Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

What Writers Can Learn from Good Night Moon

Written By: Jessica Morrell - Nov• 15•17

What stories are embedded in your memory? Why do they keep resonating as years go by?  In The Atlantic’s By Heart column Celeste Ng describes how she was influenced by Good Night Moon, a story she read again and again to her toddler son.  Read it here.

“For the first three years of his life, my son insisted on hearing Goodnight Moon before bedtime. Like most babies, he was not a good sleeper by disposition—but reading seemed to help, and this book specifically became part of his whole wind-down ritual. By now, I have read Goodnight Moon literally over a thousand times. As I read it again and again, I started to wonder: Why is this the book everybody feels a child must have? Why is this the book you’re sent by all your relatives and friends, people who must know you already have a copy—but want to give you another one, just in case?

It’s a very odd book, after all. There is no real story. The story is: The rabbit goes to bed. That’s it. The text is just a list of items, and the artwork has no action in it. And yet, it really does capture something for us. Something more powerful than just pure nostalgia could explain.

We cannot help but answer the question why which, for me, is the fundamental question of fiction.” 

keep writing, keep dreaming, have heart


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