The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Coretta Scott King

CorettascottkingThis week, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, we celebrate some well-spoken quotes from Coretta Scott King (1927 -2006. The wife of Dr. Martin Luther King, Mrs. King was an activist in her own right, and continued to work for social justice long after her husband’s death. In 1969 her name was given to one of the most prestigious children’s book awards, The Coretta Scott King Book Awards. Her accomplishments are too many to mention here, but you can read more about them HERE.

Coretta Scott King Quotes:

  • Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe that you must become its soul.
  • If American women would increase their voting turnout by ten percent, I think we would see an end to all of the budget cuts in programs benefiting women and children.
  • I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice. But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
  • The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members, … a heart of grace and a soul generated by love.
  • Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.

We were honored to interview one writer whose book, Ellen’s Broom, was a recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration here on NCR. Click here to see the interview with Kelly Starling Lyons.

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: College Quotes

Because we had a lot of interest in the last college-related post, I thought it’d be fun to feature college-related quotes this week. Man, what a task! I found tons of quotes about college. But most of them were very…. jaded… to say the least. Sure there are things I’d change about my own college experience, but do I wish I hadn’t gone to college: No! Did my education help me get a job: Yes! (Okay, truthfully, I did have to get a MA to get a real job, but I couldn’t have done that without college first.)  The point is, there is a dearth of inspirational college quotes, so if any of you have something witty and uplifting about your college experiences, there is room for your wisdom in the bank of quotes out there. Of course some quotes are collected just because they are funny. Like the last one here. True, but funny.

Quotes About College

A liberal-arts education is supposed to provide you with a value system, a standard, a set of ideas, not a job.
Caroline Bird

For college seniors there should be a week of being allowed to cry. Just break down and cry because you are scared and don’t know what’s next. Bill Cosby

My parents are both college professors, and it made me want to question authority, standards and traditions. Maya Lin

I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. Steve Jobs

I went to college because I didn’t have anywhere else to go and it was a fabulous hang. And while I was there I was exposed to this world that I didn’t know was possible. Tom Hanks

A professor is one who talks in someone else’s sleep.  W.H. Auden

We’d love comments about your college experiences! 😉

The Quotable Nerdy Character

A few weeks ago, I did a workshop on creating believable contemporary characters, and in the research process, I found a lot of inspirational quotes for writers — and readers. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!


“When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.”

― Ernest Hemingway

“Your source material is the people you know, not those you don’t know, but every character is an extension of the author’s own personality.”

― Edward Albee

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”

― Mark Twain

“Characterization is an accident that flows out of action and dialogue.”

― Jack Woodford

Picture1“When you’re with your wife, you don’t say I love you to your wife every day but the ways you look at her and your actions are another way to communicate. Don’t focus on dialogue, only focus on what you’re expressing.”

― Michel Hazanavicius

“I tend to relate to a character in terms of the arc: what’s interesting is where he starts versus where he ends up .”

― Edward Norton

“If you’re writing about a character, if he’s a powerful character, unless you give him vulnerability I don’t think he’ll be as interesting to the reader.”

—Stan Lee

What do you think? Are you ready to pick up your pencil (or open up your laptop) and get creating?



If you haven’t already, please remember to check out The Busy Librarian’s podcast featuring ME and enter the newest Nerdy Chicks GIVEAWAY!


The Quotable Nerdy Dad

In honor of Father’s Day, here are some quotes by fathers on fatherhood (and possibly some tips on how to raise a Nerdy Chicklet!)…


“The fundamental defect of fathers, in our competitive society, is that they want their children to be a credit to them.”

Bertrand Russell 00000160


“Fathers, like mothers, are not born. Men grow into fathers and fathering is a very important stage in their development.”

David Gottesman


00000016“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”

Henry Ward Beecher 


“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

Mark Twain



“Fathers, be good to your daughters. You are the god and the weight of her world.”00000161

John Mayer


Happy Father’s Day, to all the men out there who play an important role in the life of a child, especially my own Dad. We love you!







The Quotable Nerdy NJSCBWI

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the New Jersey Society of Children’s Book Writers and illustrators conference in Princeton, NJ. I will be posting more from the weekend, but here are some quotes that really inspired me from (mostly) chicks at the conference:


“Listen—we writers are one. We all share a common goal—to tell the best story we possibly can. I strive to do that every day, and so do you. There is no divide.” Tara Lazar, author of The Monstore

“I get my ideas from living.” Peter Brown, creator of The Curious GardenChildren Make Terrible Pets and You Will Be My Friend!

“Reading books is fantastic homework.” Ame Dyckman, author of Boy + Bot SAMSUNG CSC

“Writing every day helps you build up a tolerance for it. Kind of like drinking every day.” Lauren Oliver, author of Before I Fall and the Delirium series


“Like moving deck chairs on the Titanic.” Simone Kaplan of Picture Book People, on trying to change only words in a flawed manuscript

SAMSUNG CSC“If you want to be big, think big.” Joyce Wan, creator of You are my Cupcake and We Belong Together

“We are in the golden age of children’s non-fiction.” Betsy Bird, librarian and blogger extraordinaire

“I’m on muscle relaxants.” ANONYMOUS

Do you have any quotes from the conference that inspired you?

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Julia Ward Howe

julia howe

Since yesterday was Memorial Day, I searched for patriotic women to quote, and I stumbled across Julia Ward Howe, who not only wrote a song familiar to many of us, but fought for women’s rights. Here’s a little more about her.

