Last week, I shared the story of a children’s book manuscript that had an extremely advanced vocabulary. You can read my post RIGHT HERE.
I asked you guys and gals to weigh in with your opinions on this topic and we received more comments than any other article we’ve published this year! The vast majority of you stated that dumbing down children’s books is a bad idea.
Here are just a few of your comments:
“The simple fact of the matter is, if the parents are well educated, they will teach their kids long before they even start school.”
– Don Kent
“NO! Do not dumb down words for children to understand. If they don’t know what something means, they usually ask. Not only that, as a story is repeated over and over, they will “get it” pretty much anyway.”
– Lynn Duke
“Actually, I feel we should never dumb down anything for any age group. Use the language as intended, encourage questions, encourage research, etc. Let the story be the story.”
– A.R. Tolle
“I love the idea of a children’s book full of good vocabulary and a glossary! My grandchildren speak ‘older than their years’ and we think its a good thing.”
– Erika Wright
“I homeschooled my children and always purposefully filled our home library with books that were beyond their grade level. I enjoyed watching my son reach for and conquer books that expanded his vocabulary. Both my children became avid readers and often awed adults with their mastery of language.”
– Joy Steward
“I’m also an educator, so don’t get me started. My daughter was reading Harry Potter at seven, much to her teacher’s chagrin. I could wax on, but just wanted to give a shout out to NO DUMBING DOWN!”
– Terrie Leigh Relf
REPLY TO TERRIE FROM ANGELA: Our oldest was told to bring his favorite book to 1st grade so he could learn how to write a book report. His teacher called me later that evening, saying, “Did you know your son is reading The Stand by Stephen King?!” She thought it was not age-appropriate.
I told her, “If my kid wants to read a 1200-page novel then I am NOT going to stop him.” (He’d already read it three times.)
“Children develop receptive language skills before expressive language skills. Studies have shown that children who heard more words in early childhood had better overall language skills and success in school. I vote for vocabulary rich children’s books!”
– Carol Regli
“I don’t advocate dumbing down either vocabulary or concepts for young readers. Because we favored books that fell in line with our preferences, both of my children were reading well by age 4 and had excellent vocabularies. (When a sweet old lady spied my 3-1/2-year old shopping at a bookstore with me at 7 months pregnant, she asked my daughter so sweetly, ‘Well, are you going to get a little brother or a little sister?’ And my kid looked at her like she was the stupidest lady on earth and said, ‘Well I won’t know that until it comes out of my mother’s uterus, will I?'”
– Fran Levy
“I once knew a children’s book editor who told me, ‘When it comes to writing for children, you should always ‘play UP’ to your audience, never ‘down.'”
– Robert Lindsay
Read MANY MORE comments from our smart readers (all writers!!), and add your own, under THIS ARTICLE.
- DON’T DO IT! The Risks of Publishing a Children’s Book That Contains…
- 8 Paying Children’s Markets for Writers – by Biljana Tadic
- Paying Children’s Markets for Writers By Susan Sundwall
- From Baseball To Barnyards: Land A Contract Writing Children’s Non-Fiction Books! By Tyler Omoth
- Offering Your Writing Services as a Writing Tutor: How One Aspiring Children’s Book Author Solved the Steady Paycheck Dilemma By Mindy Hardwick
Got questions about Print On Demand and Self-publishing? Ask Angela Hoy.
About The Author
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the author of 19 books, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).
Angela lives on a 52' Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch (sailboat) with her family and pets. Keep up with her family's adventurous liveaboard lifestyle at GotNoTanLines.com
WritersWeekly.com - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.
BookLocker.com - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."
Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors.
PubPreppers.com - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!
Angela's POD Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.
Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)
See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.
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Read More Of Angela's Articles HERE
The Art and Craft of Writing and Editing
Writing is a constant dialogue between author and reader.
The craft of writing involves an interchange of emotions between an author and a reader. An author creates a story line, conflict, and characters, gives his characters words to speak, and then hands off these materials to a reader. This process results in a constant dialogue between the mental imagery produced by a reader and that proposed by the author.
Read more here: