Ok. So this is what I think: If a child knows how important words are, then as a result, they will grasp –almost effortlessly– the significance of honesty, empathy, integrity and what being an authentic human being really means.
These quotes sum up pretty well my views on language, words and writing middle grade fiction.
“No book is really worth reading at the age of 10 which is not equally and often far more worth reading at the age of 50 and beyond.” C. S. Lewis
“Anyone who writes down to children is simply wasting his time. You have to write up, not down. Children are demanding. They are the most attentive, curious, eager, observant, sensitive, quick, and generally congenial readers on earth. They accept, almost without question, anything you present them with, as long as it is presented honestly, fearlessly, and clearly.” E. B. White
“Some writers for children deliberately avoid using words they think a child doesn’t know. This emasculates the prose and, I suspect, bores the reader. Children are game for anything. I throw them hard words, and they backhand them over the net. They love words that give them a hard time, provided they are in a context that absorbs their attention.” E. B. White
“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world. All I know is what I have words for.” Ludwig Wittgenstein
“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not good a good children’s story in the slightest.” C. S. Lewis
“The development of language is part of the development of the personality, for words are the natural means of expressing thoughts and establishing understanding between people.” María Montessori
“So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.” Ronald Dahl, Matilda
“A good library will never be too neat, or too dusty, because somebody will always be in it, taking books off the shelves and staying up late reading them.” Lemony Snicket, Horseradish
“Characters are the life of literature: they are the objects of our curiosity and fascination, affection and dislike, admiration and condemnation. Indeed, so intense is our relationship with literary characters that they often cease to be simply ‘objects’. Through the power of identification, through sympathy and antipathy, they can become part of how we conceive ourselves, a part of who we are.” Andrew Bennet and Nicholas Royle, An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory
“Which of us has not felt that the character we are reading in the printed page is more real than the person standing beside us?” Cornelia Funke
“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world” Malala Yousafzai
“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” Neil Gaiman
“How do texts represent the world? Where does a text begin and end? Is an author an inhabitant of the world or the creation of a literary text? To what extent is history a kind of text? And what implications does this have for thinking about literature? Can literary texts do things to the world as well as simply describe it?” Andrew Bennet and Nicholas Royle, An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory