Childish or childlike?

A childish book, like a childish person, is limited, unspontaneous, closed in . . . But the childlike book, like the childlike person, breaks out of all boundaries. And joy is the key. Several years ago we took our children to Monticello, and I remember the feeling we all had of the fun Jefferson must have had with his experiments, his preposterous perpetual clock, for instance: what sheer, childlike delight it must have given him. Perhaps Lewis Carroll was really happy only when he was with children, especially when he was writing for them. Joy sparks the pages of Alice [in Wonderland], and how much more profound it is than most of his ponderous works for grownups . . . But in the battering around of growing up the child gets hurt, and he puts on a shell of protection; he is frightened, and he slams doors.

Real maturity lies in having the courage to open
doors again, or, when they are pointed out,
to go through them.

–Madeleine L’Engle

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