Writer’s Craft #7 – Vocab for young readers
I received an inquiry, by e-mail, about what sort of vocabulary is appropriate for young adult novels. So I asked my friend and fellow author Leslie Carmichael who writes for young people.
Here’s what Leslie ( http://www.lesliecarmichael.ca/) had to say:
I’ve been mulling over your question for a couple of days, and I’m not sure that I can help with vocabulary for age groups. I tend not to “write down” for kids. My books use words like “terse”, “obdurate”, “furtively”, “pungent”, etc. I figure part of my job is to increase vocabulary. The books are suitable for kids 8 and up, and adults seem to like them, too.
The June B. Jones books by Barbara Park are written in a style that uses words that much younger kids (preschoolers) might use — “runded” instead of “ran”, etc. They’re for beginning readers.
Hunting for recommended vocab by age group, I discovered “Children’s Writer’s Word Book” (http://www.amazon.com/Childrens-Writers-Word-Alijandra-Mogilner/dp/1582974136) which bases its recommendations on grade levels and/or age groups. Sounds like a useful resource, as reviews say it focuses on what publishers are looking for. But clearly there are different opinions on this topic.
Do you write for children (or YAs)? What kind of words do you use, or avoid using? Share some opinions or examples.