Julia Ward Howe (1819=1910) was the author of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. She was inspired to write it in 1861 after meeting President Lincoln. A poet and social activist, she became the first woman to be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She advocated for women’s education, forming the Association of American Women and serving as its president from 1876 to 1897. To find out more about her, you can read her biography HERE.

Julia Ward Howe Quotes:

The strokes of the pen need deliberation as much as the sword needs swiftness.

Ambitious people climb, but faithful people build.

When I see the elaborate study and ingenuity displayed by women in the pursuit of trifles, I feel no doubt of their capacity for the most herculean undertakings.

I think nothing is religion which puts one individual absolutely above others, and surely nothing is religion which puts one sex above another.

Every life has its actual blanks, which the ideal must fill up, or which else remain bare and profitless forever.


I have to laugh at that third quote… so true so often. And sadly, so often true of myself. I’m going to try to remember that next time I obsess about something unimportant!

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Joyce Banda

Photo credit: Lindsay Mgbor/Department for International Development

Photo credit: Lindsay Mgbor/Department for International Development


In 2009, a former secretary named Joyce Banda became the first female vice president of the country of Malawi. That itself is an amazing accomplishment, but Joyce is an amazing woman — she followed this up in 2012 by becoming the first female president of Malawi (and only the second woman to be elected president of an African country).

Committed to her citizens, especially the women of Malawi, Joyce has spent years working both in and out of politics to improve living conditions in her country. She is the founder of several organizations such as the Joyce Banda Foundation for Better Education, the Young Women Leaders Network, National Association of Business Women and the Hunger Project in Malawi. In 2006, she was given the International Award for the Health and Dignity of Women by the Americans for United Nations Population Fund for her dedication to the rights of the women of Malawi. Notably, even as president Joyce does not consider herself above her fellow citizens and she is willing to share in their struggles in real ways. When Malawi had to implement austerity measures in 2012 to try to get the country’s economy back on track, Joyce herself took a voluntary 30% cut in her salary.

Quotes from Joyce Banda:

  • “Africa is changing…and we are doing better than most countries. America is still struggling to put a woman in the White House, but we have two, so we’re doing fine.”
  • “It is only when a women is economically empowered that she can negotiate at household level with her husband about the number of children that body of hers can have.”
  • “I had three children, in an abusive marriage. And then finally I said, no. I have to walk out. For the sake of my children… So for me when I talk about the importance of economic empowerment of women, it’s because I tried it.”
  • “I want all of us to move into the future with hope and with the spirit of oneness and unity… I hope we shall stand united and I hope that as a God-fearing nation we allow God to come before us, because if we don’t do that then we have failed.”

Learn more about Joyce Banda here.

Quotes to Give You Hope

I wasn’t very long ago that my co-blogger wrote about being hard-hit by the news and needing to find HOPE.  And here we are again, many of us with hearts bleeding for Boston and Texas and other places around the world where despair rages. As long as we keep getting news, we’ll never have a shortage of despair, it seems. And as long as we have despair, we’ll need to cling to hope. So instead of our usual Quotable Nerdy Chick Feature, this week I wanted to share what some great people have said hope.

Alexandre Dumas:

There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must of felt what it is to die … that we may appreciate the enjoyments of life.  — Alexandre Dumas


Emily Dickinson:

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.


J.R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings :

The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places. But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.


Martin Luther King Jr. :

“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”


Michelle Obama :

You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.


 Langston Hughes:

Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird,
That cannot fly.


Sunsets like this one in Beaufort somehow give me hope.

Sunsets like this one in Beaufort somehow give me hope.


The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Vera Wang

verawang1Vera Wang (b. 1949) is an American fashion designer. A former figure skater, she started her design career in 1971 with Vogue magazine and then worked as a design director for Ralph Lauren.  Wang has been awarded many honors including being named Womenswear Designer of the Year by The Council of Fashion Designers of America. Celebrities such as Halle Berry and Meg Ryan have worn her designs. To learn more about this fabulous designer click HERE.

Vera Wang Quotes:

  • Ready-to-wear is what I’ve wanted to do since the beginning…I’m not a girl who spends my life in a ballgown
  • A woman is never sexier than when she is comfortable in her clothes.
  • As the mother of two daughters, I have great respect for women. And I don’t ever want to lose that.
  • Design is about point of view, and there should be some sort of woman or lifestyle or attitude in one’s head as a designer.
  • When you have a passion for something then you tend not only to be better at it, but you work harder at it too.

Every time I see a Vera Wang dress I love it. What an eye for line she has! And I agree with what she says about passion too….

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Isak Dinesen

isak Isak Dinesen is the pen name use by  Karen Blixen (1885-1962). She  was a Danish author and explorer. She is best known for her autobiographical book, Out of Africa, about her time in Kenya. To find more interesting facts click HERE.  Isak Dinesen Quotes:

  • The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.
  • When you have a great and difficult task, something perhaps almost impossible, if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, suddenly the work will finish itself.
  • The entire being of a woman is a secret which should be kept.
  • To be a person is to have a story to tell.
  • Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before, how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever…

How much do you love that first quote? I think it might be my new favorite!

*Photo Credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Carl Van Vechten Collection, [reproduction number, e.g., LC-USZ62-54231]