3 Quotes that Show Why Children’s Stories Really Matter

Sometimes, it may be tempting to think that the main objective of children’s stories is to just keep kids entertained. While entertainment is not bad, so much more is going on when children are introduced to the wider world through stories. The quotes below focus on “fairy tales” because they are one of the oldest and most powerful genres of children’s story. I hope you enjoy!

1: “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be even more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” -attributed to Albert Einstein.

The term “fairy tale” has an unfortunate association today with Disney stories that have the reputation for being disconnected with reality. But, traditionally, fairy tales were the stories that confronted the evil and darkness of reality the most. Fairy Tales are stories that view the world as a place full of mystery and magic. That’s why it makes sense that Einstein might have said this quote. If children grow up with stories that tell them the world is brimming with magic and mysteries, they would naturally develop a mind of curiosity, wonder, and a willingness to explore new and strange ideas. These qualities can become a really powerful kind of intelligence.

2: “Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.” -G.K. Chesterton

But beyond just developing intelligence, good fairy tales confront the evil that all children already sense in the world. Chesterton’s word “bogey” means “phantom” or a source of fear–it’s that feeling we all remember from being a child alone in our bed when we are pretty sure we can see something moving in the muffled darkness of our closet. Fairy tales acknowledge the reality of dragons and phantoms, but then they show that the power of goodness and love are actually stronger–and that is the only source of true courage.

3: “Fairy Tale does not deny the existence of sorrow and failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance. It denies (in the face of much evidence, if you will) universal final defeat…giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy; Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.” -J. R. R. Tolkien

Fairy tales can show children the realness of things. What they do matters. They can succeed or fail. Dreams can come true, or dreams come crashing down. But the most powerful thing that a child can learn from fairy tales is that there can be hope, “a fleeting glimpse of Joy,” even when all the world is dark around them.

While not all good stories have to be fairy tales, these key qualities of fairy tales are good things to look for in any story.┬áCuriosity and wonder, courage, and hope are all possible to learn through good stories. That’s why in upcoming posts, I am excited to explore some of the best titles that have these powerful qualities!

Thanks for reading!


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  1. loveandlists says:

    I absolutely love quotes so your use of them in this post was so enlightening! Plus, I have always been a strong believer in the power of fairytales, and I am glad to see I’m not the only one ­čÖé

  2. Abel Tirado says:

    I’m such a pragmatist that I always encourage non-fiction books. This made me reconsider my thoughts. Thanks for the great post.

  3. Kim Dugan says:

    Well thought and opens the mind to enchantment…. thank you!

    1. thelucylibrary says:

      Thank you so much!

  4. Jonathan D Head says:

    The true fairy tales are surprising, jarring, and unpredictable. That’s because they were told to children by amateurs who were a little weary and a little sad, but sustained by a deeper truth: the world is far more magical and unpredictable than we can grasp. Sometimes, that means that you’re the hero; most times, it seems that you’re the one guy just before the hero arrives. The main thing, though, is that he shows up.

    1. thelucylibrary says:

      Thank you so much for this insight! It is true that many of the old fairy tales have a “weariness” about them, even while there is depths of hope behind it all. This weariness is easy to misinterpret. I am not a fan of many versions of Grimm’s fairy tales for instance because sometime they come across as, frankly, cynical. But other stories show hope and wonder even in the midst of darkness. I like your interpretation of this as weariness and sadness “sustained by deeper truth” in an unpredictably magical world! I would be eager to hear if there are certain fairy tales that have shown this kind of meaning most to you. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

  5. Dolores says:

    There are books in your own home about so-called “fairy tales” telling the story of our Christian faith. We are in the Christmas season. How many times will we hear “The Twelve Days of Christmas”? Some people explain that this is how the faith was kept alive during times of persecution. Some people say that is not so. By going through the song, and studying each one of the symbols, we will have a firm understanding of our faith in the short span of 12 days.

    1. thelucylibrary says:

      Thank you for this insight! There are layers of meaning in so many Christian traditions, hymns, and stories. I would love to learn more about this. Stories and symbols are such powerful tools of meaning.

  6. Magic making, wonder stirring, this idea I love!

    1. thelucylibrary says:

      “Wonder stirring” – what a beautiful phrase! I think that really strikes at the heart of what is so special about stories! Thank you so much!

  7. Mike McKenna says:

    I still remember your senior thesis. I see shades of it here! Good job, and keep writing!

    1. thelucylibrary says:

      Thank you so much, Mr. McKenna!

  8. Alyssa Hudson says:

    I also enjoyed the quotes you used! Great read.

    1. thelucylibrary says:

      Alyssa, Thank you so much! Glad to hear that you enjoyed the quotes!

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