Where new writing finds its voice
The List

Writers on ‘the curly, dimpled lunatic[s]’ of infancy.

Felicity Cloake

‘There was never a child so
lovely but his mother was glad
to get him to sleep.’

– Ralph Waldo Emerson


  1. ‘When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness’ sake. But don’t make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion quicker than adults, and evasion simply muddles ’em.’
    – Harper Lee

  2. ‘Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.’
    – William Makepeace Thackeray

  3.  ‘Adam and Eve had many advantages, but the principal one was that they escaped teething’
    – Mark Twain

  4.  ‘A torn jacket is soon mended; but hard words bruise the heart of a child.’
    – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  5. ‘Above all, though, children are linked to adults by the simple fact that they are in process of turning into them. For this they may be forgiven much. Children are bound to be inferior to adults, or there is no incentive to grow up.’
    – Philip Larkin

  6. ‘Mothers are fonder than fathers of their children because they are more certain they are their own.’
    – Aristotle

  7. ‘Adults are obsolete children.’
    – Dr Seuss

  8. ‘Behold the child, by nature’s kindly law, pleased with a rattle, tickled with a straw.’
    – Alexander Pope

  9. ‘Alas! regardless of their doom, the little victims play! No sense have they of ills to come nor care beyond today.’
    – Thomas Gray

  10. ‘Children aren’t happy with nothing to ignore, and that’s what parents were created for.’
    – Ogden Nash

  11.  ‘I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child, well nursed, is at a year old, a most delicious, -nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout.’
    – Jonathan Swift

  12. ‘There is no sinner like a young saint.’
    – Aphra Behn

  13. ‘How little is the promise of the child fulfilled in the man.’
    – Ovid

  14. ‘When children are doing nothing, they are doing mischief.’
    – Henry Fielding

  15. ‘It is no wonder that people are so horrible when they start their life as children.’
    – Kingsley Amis