13 Inspirational Quotes From Your Favorite Children’s Books

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I have a profound connection to children’s literature. When I was young, my parents read to me often and instilled in me the joy of reading. I was transported by the tales, my imagination whisking me on amazing journeys to fantastic new worlds.

Even today, when books struggle to compete with movies, TV, the web, and mobile apps for our kids’ attention, reading to my children has taught me that there is still a tremendous, unique power in sharing stories.

That’s why, as a pediatrician, I’ve chosen to fill my waiting room and exam rooms with favorite children’s books rather than TV screens or toys. I love walking into a room and finding a parent sitting on the exam table, child on lap, reading together.

Below, I’m sharing some of my favorite inspiring quotes from children’s literature. I hope they inspire you to share one of these stories with a child in your life.

1. “And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

― Roald Dahl, “The Minpins

2. “You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”

― A.A. Milne, “Winnie-the-Pooh

3. ” ‘Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’ ‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.’ ”

— E.B. White, “Charlotte’s Web

4. “Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”

― Dr. Seuss, “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

5. “Not all those who wander are lost.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Fellowship of the Ring

6. “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

― J.K. Rowling, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

7. “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

― Lewis Carroll, “Alice in Wonderland

8. “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

— Louisa May Alcott, “Little Women

9. “You must never feel badly about making mistakes … as long as you take the trouble to learn from them.”

― Norton Juster, “The Phantom Tollbooth

10. “All grown-ups were once children … but only few of them remember it.”

― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “The Little Prince

11. “I bet if you go through the rest of your life telling yourself, ‘I’m sparkling,’ you’ll have a whole different energy and experience.”

― Wendy Mass, “Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall

12. “I don’t understand it any more than you do, but one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t have to understand things for them to be.”

― Madeleine L’Engle, “A Wrinkle in Time

13. “Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child, Listen to the DON’TS

Listen to the SHOULDN’TS, The IMPOSSIBLES, the WONT’S

Listen to the NEVER HAVES, Then listen close to me—

Anything can happen, child, ANYTHING can be.”

— Shel Silverstein, “Where the Sidewalk Ends

(originally posted for MindBodyGreen)

Top 5 Books For Thriving This Winter

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Depending on where you live, winter can be a time of contraction – shorter days, less sunlight, colder weather.  It’s important to remain balanced, focusing on lifestyle strategies (e.g., nutrition, exercise, rest/relaxation) to promote optimal physical and emotional health.   One of my favorite wintertime activities is reading; curled up with a good book, by a warm fire, with nothing else to do or think about.  To help support your efforts to stay healthy and centered, here are my top 5 books to beat the winter blues.

1. Deirdre Imus – The Essential Green You!

In this book, the third volume in the terrific “Green This!” series, Deirdre shares tips on how to “green” the way you take care of yourself – the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the products you use every single day.  Motivating and practical.

2. Stephen Cope – The Great Work of Your Life

Cope, the Director of the Institute for Extraordinary Living at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, masterfully weaves real-life biographical sketches through this thoughtful examination of the Bhagavad Gita.  The Gita, an Sanskrit scripture and essential yogic text structured as a conversation between Arjuna and Krishna, covers a variety of complex theological and philosophical issues – but don’t let this scare you away!  Cope’s tale is very accessible yet profound, offering us a chance to consider our dharma – our calling – in order to live a fully present, authentic life.

3. Richard Louv – The Nature Principle

Do not let yourself suffer from Nature Deficit Disorder!  Louv, author of this follow-up to “Last Child in the Woods,” urges us to spend more time outdoors, noting, “A reconnection to the natural world is fundamental to human health.”  Read this book in between hikes in the snowy woods.

4. Brene Brown – Daring Greatly

First coming to prominence based on her folksy and provocative TED talks, “shame” researcher Brown forces us to reconsider the concept of vulnerability as a courageous path to “live wholeheartedly,” connecting with others in our lives.  As a physician, a parent and, simply, a person, I’ve found her teachings liberating, encouraging us to make peace with our imperfection.  It is our very humanity that makes us approachable and lovable – an important life-lesson we must model for our children.

5. The Arbinger Institute – The Anatomy of Peace

Struggling with conflicts at home or at work?  Who isn’t?  The think-tank that brought us the seminal “Leadership and Self-Deception” offers a road map to peace in this profoundly groundbreaking work.   The central concept – that it is our “way of being” that ultimately serves as the root of both war and peace – is embedded in a captivating tale of multigenerational, multi-family conflict between parents and children.  Read it as a story, yet consider all the while how you, in your relationships, can nurture a heart at peace.  Your life will never be the same.

(originally posted for the Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center)

Book Review: “The Thriving Child” by Erica Reid

This month, two of my professional worlds collide. As a busy primary care pediatrician, one of my greatest joys is collaborating with parents to help children be as healthy as they can be. As the pediatric columnist for KIWI, I am fortunate to receive review copies of parenting and children’s health books. Many of these books are well intentioned but for the first time ever, I felt compelled to make one—Erica Reid’s The Thriving Child—the subject of a blog post for “The Whole Child.”  The reason? This is the rare book that truly captures spirit of parent-pediatrician collaboration in a practical, integrative guide to optimizing your child’s health.

(Continue reading…)

The Magic of Reading

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When I was very young, my parents often read to me and encouraged me to read.  I especially loved John Ciardi’s “You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You,” alternating reading the poems with my parents.  I still vividly recall this one.

About the Teeth of Sharks 

The thing about a shark is—teeth,
One row above, one row beneath. 
 
Now take a close look. Do you find
It has another row behind? 
 
Still closer—here, I’ll hold your hat:
Has it a third row behind that? 
 
Now look in and…Look out! Oh my,
I’ll never know now! Well, goodbye. 

My wife and I started reading to our kids in utero.  Seriously – Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, Baby, the Places You’ll Go!: A book to be read in Utero.”  I’m sure Theodore Geisel is turning over in his grave, but it became a ritual for us.  To this day, one of my favorite evening activities is to sit and read stories together before bed, even though my kids are now old enough to read “Harry Potter” on their own and sometimes go to sleep after me.  There is and always has been something magical about reading stories.

When I was doing my pediatric residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, our pediatric clinic started a “Reach Out and Read” program.  Now a national initiative headed by writer and pediatrician Perri Klass, ROAR provides reading materials and support for literacy for underprivileged children.  The power of books was never more apparent to me.  In fact, research on ROAR demonstrates clear benefits, as noted on their web site.

  • Parents served by Reach Out and Read are up to four times more likely to read aloud to their children.
  • Children served by Reach Out and Read show significant developmental gains in language and a six-month developmental edge over their peers in the preschool years.
  • Children served by Reach Out and Read also score higher on vocabulary tests and school readiness assessments.

At the Whole Child Center, we made a conscious effort to stock our waiting and exam rooms not with toys but with books.  It’s heart-warming to walk into a room and see a parent reading with their child.  I often wonder if these moments are unique pockets in ever-busier lives.  Some of our families have asked for a list of our book titles here.  Here are ten of my favorites.  Happy reading!

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