Monday, July 4, 2011
Kids Can Figure Things Out For Themselves! Really!
Why do so many publishers underestimate the intelligence and intuition of children? When a book is set in another time and/or another place it's very jarring to suddenly read a modern phrase or sentence structure that propels you back into the here and/or now. In England it's common to say 'out of the window' and 'at the back of the house,' not 'out the window' or 'in back of the house.' A child will understand the difference or figure it out. 'Sidewalk' is North American and 'pavement' is English. The context will make the meaning clear. Please don't insult the child by assuming you need to translate! With more difficult words or concepts there's nothing wrong with a footnote. I'm reading a very good book for young readers which takes place in Victorian London. Unfortunately, now and then, a word appears out of time and place. The narrator uses the word 'bangs' to describe her hairdo but the word is 'fringe' in England. Even without an explanation the meaning of the word 'fringe' is easy to figure out. So editors, please don't talk down to the kids. They want a challenge.