fullness of the years it has known, the footprints of all the people who have ever walked its rooms gather themselves. The air is expectant, waiting. Hushed. Hush. Listen to the house. What is it telling you?
Alison McGhee, All Rivers Flow to the Sea

It was the hour when snow goes blue
and streetlights come on and a hare may
pause on the tree line as still as a word in a book.
Anne Carson, Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse

Each moment is as slow and transparent as glass. Through each moment I can see infinite moments lined up, waiting. Why has he gone where I cannot follow?
Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife

We're a fabular people, defined by the whims of their lore and their tales. They have always told us what we are.
Brenna Yovanoff, The Replacement

Tate's eyes were on my face, and it was hard to give that up. To give up my life when it was finally starting.
Brenna Yovanoff, The Replacement

There was a whole sprawling world underneath us, filled with ugly, vicious, beautiful people. The line between the two places was thin, hardly a separation, and both ran on pain and blood and fear and death and joy and music.

But for now, the sunset was enough.
Brenna Yovanoff, The Replacement

Some people say there is a new sun every day, that it begins its life at dawn and lives for one day only.
Byrd Baylor, The Way to Start a Day

A touch of truth makes a lie worth believing.
Caitlin Kittredge (The Iron Thorn)

I fear, in my dark hours, that it hungers for me and that it is only a matter of time before it eats its full of my sanity.
Caitlin Kittredge, The Iron Thorn

"I don't want to be a man," said Jace. "I want to be an angst-ridden teenager who can't confront his own inner demons and takes it out verbally on other people instead."
"Well," said Luke, "you're doing a fantastic job."
Cassandra Clare, City of Ashes

Sarcasm is the last refuge of the imaginatively bankrupt.
Cassandra Clare, City of Bones

If there was such a thing as terminal literalism, you'd have died in childhood.
Cassandra Clare, City of Bones

Not everything that's true needs to be said.
Cassandra Clare, City of Bones

I have a high pain threshold. In fact, it's more of a large and tastfully decorated foyer than a threshold. But I do get easily bored.
Cassandra Clare, City of Bones

Sorry, are you telling me that your demon-slaying buddies need to be driven to their next assignment with the forces of darkness by my mom?
Cassandra Clare, City of Bones

That's why when major badasses greet each other in movies, they don't say anything, they just nod. The nod means, 'I' am a badass, and I recognize that you, too, are a badass,' but they don't say anything because they're Wolverine and Magneto and it would mess up their vibe to explain.
Cassandra Clare, City of Bones

She was still beautiful. Looking at her, he was in London again. He saw the gaslight and smelled the smoke and dirt and horses, the metallic tang of fog, the flowers in Kew Gardens. He saw a boy with black hair and blue eyes like Alec’s, heard violin music like the sound of silver water. He saw a girl with long brown hair and a serious face. In a world where everything went away from him eventually, she was one of the few remaining constants.
Cassandra Clare, City of Fallen Angels

I know it's wrong - God, it's all kinds of wrong - but I just want to lie down with you and wake up with you, just once, just once ever in my life.
Cassandra Clare, City of Glass

I don't think the world is the way we like to think it is. I don't think it's one solid world, but many, thousands upon thousands of them--as many as there are people--because each person perceives the world in his or her own way; each lives in his or her own world. Sometimes they connect, for a moment, or more rarely, for a lifetime, but mostly we are alone, each living in our own world, suffering our small deaths."
Charles de Lint, Dreams Underfoot

I hate the thought of her being forced into a box that doesn't fit her. Of having her wings cut off, her sight blinded, her hearing muted, her voice stilled.
Charles de Lint, Dreams Underfoot

Don't forget - no one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell."
Charles de Lint, The Blue Girl

She knew this music--knew it down to the very core of her being--but she had never heard it before. Unfamiliar, it had still always been there inside her, waiting to be woken. It grew from the core of mystery that gives a secret its special delight, religion its awe. It demanded to be accepted by simple faith, not dissected or questioned, and at the same time, it begged to be doubted and probed."
Charles de Lint, The Little Country

That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

And even the most pleasant of dreams could be painful under the light of the morning sun.
Christopher Golden, Sins of the Father

"I think we ought to live happily ever after," and she thought he meant it. Sophie knew that living happily ever after with Howl would be a good deal more hair-raising than any storybook made it sound, though she was determined to try. "It should be hair-raising," added Howl.
"And you'll exploit me," Sophie said.
"And then you'll cut up all my suits to teach me."
Diana Wynne Jones, Howl's Moving Castle

