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Joan Aiken

  • Sudden wealth was the great insulator, second only to sudden bereavement.

  • ... lying to him was as necesary as breathing or wrapping up against the cold — a defence against curiosity.

  • A children's writer should, ideally, be a dedicated semi-lunatic, a kind of poet with a marvelous idea, who, preferably, when not committing the marvellous idea to paper, does something else of a quite different kind, so as to acquire new and rich experience.

  • The first book that a child reads has a colossal impact.

  • ... since each child reads only about six hundred books in the course of childhood, each book should nourish them in some way — with new ideas, insight, humor, or vocabulary.

  • Stories ought not to be just little bits of fantasy that are used to wile away an idle hour; from the beginning of the human race stories have been used — by priests, by bards, by medicine men — as magic instruments of healing, of teaching, as a means of helping people come to terms with the fact that they continually have to face insoluble problems and unbearable realities.

  • Children read to learn — even when they are reading fantasy, nonsense, light verse, comics, or the copy on cereal packets, they are expanding their minds all the time, enlarging their vocabulary, making discoveries; it is all new to them.

  • Words are like spices. Too many is worse than too few.

  • If reading becomes a bore, mental death is on the way. Children taught to read by tedious mechanical means rapidly learn to skim over the dull text without bothering to delve into its implications — which in time will make them prey to propaganda and to assertions based on scanty evidence, or none.

    • Joan Aiken

Joan Aiken, English writer

(1924 - 2004)

Full name: Joan Delano Aiken.