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of the 101 best Web sites for writers by Writers Digest Magazine.
Writing About T-Rex and Other True Stories
A quick survey of the local magazine reveals adults are interested in money, celebrities and relationships. Children are interested in almost everything, which is why I love writing for them.
Children are naturally curious about the world around them. They want to know why the sky is blue why their cat can climb trees why their dog drinks out of the toilet and where China is. School, television, and now the Internet bombard children with information but they still crave more of the right kind.
Children because of the media are highly sophisticated and have a greater general knowledge than their parents did at their age. A good way to find out what children know is to read other books on the subject, including textbooks. Also talk to children in the age group you want to write for.
Many adults read children's nonfiction books and magazines because they want the basics without the jargon. Whenever I want to research a new topic, I always go to the children's section of the library first because they have the best books.
Dory R. Courtney a schoolteacher observes, "I know many adults who would rather read a children's article about a subject to get the main ideas without the technical jargon or long-winded explanations. They want clear, concise information, which children's nonfiction does very well."
If you are going to use Web sites, make sure they are accurate and updated frequently. Mayo Clinic and NASA are excellent updated Web sites. Many universities and museums also have frequently updated Web sites. You can contact experts through the Internet. If you do this make sure they are who they say they are and ask for their home phone number. Get the most recent books and magazines you can find on the subject. Contact professors and experts in a field and quote them in your article. Knowledgeable hosts check out all their links.
Dory R. Courtney says, "The main difference is probably in vocabulary, which to some extent dictates how detailed and in-depth an author can delve into a topic. Now, is vocabulary directly related to life experience and education? Probably."
Geoff Tanner an engineer and children's author explains "I try, in my writing, to not write down to a particular age level, but expect them to aspire upwards towards mine."
Children as young as eight can grasp certain abstract concepts like the difference between a fact, theory, and a hypothesis if the writer explains it clearly. They can also come to their own conclusions about how the dinosaurs died off. It's all right to show that scientists differ in their opinions on a subject because children often disagree with their friends, teachers, and parents.
Keep your writing clear, concise, simple, and informative.
One day my son came home with a school project on penguins. I pulled out my copy of my own article on the subject. He was able to find lots of interesting facts from my article. I was so proud and so was he!
Devorah Stone's passion for art led the way to a visual arts degree from the University of Victoria. Her true love for writing surfaced later, after marriage and three children. She has published articles on bread baking, online confessions booths, dancing hamsters, penguins, snow flakes, women Rabbis, weight lifting, high school graduation, Pokemons and life on other planets. A former Web reviewer for the Encyclopedia Britannica online guide, her articles, fiction and reviews have been widely published in Inklings, Folksonline, Highlights for Children, Chatelaine, Papyrus magazine, Amateur Chef and Straight Goods, among others. She was the Inkspot's Community Discussion Forum's Project Leader. She is currently the Historical Fiction Forum Host for the Writer's BBS.