Sometimes adults ask me if I am conscious about word choice when writing for children: Do I deliberately choose a “small” word so that it doesn’t go over the reader’s head?
I shoot for the best word, no matter how small or large.
I believe that there is an organic process of learning language, which is called exposure. How do we learn “big” words? By hearing or seeing them used in context. I still recall the thrill of learning the word “salutations” when reading Charlotte’s Web. Imagine if E.B. White had deprived me of that thrill?
Kids are remarkable creatures and can handle just about anything.
While walking to the outdoor pool last week, I passed two boys, about seven years old, sitting on a fence, legs dangling. One boy’s flip-flop sandal fell off his foot, and he turned to his friend and said, in absolute deadpan, “I just lost my dignity.”