But maybe supposed to be was what was wrong. Maybe supposed to be was like a child's drawing of a night sky--stars all aligned, a yellow moon--simple and pretty and nothing to do with reality.
Deb Caletti, Wild Roses

He walked close enough to hold hands and far enough away that words could never repair the damage we'd done to each other.
Elana Johnson, Possession

It was like him, too, to love her and admit to it before he knew if she loved him. Maybe only mortals expected to barter their hearts.
Emma Bull, War for the Oaks

Every motion she made was slow, as if she’d never before put her arms around a man, and didn’t know for certain where everything fit. When at last they were pressed close, she didn’t think she’d know how to let go when the time came. They summarized the course of passion with kisses: a chaste, half-frightened brush of the lips metamorphosed into something fierce and fast-burning, which in its turn became a more patient, more intimate touch, full of inquiry and shared pleasure.
Emma Bull, War for the Oaks

When your soul-whatever that is anyway-something so alive when you make music or love and so mysteriously hidden most of the rest of the time, so colorful and big but without color or shape-when your soul finds another soul it can recognize even before the rest of you knows about it. The rest of you just feels sweaty and jumpy at first. And your souls get married without even meaning to-even if you can't be together for some reason in real life, your souls just go ahead and make the wedding plans.
Francesca Lia Block, Dangerous Angels

But be careful; sand is already broken but glass breaks. The shoes are for dancing, not running away."
Francesca Lia Block, The Rose and the Beast, Fairy Tales Retold

Magic is in everything, only we have not sense enough to get hold of it and make it do things for us--like electricity and horses and steam.
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and ever and ever. One knows it sometimes when one gets up at the tender solemn dawn-time and goes out and stands out and throws one's head far back and looks up and up and watches the pale sky slowly changing and flushing and marvelous unknown things happening until the East almost makes one cry out and one's heart stands still at the strange unchanging majesty of the rising of the sun--which has been happening every morning for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. One knows it then for a moment or so. And one knows it sometimes when one stands by oneself in a wood at sunset and the mysterious deep gold stillness slanting through and under the branches seems to be saying slowly again and again something one cannot quite hear, however much one tries. Then sometimes the immense quiet of the dark blue at night with the millions of stars waiting and watching makes one sure; and sometimes a sound of far-off music makes it true; and sometimes a look in someone's eyes.
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

I wished she’d never stop squeezing me. I wished I could spend the rest of my life as a child, being slightly crushed by someone who loved me.
Gail Carson Levine, Ella Enchanted

Does the walker choose the path or the path choose the walker?"
Garth Nix, Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr

Fear and realisation of ignorance, strong medicines against stupid pride."
Garth Nix, Sabriel

And that's just it, isn't it? That's how we manage to survive the loss. Because love, it never dies, it never goes away, it never fades, so long as you hang on to it.
Gayle Forman, If I Stay

Adam is crying and somewhere inside of me I am crying, too, because I'm feeling things at last. I'm feeling not just the physical pain, but all that I have lost, and it is profound and catastrophic and will leave a crater in me that nothing will ever fill.
Gayle Forman, If I Stay

It's like the piano and the cello are being poured into my body, the same way the IV and blood transfusions are. And the memories of my life as it was, and the flashes of it as it might be, are coming so fast and furious. I feel like I can no longer keep up with them but they keep coming and everything is colliding, until I cannot take anymore. Until I cannot be like this a second longer.
Gayle Forman, If I Stay

Sleep would be so welcome. A warm blanket of black to erase everything else. Sleep without dreams. I've heard people talk about the sleep of the dead. Is that what death would feel like? The nicest, warmest, heaviest never-ending nap? If that's what it's like, I wouldn't mind. If that's what dying is like, I wouldn't mind that at all.
Gayle Forman, If I Stay

And I have to fight the urge to take her by the shoulders and slam her against a shuttered building until we feel the vibrations ringing through both of us. Because I suddenly want to hear her bones rattle. I want to feel the softness of her flesh give, to hear her gasp as my hip bone jams into her. I want to yank her head back until her neck is exposed. I want to rip my hands through her hair until her breath is labored. I want to make her cry and then lick up the tears. And then I want to take my mouth to hers, to devour her alive, to transmit all the things she can’t understand.
Gayle Forman, Where She Went

I needed to hate someone and you’re the one I love the most, so it fell on you.
Gayle Forman, Where She Went

You were so busy trying to be my savior that you left me all alone.
Gayle Forman, Where She Went

