Posts Tagged C.S. Lewis

Big Ideas in Middle-Grade Novels

Writers of children’s books are often asked: “When are you going to write a book for adults?” This is a question that almost always causes consternation on the part of the writer, the subtext being that children’s books are somehow lesser creations and offer little in the way of big ideas or insight into the human condition. Readers of children’s books, however, know the folly of such a question. Books for children contain much wisdom, the kind that those who ask the above question would do well to ponder. Here below are just a few such passages. There are so many more, and I’d love to hear your favorites in the comments section.


“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” – J.K. Rowling


“It’s our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – J.K. Rowling


“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









“Boredom is what happens to people who have no control over their minds.” – Rebecca Stead


“It is important that you say what you mean to say. Time is too short. You must speak the words that matter.” – Kate DiCamillo


“For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing: it also depends on what sort of person you are.” – C.S. Lewis









“You must never feel badly about making mistakes, explained Reason quietly, as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons than you do by being right for the wrong reasons.” – Norton Juster


“But remember, boy, that a kind act can sometimes be as powerful as a sword.” – Rick Riordan


“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.” – Lucy Maud Montgomery












“You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.” – E.B. White


“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” – Roald Dahl


“A mistake made with good in your heart is still a mistake, but it is one for which you must forgive yourself.” – Linda Sue Park









Inspiration for Famous Authors

Writers are often told to write what they know. Even if they end up writing fantasy, some of their real life often creeps into the story. I recently enjoyed a Children’s Literature Tour of England and Scotland to see the homes and work spaces of famous authors, and I was surprised to see the little details (or sometimes more) from their homes or towns that crept into their work. See if you can recognize any of these places from the books.

Lucy Boston Children of Green Knowe

Tolly arrives at Green Knowe, and this is his bedroom. He leaves his window open a little bit so a bird can fly in. Here’s the bird cage and toy chest too. The room Lucy Boston described in the book belonged to her son, Peter. They’ve kept the room the same so visitors to the house can see what it looked like long ago.








C. S. Lewis The Lion, The Witch, & the Wardrobe

When Lucy walks into the wardrobe, she heads toward a lamppost in the snow and meets a faun. When Author C. S. Lewis walked along this path in Oxford, he passed this lamppost. Can you imagine him seeing it on a snowy day? What’s even more interesting is that the porch posts on a nearby house have fauns carved into them. Could that be where he got his idea?

J. K. Rowling  Harry Potter

So many scenes in the Harry Potter books and movies are drawn from Oxford. Do these scenes from the Buttery, the Sorting Room, and the staircase look familiar? How about taking a ride on a steam train? Do you think any of these inspired J. K. Rowling?

Howard Pyle  Robin Hood

This giant oak still stands in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, England. Its branches are now propped up, but can you picture this mighty tree sheltering Robin Hood and his band of merry men?

Nancy Farmer  Sea of Trolls

The Holy Isle of Lindsifarne, a tidal island off the coast of England is cut off from the mainland during high tide. Visitors to the tiny town are trapped on the island until low tide. Isn’t this mysterious island the perfect setting for the Sea of Trolls trilogy?

Holiday Wishes and a Narnian Christmas!

Warmest Holiday Wishes from all of us here at the Mixed-Up Files! It’s time to celebrate the joys of the season with family and friends, but what do you do when the partying ends? Here are some fun, book-themed things to make while you’re on holiday break.

And since no book says “Christmas!” to me quite like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, here are activities based on it and other books in The Chronicles of Narnia.

Snowflakes Okay, I know this one isn’t Narnia-themed, but there are lots of sites for themed templates–we always do the new Star Wars flakes found here every year, and this site has an entire menagerie of simple animal flakes if you’d like to stay in keeping with the book.


Turkish Delight When I directed The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe a few years ago, one of the actor’s moms made Turkish Delight for the cast party. I can see why Edmund lost his head over the stuff–yum! Here’s an easy, microwavable recipe .

Mrs. Beaver’s Sticky Marmalade Roll It’s a testimony to Mrs. Beaver’s culinary talent that she was able to whip this comfort food up with such speed. Here’s a simple recipe from Astrid Tuttle Winegar that will help you give it a go, deary.

Many Coloured Sugar

Sweeter still is this “Many Coloured Sugar” craft based on the treat in Prince Caspian’s feast.

And if your taste turns more toward adventure, try your luck at making your own Dawn Treader! But before you cross into the wonderful world of Narnia, you’ll need to convert one of your leftover gift boxes into a Magical Wardrobe.

Once there, you’ll meet Aslan, the Great Lion. Here’s a video of how you can build him using origami. Or you could become Aslan yourself with this face paint tutorial. It wouldn’t be Narnia without Cair Paravel; here are some ideas for building your castle!

Remember: Once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia!

What’s your favorite holiday read ?


Louise’s daughters as a wolf and Mrs. Beaver in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Louise Galveston is the author of By the Grace of Todd and In Todd We Trust (Penguin/Razorbill.)