I am working on a short fairy tale to submit for publication (sort of a breather from the novel, you might say).
Naturally the language is how I would tell it.
So I went through it with my Children’s Writer’s Word Book checking the words I guess to be more challenging than the others.
I was thinking I was doing alright, those iffy words were all acceptable at a 3rd- or 4th-grade level (and I wouldn’t want to force it lower than that), until I got to enchanted.
As in, “enchanted castle.”
Enchant is designated a 6th-grade word.
I called Natasha over and asked her if she knew what the word meant.
“Um, magic?” Good enough for me. Naturally I added my own bit (“Generally magic controlling something, but good.”)
I told her, “This book says you have to be 12 to know that word.”
She looked at the ceiling and laughed quietly. (It’s nap time so the other kids are asleep.)
“You can be four too,” she said, obviously pleased with herself.
Natasha’s already asked for it to be read aloud 3 or 4 times (there are no pictures yet, of course) so naturally that makes my mama-heart soar.
I checked the rest of the manuscript, but it looks like that’s the most challenging thing in there, so I think this thing’s ready enough to start sifting through publishers to look for a match.
ETA: This is the level of folktale/picture book I’ve been reading to my girls since the oldest was 3 or 4 (the little sis was still more of a “Mother Goose” girl at the time).
Now my 5-year-old reads them to her 3 1/2-year-old sister.
And the reads in the last paragraph is real, see-the-pictures-and-the-words expressive reading. (Ask me how I know if you need to.)
Reading aloud to your children is a powerful thing.