He had no memory of a beginning—of a mother or father, sister or brother. His life was simply there, at Saint Anthony’s, and what he remembered began in the middle of things—the smell of boiled sheets and lye; the taste of watery oatmeal; the feel of dropping a brick onto a piece of stone, watching the red pieces split off, then using those broken shards to write on the wall of the monastery, and being slapped for this, and being forced to wash the dust away with a cold, wet rag.
Hannah Tinti, The Good Thief

You shall dance...dance in your red shoes until you become pale and thin. Dance till the skin on your face turns yellow and clings to your bones as if you were a skeleton. Dance  you shall from door to door, and when you pass a house where proud and vain children live, there you shall knock on the door so that they will see you and fear your fate. Dance, you shall dance...Dance!
Hans Christian Anderson, The Red Shoes, The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories

She knew what it felt like to tremble like that before touching someone-desire so acute that it became despair.
Holly Black, Ironside

"The more powerful you become, the more others will find ways to master you. They'll do it through those you love and those you hate. They will find the bit and the bridle that fits your mouth and will make you yield."
Holly Black, Ironside

"You are the only thing I have that is neither duty nor obligation, the only thing I chose for myself. The only thing I want."
Holly Black, Ironside

Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.
J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

But she also knew that in the village of Malbry-as in the whole of the Strond Valley-certain things were never discussed, and that included anything curious, uncanny, or unnatural in any way. To be imaginative was considered almost as bad as giving oneself airs, and even dreams were hated and feared, for it was through dreams (or so the Good Book said) that the Seer-folk had crossed over from Chaos, and it was in Dream that the power of the Faerie remained, awaiting its chance to re-enter the world.
Joanne Harris, Runemarks

He stood in the small patch of light making its sullen way through the open flap of the tent. He let the fortuneteller take his hand. She examined it closely, moving her eyes back and forth and back and forth, as if there were a whole host of very small words inscribed there, an entire book about Peter Augustus Duchene composed atop his palm.
Kate DiCamillo, The Magician's Elephant

"It's not reasonable to love people who are only going to die," she said.
Nash thought about that for a moment, stroking Small's neck with great deliberation, as if the fate of the Dells depended on that smooth, careful movement.
"I have two responses to that," he said at last. "First, everyone is going to die. Second, love is stupid. It has nothing to do with reason. You love whomever you love. Against all reason I loved my father." He looked at her keenly. "Did you love yours?"
"Yes," she whispered.
Kristin Cashore, Fire

Something caught in her throat at this second thanks, when she'd threatened him so brutally. When you're a monster, she thought, you are thanked and praised for not behaving like a monster. She would like to restrain from cruelty and receive no admiration for it.
Kristin Cashore, Graceling

Trust is a careless pursuit at best. At worst, it's a good way to get yourself killed.
Lauren Kate, Fallen

My angel-boy is close now, as in five-feet-away close. There's no way I'm going to burst into song in front of him. But then the contrary part of me says, you're going to let a boy keep you from singing out loud? Sing, sister! Sing!
So I do, and my angel-boy turns his head.
Lauren Myracle, Bliss

Art without emotion its like chocolate cake without sugar. It makes you gag.
Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak

This is where you can find your soul if you dare. Where you can touch that part of you that you've never dared look at before. Do not come here and ask me to show you how to draw a face. Ask me to help you find the wind.
Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak

When people don't express themselves, they die one piece at a time.
Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak

Here stands a girl clutching a knife. There is grease on the stove, blood in the air, and angry words piled in the corners. We are trained not to see it, not to see any of it.
Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls

I am spinning the silk threads of my story, weaving the fabric of my world...I spun out of control. Eating was hard. Breathing was hard. Living was hardest.
Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls

Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don't always like."
Lemony Snicket, A Series of Unfortunate Events

She scuffed her feet as she wandered up Eighth Avenue, reluctant to make her way uptown to the fourth-floor walk-up that she now called home. Except that home was something else. It was sky and grass and the trees of the woods outside her old window, and peace.
Lesley Livingston, Wondrous Strange

"That's the reason they're called lessons," the Gryphon remarked, "because they lessen from day to day."
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

In each of us lie good and bad, light and dark, art and pain, choice and regret, cruelty and sacrifice. We’re each of us our own chiaroscuro, our own bit of illusion fighting to emerge into something solid, something real. We’ve got to forgive ourselves that. I must remember to forgive myself. Because there is a lot of grey to work with. No one can live in the light all the time.
Libba Bray, A Great and Terrible Beauty

