I love reading book dedications. They are so commonly used, that you may be tempted to skip past the same old, “to my dearest so and so for all your love and affection without whom blah blah blah.”
But if you do skip them, you’ll miss out on the great ones. It’s an art form in itself. To make you laugh or cry in just a few words.
The best book dedications can be as powerful as (or even more than) the entire book to which they belong. Here are some great ones (No. 1 and 2 are my favorite):
1. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
To Leon Werth.
I ask children to forgive me for dedicating this book to a grown-up. I have a serious excuse: this grown-up is the best friend I have in the world. I have another excuse: this grown-up can understand everything, even books for children. I have a third excuse: he lives in France where he is hungry and cold. He needs to be comforted. If all these excuses are not enough, then I want to dedicate this book to the child whom this grown-up once was. All grown-ups were children first. (But few of them remember it.) So I correct my dedication:
To Leon Werth
when he was a little boy.
2. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
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
3. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
4. Austenland by Shannon Hale
For Colin Firth
You’re a really great guy, but I’m married,
so I think we should just be friends.
5. House Of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
This is not for you.
6. An Introduction To Algebraic Topology by Joseph J. Rotman
To my wife Marganit
and my children Ella Rose and Daniel Adam
without whom this book would have
been completed two years earlier
7. The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer
for being my first editor
and giving me the best writing advice
I’ve ever received: “Christopher,
I think you should wait until you’re done
with elementary school before worrying
about being a failed writer.”
Which is your favorite?
Is there one you’d like to share with me?
Let me know by posting a comment below!
I thought I always read the dedication, but after reading these quirky ones, I am going to pay even more attention.
When I dedicated my children’s prayer book, My Whole Self Before You, to my children, the dedication to my oldest was obvious:
To my daughter, Katherine, whose pure and simple love for Jesus inspired this prayer.
But to include my second child, the dedication needed to be:
To my son, Justin, whose tender heart and impish ways reinforced the need for this prayer.
When I asked for his honest thoughts, Justin replied, “Someday when I write a book, I am going to include whatever I want.”
So we went to print.