Turning to children’s literature for comfort

Image credit: DariuszSankowski

On 9 November 2016, facing a future Trump presidency, Twitterati turned to Harry Potter for comfort. People were comparing the current political climate to the state of the wizarding world when Lord Voldemort rises to power in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It is understandable that people are connecting with Harry Potter because the wizarding world provides a strong sense of comfort for those who grew up with the series.

For centuries, children’s literature has served the purpose of entertainment and education. These texts reflect social culture and carry powerful ideological messages. However, they are not just for kids. Just because we get older doesn’t mean the life lesson we learn from children’s literature are any less important. Sometimes, the stories can take on a whole new meaning as we reread them as an adult.

I asked some of my awesome friends to share with us their favourite lines from children’s literature on wellbeing. Here are some beautiful replies.

1. “You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing.”Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

“Nothing really helps when you are feeling low but having a friend at your side is a tremendous thing. Sometimes we don’t realise what a big impact it can have when someone is struggling just by being there for them.” Submitted by Beka Kimberley, Homerton

2. “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

“Everyone has those moments where they can start overthinking things they have said or done and feel embarrassed or worried. Personality is not fixed, and you aren’t defined by your past achievements or flaws. The only thing you can control is the present moment, so you’ve got to make the most of that.” Submitted by Victoria Mullins, Clare Hall

3. “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien

“This really works for all kinds of situations from the truly stressful, freaking out about time passing by too quickly or just trying to feel more present in and celebrating the moment. Tolkien’s words also act as a reminder that there are only certain things in your control, and to let those things outside of your control go.” Submitted by Danielle Cameron, Pembroke

4. “Courage, dear heart.”The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis

“It reminds me that in the Christian faith, God is one of love and power. I think it’s a beautiful encouragement and that God has never forgotten and is always with us.” Submitted by Rebecca Martin, Christ’s

5. “Have courage and be kind.”Cinderella (2015)

“We all need a little bit of courage for ourselves and have a little bit of faith in what we can do. We need kindness for others to challenge stereotypes, misconceptions and break down barriers. Maybe, just maybe, that can make the world a better place. ” Submitted by Claire Kierath, Hughes Hall

6. “You know, you really should watch your blood pressure. My nephew Izzy just keeled over mid-mango. Stress, it’s a killer, sir. And he was a fruit bat.” Anastasia (1997)

“Whether you are a fruit bat or not, always put your health first and don’t forget to take very good care of yourself. Everyone can be overtaken by stress sometimes, but your health is what matters most.” Submitted by Sara Bormolini, Sidney Sussex

7. “Sometimes, there is no harm in putting off a piece of work until another day.”The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“These are very wise words and show the correct attitude for work. Work should only take up a part of our lives, not the whole of it.” Submitted by Miu Ho

8. “It just makes me feel glad to be alive.” Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

“Anne’s constant optimism can be grating but sometimes it feels that deciding to notice and accept is much easier on the body than to fight against.” Submitted anonymously

In times of stress or adversity, I would strongly recommend anyone to escape from the adult world and get lost in children’s literature.

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