When the music is over, she keeps her head down till she finds her seat again, and I wonder how many times each day she dies a little.
Libba Bray, A Great and Terrible Beauty

These are hard times. The world hurts. We live in fear and forget to walk with hope. But hope has not forgotten you. So ask it to dinner. It's probably hungry and would appreciate the invitation.
Libba Bray, Going Bovine 

In a world like this one, only the random makes sense.
Libba Bray, Going Bovine

The dark does not weep for itself because there is no light. Rather, it accepts that it is the dark.
Libba Bray, Going Bovine

And for a moment, I understand that I have friends on this lonely path; that sometimes your place is not something you find, but something you have when you need it.
Libba Bray, Rebel Angels 

Why is it that some secrets can drown you while some pull you close to others in a way you never want to lose?
Libba Bray, Rebel Angels 

It is funny how you do not miss affection until it is given, but once it is, it can never be enough; you would drown in it if possible.
Libba Bray, The Sweet Far Thing

A gentle breeze catches in the branches then and I hear it, soft and low, a murmured prayer--Gem-ma, Gem-ma--and then the leaves bend down and trail delicate fingers across my cold cheeks.
Libba Bray, The Sweet Far Thing

Peace is not happenstance. It is a living fire that must be fed constantly. It must be tended to with vigilance, else it dies out.
Libba Bray, The Sweet Far Thing

Around us the night creatures have their say. We are surrounded by a symphony of crickets and frogs. Neither of us feels the need to speak, and I suppose that is one of the qualities I find comforting in Kartik. We can be alone together.
Libba Bray, The Sweet Far Thing

When she can't bring me to heal with scolding, she bends me to shape with guilt.
Libba Bray, The Sweet Far Thing

Most of us are called upon to perform tasks far beyond what we believe we can do. Our capabilities seldom match our aspirations, and we are often woefully unprepared. To this extent, we are all Assistant Pig-Keepers at heart.
Lloyd Alexander, The Book of Three

It seemed to travel with her, to sweep her aloft in the power of song, so that she was moving in glory among the stars, and for a moment she, too, felt that the words Darkness and Light had no meaning, and only this melody was real.
Madeleine L'Engle, A Wrinkle in Time

I want to reflect everything about you, and I never want to be too blind or too ancient to keep your profound wavering image with me. I want to unfold. I don’t want to be folded anywhere, because there, where I’m folded, I am a lie."
Maggie Stiefvater, Shiver

Courage is fear holding out for just a few minutes longer.
Marcia Byalick, Quit It

It felt as though the whole globe was dressed in snow. Like it had pulled it on, the way you pull on a sweater. Next to the train line, footprints were sunken to their shins. Trees wore blankets of ice.
As you might expect, someone had died.
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Words and sunlight. That's how she remembered it. The light sparkling on the road and the words like waves, breaking on her back.
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

"Do you ever wonder if what you look at is the same thing everyone else is seeing?"
He went even stiller at her side. "Sometimes I'm sure it isn't the same...but that's not so bad is it? Seeing the world in a different way?"
"Creative vision creates art." He motioned around the gallery. "That shows the rest of the world a new angle. That's a beautiful thing."
Melissa Marr, Ink Exchange

"What does it mean when nightmares dream of peace? When shadows wish for light?"
Melissa Marr, Ink Exchange

Mortals are such fragile things. Just tender feelings walking around exposed in their delicate shells...Easy to crush.
Melissa Marr, Wicked Lovely

I was brought up in Darkest Peru. By my aunt Lucy. She's the one that lives in the home for retired bears.
Michael Bond, Paddington Bear

Perhaps his gloom was due to his profession, that he lived among fallen empires, and in reading these languages that had not been spoken by the common man in centuries, he had all about him the ruin of language, evidence of toppled suburbs, grass growing among the mosaics, and voices that had been choked with poison, iron, age, or ash.
M.T. Anderson, The Astonishing Life of Octavious Nothing

To participate, then, in the pomp of the orchestra, in the full scintillation thereof, was in the highest degree thrilling. Is this not the image of the perfect republic -- each instrument singing its wonted melody, endeavoring at once to express its part, and, in the same instance to conform its voice to the conversation of the whole?"
M.T. Anderson, The Kingdom on the Waves

The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses it turning.
Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

Today is the day tomorrow becomes, and yesterday used to be.
Natalie Babbitt, The Search for Delicious

Nothing was said. Just a silence in reply, that echoed of dust and loneliness.
Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book

Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up.
Neil Gaiman, The Sandman: The Kindly Ones

She says nothing at all, but simply stares upward into the dark sky and watches, with sad eyes, the slow dance of the infinite stars.
Neil Gaiman, Stardust

Most dreams are a tangle of things: foreground and background, subject and object. I once had a dream in which I was chasing a mad clown around Saint Patrick’s cathedral, which was also my old high school. And after a while I was the clown they were chasing.
Neil Gaiman, The Sandman: Fables & Reflections

It was a place of brilliant sunlight, never undappled. Shafts of lemon-gold brilliance lanced down to the forest floor between bars and pools of brown-green shade; and the light was never still, never constant, because drifting mist would often float among the treetops, filtering all the sunlight to a pearly sheen and brushing every pine cone with moisture that glistened when the mist lifted. Sometimes the wetness in the clouds condensed into tiny drops half mist and half rain, which floated downward rather than fell, making a soft rustling patter among the millions of needles.
Phillip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass: His Dark Materials 

That very next morning, when there was nothing left of the Equinoxes, because the Precession had preceded according to precedent, this 'satiable Elephant's Child took a hundred pounds of bananas (the little short red kind), and a hundred pounds of sugar-cane (the long purple kind), and seventeen melons (the greeny-crackly kind), and said to all his dear families, 'Goodbye. I am going to the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, to find out what the Crocodile has for dinner.' And they all spanked him once more for luck, though he asked them most politely to stop.
Rudyard Kipling, The Elephant's Child

"I knew, in the silence that followed, that anything could happen here. It might be too late: again, I might have missed my chance. But I would at least know I tried, that I took my heart and extended my hand, whatever the outcome.
'Okay,' he said. He took a breath. 'What would you do, if you could do anything?'
I took a step toward him, closing the space between us. 'This,' I said. And then I kissed him.'"
Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever

That was the thing. You just never knew. Forever was so many different things. It was always changing, it was what everything was really all about. It was twenty minutes, or a hundred years, or just the instant, or any instant I wished would last and last. But there was only one truth about forever that really mattered, and that was this: it was happening. Right then, as I ran with Wes into that bright sun, and every moment afterwards. Look, there. Now. Now. Now.
Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever

The shuddering little pool of light that traveled just ahead of her had started out pretty dim, and it was fading out like Tinkerbell full of poisoned cake.
Scott Westerfeld, Midnighters: Touching Darkness

In the bus's air-conditioned climate, I could look out and enjoy the beauty, but knowing the heavy humidity that hung just outside the huge glass windows made me nervous. The landscape looked so civilized and tame, it was hard to reconcile it with the exotic, nearly tropical humidity in the air. I never felt anything like that lethargy that settled over me when I stepped outside the airport with my bags. I couldn't breathe; the air was as thick as soup.
Tammar Stein, Light Years

Rules and school are tools for fools! I don't give two mules for rules.
Trenton Lee Stewart, The Mysterious Benedict Society


  1. Love these quotes! Thanks so much for collecting them and sharing them...they make me want to run to my writing desk and start a new story!

  2. My pleasure--believe me! I am adding to this collection anytime I find my own work getting a little blah. It helps me raise the bar a little higher and dig a little deeper. Feel free to share your favorite quotes!

  3. "Sir," he addressed his father, "mind you not that I must go thus, bent over, and with these crutches to help me walk?" For he must know the worst at once.
    Gravely Sir John answered, "The courage you have shown, the craftsmanship proven by the harp, and the spirit in your singing all make so bright a light that I cannot see whether or no your legs are misshapen."
    Marguerite de Angeli, The Door In The Wall

  4. My favorite line of all time is so simple, and it's from Libba Bray in Sweet, Far Thing ... "When I dream, I dream of him."

  5. "On one such occasion, he found a rogue bottle of her perfume and with the desperation of a junkie, drank it all the way to the bottom. It didn't bring her back, but for a few pungent swallows, it brought her closer."
    Sam Wasson. Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audry Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman.

  6. Thanks for the quotes, both old and new.

  7. A beautiful post. It speaks to the secret place of my heart!

  8. These are beyond beautiful. Must say my favorites are Winnie the Pooh and The Mortal Instruments!

  9. A personal favorite: "Where's Papa going with that axe?" (Charlotte's Web) It's not so much beautiful as irresistible, but who cares? It snatches us into a beautiful, beautiful story.

  10. "Death is as light as a feather, duty as heavy as a mountain."
    Rand Al'Thor (Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan)

  11. Great selections!!


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