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.”
Jazmin Truesdale has been a proud nerd all her life, loving comic books, science fiction, and action movies, but always looking for some positive representation within those entertainment spheres. As one may imagine the worlds of graphic novels and comic books are very straight-white-male-centric, with shallow female characters. and few depictions of non-white women.
Jazmin, with her entrepreneurial mind and passion for cultural diversity, began creating characters she would want to read about and, with the help from an illustrator, her universe was born. It has not been an easy journey- finding an illustrator who knew how to draw Black women’s bodies was one particular hurdle to overcome, however Jazmin’s drive and focus ensured her goal became a reality.
The author, who has sold more than 70 million books during her career claims that her husband, Lawrence Kenyon was lacing her food with poison from 2014 until they split last year. She says the poison left her with clumps of hair falling out, crumbling teeth, tremors and back pain, all unexplained by doctors until tests showed unusually high levels of lithium in her blood.
She claims her husband was helped by his assistant Kerrie Ann Plump and her IT specialist Paco Cavanaugh to carry on the scheme and says that her husband laced her food while Cavanaugh siphoned hundreds of thousands off her bank accounts.
Born Susan Rosenblatt in New York City to Jewish parents of Lithuanian and Polish descent. When Susan was five years old her father died and several years later her mother married a US Army Captain, Nathan Sontag, giving Susan the name we remember her by. Despite being raised by Jewish parents, Sontag stated that she did not have a religious upbringing and was in her 20s before she entered a synagogue.
Before he created the writer-persona of Dr Seuss, Geisel was an artist of another kind. In his spare time he created sculptures of interesting and strange creatures, using parts of real animals. Of course it is not as grotesque as it sounds- the animal parts were given to Theodor after the animals died of natural causes. His father was the superintendent of parks in Massachusetts at the time when a young Geisel was working as a fledgling author and illustrator. When zoo and park animals crossed the rainbow bridge, Geisel’s father sent him the various animals’ parts to help him create some whacky characters.
Horns, antlers, beaks, and all sorts were used by Geisel to build some of the most fantastical animals that, unsurprisingly, look like they have jumped straight out of a Dr Seuss picture book.
The author of And We’re Off, and memoir Choose Your Own Disaster, offered to stand at the back of a funeral with a massive black umbrella, looking mysterious. For a small fee, of course.
Fellow authors and humorists of Twitter, including our favourite Neil Gaiman, got involved to either take her up on the offer or to join the enterprise. A surprising amount of people were up for it, prompting Schwartz to promote her latest book in place of Venmo donations.
Born in Kentucky to parents Sallie Caldwell and Samuel Hegan, Alice was drawn to creative pursuits from childhood and loved drawing and writing poetry and short stories. Alice spent much of her career advocating for the rights of the underprivileged. She lived most of her life in Louisville, which is where she met her husband, Cale Young Rice who was also an author, dramatist and poet.
Imagining herself as a Hogwarts student (and assigned to Gryffindor by the Sorting Hat, of course), McKinney found she may get into a spot of bother by pointing out some illogical practises the school implements. Why use parchment when a spiral notebook is far more practical? Since when is a quill better than an actual pen? Why did the students have to revert to such old fashioned techniques just because they’re at a magical school?
Although written with humour and a tongue set firmly in cheek, the author does have some excellent points…