Sunday, 7 September 2014

Wedding readings from children's books by Abie Longstaff

You'll all have to forgive me digressing from serious book-writing issues: it's time for a little romance! (well, I do write fairy tale stories.)

I got married a couple of months ago (yay!) 
Walking down the aisle with my dad
Of course, being a children's author, I wanted to find a good reading from a book to use in the ceremony. So, I took to the net and the library for research. Here is a list of my top favourites:

From 'Oh the Places You'll go' by Dr Seuss 
Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own.  And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guys who'll decide where to go.


You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.
You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you'll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

From ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ by Margery Williams
“Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'

'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit.

'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.'

'Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, 'or bit by bit?'

'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.”

From ‘The House at Pooh Corner’ by A.A. Milne 
“Pooh” whispered Piglet.
“Yes, Piglet” replied Pooh.
“Nothing,” answered Piglet,
“I just wanted to be sure of you.”
“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.”
“It’s so much more friendly with two.”
“Pooh, promise me you won’t forget about me, ever. Not even when I am a hundred.”
Pooh thought for a little.
“How old shall I be then?”
Pooh nodded. “I promise,” he said.
“Some people care too much, I think it’s called love.”

From ‘The Amber Spyglass’ by Philip Pullman
"I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I’ll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again… I’ll be looking for you, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we’ll cling together so tight that nothing and no one’ll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you… We’ll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams… And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we’ll be joined so tight…”

We also liked The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear

But, in the end we chose this extract from The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint Exupery:

'And the fox said to the Prince:
"To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world … if you tame me, it will be as if the sun came to shine on my life. I shall know the sound of a step that will be different from all the others. Other steps send me hurrying back underneath the ground. Yours will call me, like music, out of my burrow. And then look: you see the grain-fields down yonder? I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the color of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat . . ."

The fox gazed at the little prince, for a long time.'

Me with my 5 sisters
 I'd love to hear more suggestions for children's book readings for weddings or funerals or other big events :)


Linda Strachan said...

Congratulations, Abie, wishing you many years of happiness together!
These are all lovely readings.
Another suggestion for a reading is No Matter What, by Debi Gliori,
My picture book What Colour is Love? has been read at several weddings that I know of and is on this wedding website

catdownunder said...

I went to a cousin's memorial service some time ago. Her daughter, barely an adult, read a picture book (Alison Lester's "The Magic Beach) they had often read together. It doesn't have any of the messages of the above quotes but it is a quiet, gentle story which gave us all a sense of the two them sitting there together and reading the nightly bedtime story.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations and what a lovely idea for a blog post! No one read an excerpt from a children's book at my wedding, but I wish they had. I would have chosen the excerpt from "The Little Prince" which is one of my favorites.

Abie Longstaff said...

Thanks everyone :)
Cat that story is lovely and heartbreaking at the same time. So sad.

Linda - 'What colour is love' is beautiful! Perfect for a wedding reading :))

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Nice to see a glorious stretch of kid-lit usage!

Pippa Goodhart said...

May you live happily ever after! congratulations!

Paeony Lewis said...

What a lovely idea and congratulations on your beautiful wedding, Abie. All the quotes are moving and I'm especially drawn to the simplicity of Pooh for a passage to be read aloud.
Long ago, when reading adult novels, I'd record sentences and paragraphs that moved me. Then someone on Radio 4 made a snide remark about immature teenage girls doing this sort of thing and I felt embarrassed and stopped. Why did I listen to that supercilious woman? Perhaps now I should do it with children's books as well as adult books.

Jane Clarke said...

Thanks for sharing these lovely quotes, Abie - wishing you a long and happy life together.

Anonymous said...

I chose an extract from the Little Prince at my wedding too! Congratulations on your excellent taste (and also getting married!)

Juliet Clare Bell said...

Yippee! Huge congratulations on getting married. How lovely and I love the picture of you and your five happy sisters. I went to a wedding with the Dr Seuss one, and when my mum died, we put No Matter What by Debi Gliori in the grave with her as it seemed so apt and she'd read it with her grandchildren. I read it over and over with one of my children for ages after she died. There's some fab stuff in those there picture books...