Kenneth Grahame (8th March 1859 – 6th July 1932) was a Scottish writer known best for his children’s classics The Wind in the Willows and The Reluctant Dragon. Born in Edinburgh Scotland, Grahame’s mother died when he was 5 and his care was taken over by his grandmother, meaning a move to Berkshire where the writer was raised.
Grahame didn’t set out to be a writer, he had hoped to go to Oxford University but this was scuppered due to cost. Instead he started working at the Bank of England in 1879, a job he held until 1908 when he quit due to ill health. It’s thought that an incident in the bank where he was shot three times may have precipitated this move, but it did leave him time to write the books he is best known for today.
Today we’re remembering the author with some of our favourite quotes.
“After all, the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working.”
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
“The moon, serene and detached in a cloudless sky, did what she could, though so far off, to help them in their quest; till her hour came and she sank earthwards reluctantly, and left them, and mystery once more held field and river.”
“the river still chattered on to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from the heart of the earth to be told at last to the insatiable sea.”
“For my life, I confess to you, feels to me today somewhat narrow and circumscribed.”
“The smell of that buttered toast simply spoke to Toad, and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cosy parlour firesides on winter evenings, when one’s ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender; of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries.”
“Independence is all very well, but we animals never allow our friends to make fools of themselves beyond a certain limit.”
“Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.”
“It’s my world, and I don’t want any other. What it hasn’t got is not worth having, and what it doesn’t know is not worth knowing.”
“Children are the only people who accept a mood of wonderment, who are ready to welcome a perfect miracle at any hour of the day or night. Only a child can entertain an angel unawares, or to meet Sir Lancelot in shining armour on a moonlit road.”
Born in the Bronx to Russian Jewish descendants on 27th May 1915, Bronx grew up as part of a struggling family in poverty. After his childhood, Wouk earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at the age of 19 from Columbia University and went on to serve as the editor of the university’s humor magazine, The Columbia Jester and thereafter would become a radio dramatist.
A skilled illustrator, and the ability to see the world from a children’s perspective made Judith Kerr one of the most talented children’s writers the world has ever seen. From the Tiger Who Came to Tea, to the Mog the Cat stories, Kerr had a way of talking to children and passing on important messages.
Born in Perth, Western Australia, Hewett was raised on a sheep and wheat farm. She was initially home educated before attending Perth College, aged 15. While the college was run by Anglican nuns, Hewett was an atheist and remained so her entire life.
Maupin was born in Washington DC and graduated from Needham Broughton High School before attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His first foray into writing was as a journalist for The Daily Tar Heel.
In 1974 he began what would become Tales of the City as a colum in the Pacific Sun newspaper, moving to the San Francisco Chronicle after the Sun’s San Francisco edition folded. Read More
French loved both acting and writing from an early age and her debut novel, In the Woods, published in 2007 won the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity and Barry awards for best first novel. Today we’re looking at the author through some of her quotes, and the books they appeared in.
The book was taken on the Terra Nova expedition in 1910 by Captain Scott with the view to sustain morale among his men. Captain Scott and his men would take it in turns to read chapters to the group, keeping spirits up during the harsh Antarctic conditions. David Copperfield was written in periodical chapters with intriguing cliffhangers, making it perfect for reading aloud together.
There was a British tradition of taking libraries of books on expeditions, with Sir John Franklin taking over 1000 books with him on his 1845 journey to the Arctic including some novels by Charles Dickens such as The Pickwick Papers and Nicholas Nickleby.