Artful Language

By Sara Hoffmann
Senior Editor

OK, so depending on how often you stop by our blog, you may already know that I love the aesthetics of editing. Another (closely related) thing I’m crazy about is the artful language in school & library books. A lot of people might not realize how much artistry is there. We s&l editors often need to keep sentences short to support emergent readers—so we can’t always use the flowery language that you see in trade picture books. But I think s&l books have a special rhythm all their own.

Take these passages, for example:

Crunch! Crunch! What is making that sound? Someone is walking through crisp, dry leaves. Fall is here. Squirrels hop about, swishing their bushy tails. They gather smooth, brown acorns. Their cheeks are puffed up like popcorn balls.
—from Sheila Anderson’s Are You Ready for Fall? (an upcoming Spring 2010 release for Lerner)  

Smart, brave, and loyal. Those are super qualities to have. Someone who has those qualities would make a great friend. You might even want to meet a person like that. If so, you’re in luck! I can introduce you. You won’t be meeting a person though. You’ll be meeting a German shepherd dog.
—from Elaine Landau’s German Shepherds are the Best! (one of our new Fall 2009 titles)

Do you see the rhythm? I do! And it’s only one of the many reasons why I love s&l books.