19 Awesome Quotes from Newbery-winning Authors!

Ok guys I got Story Club back from my editor this weekend! Yikes! Crazy times.

Also this weekend I found some notes I had taken back in 2012 that I've been saving all this time. They come from an event at Books of Wonder in NYC, which my brother and I attended right after KidLitCon 2012. This event was an awesome panel featuring Newbery authors Richard Peck, Avi, Rebecca Stead, Ann M. Martin, and Shannon Hale.

After you read these quotes, tell me which one is your favorite.

Photo by Alysa Stewart. L to R: Shannon Hale, Avi, Ann M. Martin, Richard Peck, Rebecca Stead at Books of Wonder.

These are their words as I recorded them, and I'm just going to let them speak for themselves. There are some real gems.

Richard Peck:
I love Grandma Dowdel in his book A Year Down Yonder.*

"I never wrote a line of fiction until I was 37."

"We learn the most from the experience we would have avoided."

"I turned in my attendance book, which was my first work of fiction, and went home to write or die."

"Before television we listened to radio and that is very much part of the narrative."

"For me, a book is a shot fired just over their heads. What language have we learned here? What book does this remind you of?"

 "I followed my readers into younger territory."

"Humor is anger that was sent to finishing school."

"If I could teach young people a lesson about fiction it would be this: Books are not real life with the names changed. Beatrix Potter was never a rabbit. They're more than entertainments."

"My best book is called The River Between Us."
My favorite Avi book is The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.

Q: What is your favorite genre to write? Avi: "I prefer writing good books."

Q: What is your first name? Avi: "It's Rumpelstiltskin."

"Focus on the joys of reading."
Rebecca Stead:
Thoroughly enjoyed her Newbery Winner: When You Reach Me.*

"This private space is created by my reading. What makes me want to write is reading."

"I can do anything I want and they're right there with me." - on why she loves writing for children.

"That was the age at which I fell head over heels for books."
Ann M Martin:
The Baby-Sitters Clubbooks had a huge impact on young Alysa.

"My parents made reading and words fun for me. Now, the characters keep me going."
Shannon Hale:
Y'all know I love Shannon Hale.

"You don't find many adults that read a book 25 times." - on why children's authors have to be so rigorous in writing well and double-checking for inconsistencies.

"It's easier to be a bad actor than a bad writer, I think."

"It's so exciting! It's absolutely thrilling that one of my books could be as important as Robin McKinley or Lloyd Alexander's books were to me."

Which of the above quotes is your favorite?
Tell me in the comments, below.

Me, my awesome brother, and Elephant and Piggie, after the event.

*Some links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after visiting them, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Which would be awesome!


  1. My favorite is definitely the one about humor and anger. Sounds like Richard Peck has a knack for the quotable quote.

  2. Shannon's quote about reading children's books over and over reminds me of my life from 1984 to 2008, the years I had preschoolers at my house. There were many books we read over and over because they are fabulous. And there were some books we read over and over because they struck the fancy of one my kids. Now I feel a little left out, or at least out of date, because there are lots of wonderful children's books I haven't read. :)

    1. I've given up on trying to read all the books. I've even given up on trying to read all the *good* books. There are just too many. sigh. And that's ok.

  3. I like, "What makes me want to write is reading." I feel the same way. Like, I love this fairy tale, and I really want to read it, but no one's making it into a book for me, so I guess I'll have to do it myself!

    1. i SOOOO want to read that fairy tale, too. For the record. ;)

  4. I love the Richard Peck (whose writing I adore) quote about the shot fired over their heads.

    I love this post! What a treat to meet these authors!

    1. It was such a treat! I took many notes, and saved them for years, as you can tell! Finally I got around to making them digital and sharing them. :D


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