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9 Quotes From Children's Literature On Grief

Kanzi Kamel By Kanzi Kamel Published on September 15, 2016

The sad truth of life is that we must all experience loss and grief. Even sadder, we know to expect them not just once, but often. In those moments, we turn to family, friends, or other channels of comfort to help ebb the overwhelming feeling of mourning. Here, we delve into the comforts of our childhood, where quotes about loss and bereavement – and how to deal with it – may have been overlooked.

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1. Maurice Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are

"I have nothing now but praise for my life. I'm not unhappy. I cry a lot because I miss people. They die and I can't stop them. They leave me and I love them more...What I dread is the isolation. ... There are so many beautiful things in the world which I will have to leave when I die, but I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready."

2. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

“There are no happy endings, endings are sad-so let's have a happy beginning and a happy middle.”

3. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

"Sometimes it seemed to him that his life was delicate as a dandelion. One little puff from any direction, and it was blown to bits."

4. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

“But Mole stood still a moment, held in thought. As one wakened suddenly from a beautiful dream, who struggles to recall it, but can recapture nothing but a dim sense of the beauty in it, the beauty! Till that, too, fades away in its turn, and the dreamer bitterly accepts the hard, cold waking and all its penalties.”

5. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

“The night seemed long. Wilbur's stomach was empty and his mind was full. And when your stomach is empty and your mind is full, it's always hard to sleep.”

6.  The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

"Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you."

7. Sad Book by Michael Rosen

"Sometimes sad is very big. It’s everywhere. All over me... And there’s nothing I can do about it."

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8. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

"'Poor Earthworm,' the Ladybird said, whispering in James's ear. 'He loves to make everything into a disaster. He hates to be happy. He is only happy when he is gloomy.'"

9. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

"'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit. 

"'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.' 

"'Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, 'or bit by bit?' 

"'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.”


Egyptian-American food enthusiast born in Chicago, raised in Beirut, and living in Dublin. Multitasker at Bookwitty. Intimately familiar with the term "identity crisis".


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