A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

(New York: Harper, 1943, 2005), 493

"Some people called it the Tree of Heaven. No matter where it's seed fell, it made a tree which struggled to reach the sky. It grew in boarded-up lots and out of neglected rubbish heaps and it was the only tree that grew out of cement." (6, ch 1)

"She was reading one book a day and not skipping the dry ones." (22, ch 2)

"Before they went to bed, Francie and Neeley had to read a page of the Bible and a page from Shakespeare. That was a rule. Mama used to read the two pages to them each night until they were old enough to read for themselves. To save time, Neeley read the Bible page and Francie read from Shakespeare. They had been at this reading for six years and were halfway through the Bible and up to Macbeth in Shakespeare's Complete Works." (51, ch 6)

"She was the book she read in the library." (72, ch 8)

"The secret lies in the reading and the writing. You are able to read. Every day you must read one page from some good book to your child. Every day this must be until the child learns to read. Then she must read every day, I know this is the secret...There are two great books. Shakespeare is a great book. I have heard tell that all the wonder of life is in that book; all that man has learned of beauty, all that he may know of wisdom and living are on those pages..." (83, ch 9)

"Before you die, you must own a bit of land—maybe with a house on it that your child or your children may inherit." (85, ch 9)

"It's a beautiful religion and I wish I understood it more. No. I don't want to understand it all. It's beautiful because it's always a mystery, like God Himself is a mystery." (398, ch 45)

"But good or bad, I am a Catholic and I'll never be anything else. Of course, I didn't ask to be born a Catholic, no more than I asked to be born an American. But I'm glad it turned out that I'm both these things." (398, ch 45)

“She liked keeping her mind free while she worked with her hands” (ch 48)

“...it’s no good to bring up one child alone” (440, ch 50)

"Look at everything always as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time: Thus is your time on earth filled with glory." (476, ch 55)

Jacquelyn Mitchard introduction: required reading for her boys includes A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Little Women, National Velvet, and The Catcher in the Rye