Inspiring Quotes by Inspiring Folks to Start the School Year Off Right
by Judy Newman with Alana Pedalino
We’re putting together a list of your favorite quotes about reading.
Please send along your suggestions for the list, and you’ll be eligible to win
a school visit from Malcolm Mitchell.
Email me at: email@example.com
Everyone has a different path to becoming a reader and unique ways of expressing how much books and reading mean to them. To kick off the new school year, I want to share some of my very favorite quotes by some of my very favorite people about the importance and joy of reading.
“Independent reading is a doorway to imagination and discovery—a way to motivate children to read and learn and realize themselves.”
—Dick Robinson (1937–2021) beloved Chairman, CEO, and President of Scholastic, the company his father founded
“Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them. And it’s much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world!”
―Neil Gaiman, author of The Graveyard Book, Coraline, and many other books
“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates’ loot on Treasure Island, and best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day of your life.”
“All I have learned, I learned from books.”
“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
—Frederick Douglass, abolitionist and statesman
Which brings us to Malcolm Mitchell—literacy advocate, Super Bowl champion, father, and author of our first Book of the Week this brand-new school year, My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World—who has had a lot to say about his own journey to readership:
“I understand life as a non-reader and I understand life as a reader, and life is much more pleasant as a reader.”
“The only boundaries are those we create for ourselves.”
“The more you read, the more you open yourself up to different perspectives.”
I first met Malcolm when his editor at Scholastic, Andrea Davis Pinkney, introduced him at Reach Out and Read of Greater New York’s annual benefit in 2019, where I heard him give a rousing, emotional, inspiring speech about his first book, The Magician’s Hat. As I would come to learn, the reason Malcolm’s talk that night was so compelling is that the story of The Magician’s Hat reflects Malcolm’s personal journey and struggles as a reader—as does My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World, Malcolm’s latest picture book.
“Mitchell proves to have a touch of magic as an author.”
The magic of Malcolm’s writing is due to the fact that his stories are so relatable. Andrea said the following about why she thinks Malcolm connects with readers:
“For any kid who’s ever struggled with reading, Malcolm’s books are like friends who remind you you’re not alone. That’s why young readers love Malcolm’s stories so much—they come from his heart. Whenever Malcolm shares one of his childhood reading memories with me, my only job as his editor is to say, ‘Put that in your book!’”
—Andrea Davis Pinkney, VP, Executive Editor, Scholastic
Malcolm never stops crusading for all kids to love books. He regularly shares his passion by participating in diversity and literacy panels, going on school visits, and through his own Share the Magic Foundation, which is dedicated to connecting underserved kids with books they’ll love to read. Thousands of kids around the globe tuned in on World Read Aloud Day in February to hear him read My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World on Storyvoice. It was on this day that I saw him truly come into his own—the football player who once had trouble reading the labels on groceries had become a bona fide reader and writer, and this was now a role he’d become comfortable identifying with. It’s a character arc not entirely dissimilar to Henley’s, the main character of My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World.
Jaden, a third grade student from New Jersey, had this to say about Henley’s journey:
“I liked that Henley kept looking for books, and then he decided to write his own book. If I was writing my own book, I’d look in a museum for things to write about. Henley found a lot of cool things to write about.”
Rohnan, a third grade student from New York, liked that Henley wrote his own book too:
“I liked that he didn’t know what was a good book, but he kept looking and looking, so he made up his own book.”
I also want to include a quote from first grade teacher Kriscia Cabral, who is featured in this week’s Book Talks on how she uses My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World with her class:
“I ask the kids, ‘If there’s not a story you want to read, write your own story. What would your own story be like?’”
We’re choosing to welcome readers back to school with My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World because it touches on a cornerstone belief of the work we do at Scholastic Book Clubs: every child deserves to read books that reflect who they are—books that speak to their passions, culture, and history, and that are right for their reading level. And if those stories don’t exist yet, then it’s our job to either find the voices writing them or write them ourselves! Ultimately, everything we do at Scholastic Book Clubs goes back to the same mission: we want kids to find joy and excitement in reading so that they read for the rest of their lives. (And proudly declare themselves: “I am a reader!”)
Finally, I want to end with a visual quote from my very favorite creative director in the whole wide world, David Vozar:
We’re excited to start a new school year together and help you share the joy and excitement of reading with your class. Please don't forget to send me your favorite reading quotes.
And please look for the Spanish-English bilingual edition of My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World, coming out later this month. The Spanish edition of the book will be available in August 2022!
PS: One more tidbit to pass along: My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World has also been chosen as the second-annual Judy Newman Book Award for Reach Out and Read. You can hear all about it here.
This Book Is Available from Scholastic Book Clubs