We see and hear stories all the time about times when young children and kids say something so profound that we become convinced that they truly are smarter than most adults in the world today. Usually something so obvious that young children never know the strength in their own words.
I’ve found that it’s sometimes our youngest characters in books, stories and novels that have the biggest impact. Whether it’s something they do, say, or point out. And sometimes, they prove themselves to be much smarter than what adults give the, credit for — maybe even smarter than them.
Here are 11 quotes that prove exactly that.
1. “It’s okay to kiss people when you love them.”
“I don’t love your mother,” I tell her. “Not like that, anyway.”
“You give her all your french fries, even when she won’t give you back onion rings,” Sophie says. “And when you say her name it sounds different.”
Sophie thinks. “Like it’s covered in blankets.”
“I do not say your mother’s name like it’s covered in blankets. And I don’t always give her my french fries, because you’re right, she doesn’t share.”
“But you still don’t yell at her when she’s not being fair,” Sophie points out. “Because you don’t want to hurt her feelings.” She slips her hand into mine and repeats, “You love her.”
— Jodi Picoult, Vanishing Acts
Picoult is famous for her powerful young characters – at least in my eyes. A lot of her stories contain a young child that notices the most profound things that adults themselves have either missed or deny. Here, young school-girl Sophie can tell when a man has fallen in love with her mother and tells him so. She reminds us that it’s the simple and little things that show when we love someone — the things we don’t even realise we’re doing because they become almost like a natural response to those we love.
2. “You don’t have to say I love you to say I love you,” you said with a shrug. “All you have to do is say my name and I know.”
…”Can’t you hear it?” you said. “When you love someone, you say their name different. Like it’s safe inside your mouth.”
— Jodi Picoult, Handle with Care
Again, another Picoult quote. In her story Handle with Care, she writes about a very intelligent young school girl with Type III Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI). Despite being so young, she very eloquently describes what it’s like to love someone, and how anyone can tell when you are in love with someone. Here, Willow is basically telling her mother that when you love someone, it’s obvious with the way you speak about them, and think about them, and act around them: you don’t need to tell someone you love them, because it’s threaded through everything that you do, what you say. It’s written all over your face.
From the bestselling romance author, Nicholas sparks gives us a hilarious 10-year-old boy in his novel, The Last Song. Here, Ronnie is talking to her younger brother, Jonah, when she comes home late after being out. At first it just sounds like a brother missing his sister, but what Sparks shows through this young boy, is that sometimes it doesn’t matter how many other people are in a room if the one person you need isn’t there. Sometimes we all just need that one person to be there for us, and it doesn’t matter who else is there.
4. “If he did, it was all probably just part of his act. You know, to make people think he’s in love with me.”
“Oh,” says Rue thoughtfully. “I didn’t think that was an act.”
— Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games
We’ve all seen, or at least heard, of The Hunger Games, and we’ve all fallen in love with Collin’s 12-year-old sweet character Rue. But this is another moment where I didn’t just like her more, but also proved how children can be smarter than adults. Katniss is talking to her about Peeta, the boy who is madly in love with her. Convinced his feelings are all for show, she tells Rue she thinks that’s why he saved her life. Rue sees that, in fact, his feelings are not for show or for an audience. He loves her. Again, another moment where kids can see what adults can’t, or choose not to.
5. “You can believe something really hard,” Faith says, “and still be wrong.”
— Jodi Picoult, Keeping Faith
In her novel, Keeping Faith, Picoult writes about a 7-year-old girl who talks to God. I love this story from Picoult, and the young character of Faith gives us many profound lines that leave us contemplating our whole lives. This is one of them. It’s one of the most simplest, true yet profound statements that only a child can find so obvious.
Here, Charlie and his 12-year-old little brother, Sam, are going to a baseball game, and Charlie is trying to get the best seats to be able to get the best experience from the game. What he doesn’t realise, and what Sam tells him, is that what makes the experience great isn’t about getting the best seats: it’s about spending time and sharing that experience with his big brother. When we grow up we are quick to forget these kind of things that are obvious to young kids. In Sherwood’s story, this young boy reminds us that the simplest of things can be made extraordinary just by doing them with the right people.
Alice from Alice in Wonderland is assumed to be about seven years old, and even though the story is full of riddles, there are some things that Alice says that are quite profound – this being one of them. Carroll could have made Alice say this because he is trying to show that with each day Alice is becoming closer to finding her true self. This quote could also mean that Alice is growing up and each day she is becoming older and a little more different. Maybe Carroll could be trying to tell us through this quote that no one is ever the same person two days in a row. What I mean is, just because your happy or sad one day doesn’t mean you are going to be happy or sad the next.
8. “He’s acting like your boyfriend.”
“He’s not, okay?” She flipped to a new page.
“Then why is he sitting out there?” He cocked his head, trying to solve the riddle. “I mean, it’s just weird, don’t you think? Sitting out there for hours, waiting for you to talk to him.”
— Nicholas Sparks, The Last Song
Another quote from Nicholas Sparks’ The Last Song, and another conversation between Ronnie and her brother Jonah. He is basically telling her that the boy who is outside waiting on her loves her, or at least lakes her a lot. When she tries to deny it, he reminds her of the fact that he’s been waiting outside fro her for hours, and to him that’s what love is: when someone thinks you are worth waiting for.
9. “How do you tell an adult that maybe everything wrong in the world stems from the fact that she’s stopped believing the impossible can happen?”
―- Jodi Picoult, Between the Lines
In her Young Adult fiction book, Between the Lines, Picoult writes from the perspective of a 16-year-old girl called Delilah. Although being 16 means you aren’t really classed as a “child”, you’re not technically and “adult” either. This is a story full of magic, amazement and wonder and what she shows here is a value that most people loose when they grow up into adults: anything is possible if we fight hard enough to make it happen.
10. “Once upon a time there were two sisters. One of them was really, really strong, and one of them wasn’t.” You looked at me. “Your turn.”
I rolled my eyes. “The strong sister went outside into the rain and realised the reason she was strong was because she was made out of iron, but it was raining and she rusted. The end.”
“No, because the sister who wasn’t strong went outside into the rain when it was raining, and hugged her really tight until the sun came out again.”
— Jodi Picoult, Handle with Care
This is the last Picoult quote that I wanted to share (I promise!) and thought I’d save my favourite one for last. Back to her novel, Handle with Care, only this time young Willow is having a conversation with her big sister. Together they are making a story, each taking off where the other left off. What Willow does here in her last sentence, is show that every single person is strong in their own way, and reminds us that with a little bit of love, everyone can be saved. As well as, obviously, showing us what inner strength is, even if you aren’t physically strong, and how much stronger that can actually be.
11. “It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.”
— Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Back to our 7-yer-old who fell down a rabbits hole, Alice says here what every single person on the planet has thought at some point or another. When we’re younger, things rarely make sense, and we look to adults to explain our world because they seem to have it all figured out. Truthfully, that’s a complete façade. Most of the time, adults pretend to always know whats going on. So Alice is just voicing what everyone – adults and children alike – are thinking.