What is a book dedication? Open a book, and you might flip right past the dedication. Or, you might be the kind to stop and read it. It might be curiosity that makes you pause —maybe the mere fact that it is a sentence alone on a white page.
For authors, a book dedication is time to recognize someone special. Often, it’s a person. Sometimes it’s more abstract or general. That’s what makes reading book dedication quotes so much fun . . . it’s a chance to see who authors view as influential to their work. And, as you’ll see, there’s often some humor along the way. Here are some of our favorite book dedication quotes.
11 Favorite Book Dedication Quotes
- Rick Riordan let humor creep into his book dedication. In the midst of a young adult series, he wrote
To my wonderful readers:
Sorry about that last cliff-hanger.
Well, no, not really. HAHAHAHA.
But seriously, I love you guys.The House of Hades
2. Sometimes it’s not just the readers in general who get recognized. Jane Austen in Emma caved to royal wishes in her dedication:
To His Royal Highness, The Prince Regent. This work is, by his Royal Highness’s permission, most respectfully dedicated by His Royal Highness’s dutiful and obedient humble servant, The Author.Emma
3. C. S. Lewis’s famous dedication in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe took a more epistolary turn.
My Dear Lucy, I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say, but I shall still be your affectionate Godfather, C.S. Lewis.The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
4. And then there’s Mitali Perkin’s simple dedication in You Bring the Distant Near. Her YA novel was nominated for the National Book Award and garnered six starred reviews as well as being School Library Journal’s Best Book of the Year, Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Book of the Year, and making the Horn Book Fanfare List.
Perkin’s book dedication is simple:
For Jacqueline Perkins Draine,
My American momYou Bring the Distant Near
Understated and powerful.
5. Sometimes a book dedication can be whimsical, and this is especially clear in children’s book dedication quotes. In Lloyd Alexander’s whimsical picture book The House Gobbaleen, he used the book dedication to set up the book’s theme.
For those who are lucky without knowing it.The House Gobbaleen
6. At other times book dedications are powerful. Cornelius Ryan’s classic book on D-Day, The Longest Day has a powerful yet simple dedication.
For all the men of D Day.The Longest Day
7. And while those are some of my favorites, let’s take a look at some more famous book dedications. P. G. Wodehouse, the famous British humorist, showed a glimpse at his family life in his dedication of Heart of a Goof:
To my daughter Leonora without whose never-failing sympathy and encouragement this book would have been finished in half the time.Heart of a Goof
8. On the romantic hand, Peter T. Leeson used the book dedication of “The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates” to propose . . .
Ania, I love you; will you marry me?The Invisible Hook
He gave her a copy, with a bookmark in the dedication page. For readers intrigued, he wrote more in the preface:
If I’ve succeeded in hiding my plans from her since writing this, she should be very surprised. I hope she says ‘yes.’ If she doesn’t, I might have to turn to sea banditry, which would be tough since I don’t know how to sail.The Invisible Hook
9. Agatha Christie had her eyes on her readers in the dedication of her second book (and mystery) The Secret Adversary.
To all those who lead monotonous lives, in the hope that they may experience at second hand the delights and dangers of adventure.The Secret Adversary
You know how it is. You pick up a book, flip to the dedication, and find that, once again, the author has dedicated a book to someone else and not to you.
Not this time.
Because we haven’t yet met/have only a glancing acquaintance/are just crazy about each other/haven’t seen each other in much too long/are in some way related/will never meet, but will, I trust, despite that, always think fondly of each other!
This one’s for you.
With you know what, and you probably know why.Anasi Boys
Another contemporary writer used his dedication to acknowledge a favorite author.
Ben Aaronvitch in his urban fantasy Foxglove Summer wrote:
This book is dedicated to Sir Terry Pratchett OBE who has stood like a wossname upon the rocky shores of our imaginations – the better to guide us safely into harbour.”Foxglove Summer
Not only was this a tribute, it was also an inside joke that excited many Pratchett fans!
Now you’ve seen a sampling of some famous and obscure book dedication quotes, you might be wondering how to write your own book dedication. Never fear, we wrote about that, too!
If you have a favorite book dedication quote that we didn’t mention, comment with it below. We love quotes and are always looking for new favorites.
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