21 of the Best Opening Lines in Children’s Books

Love at first line…

best opening lines books

The very first sentence of a story can be extremely powerful. It can stick with you for days, weeks, even years. As you teach writing and journaling in your own classroom, we pulled together some of the most memorable, fun, creative, and best opening lines books for children and teens have to offer.

We hope they encourage your own students to really push themselves the next time they start a story.


1.Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White


“Where’s Papa going with that ax?”


2. Feed by M.T. Anderson


“We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.”

3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

“In the light of the moon, a little egg lay on a leaf.”

4. Imogene’s Antlers by David Small

“On Thursday, when Imogene woke up, she found she had grown antlers.”

5. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

“In an old house in Paris, that was covered with vines, lived 12 little girls, in two straight lines.”

6. Holes by Louis Sachar

“There is no lake at Camp Green Lake.”

7. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis and Chris Van Allsburg

“There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb and he almost deserved it.”

8. Seven Wonders Book 1: The Colossus Rises by Peter Lerangis

“On the morning I was scheduled to die, a large barefoot man with a bushy red beard waddled past my house.”

9. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

“Once upon a time, there was a pair of pants.”

10. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

“First of all, let me get something straight: this is a journal, not a diary.”

11. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

“It was a dark and stormy night.”

12. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

13. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

“The Herdmans were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world.”

14. Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting

“My dad and I live in an airport.”

15. The Teacher’s Funeral by Richard Peck

“If your teacher has to die, August isn’t a bad time of year for it.”

16. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

“Not every 13-year-old girl is accused of murder, brought to trial, and found guilty.”

17. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

“If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book.”

18. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

19. Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea

“Things are a lot different around here since that Unicorn moved in.”

20. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

“The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day.”

21. The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

“Chug, chug, chug. Puff, puff, puff. Ding-dong, ding-dong.”