Can I use the word "brat" in a children's book?

by lisa
(hollywood, ca)

I'm writing a rhyme about a girl who is being a brat. Is the word "brat" too taboo to use in a children's book?

Comments for Can I use the word "brat" in a children's book?

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"Brat" in context
by: Steve B. (webmaster)

Lisa, here's one person's opinion...and it's not even a firm opinion.

I think the answer is It depends.

Depends on tone. Depends on context.

Is it meant to shock? Dehumanize? Who says it: a person whose opinion we're to trust, or a hateful character whose use of the word calls their own humanity into question?

It's a strong word, and as a writer, I'm a believer in strong words. But is strong what's called for?

You say it's a rhyme. I'm guessing it's not from the point of view of the "brat." If you're making a good case for the behavior being bratty, and if no rational kid would want to be behaving like this kid, I suspect you're okay.

(Refresh yourself on Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory if you want to see how poorly children can be depicted.)

Who is the audience? Has the character earned the label?

Frankly, I think the fact that the question occurred to you is a good indicator and a sign that YOU'RE the best person to decide.

One vote for "brat"
by: Anonymous

There was a really good story called, "I Love You, Stinky Face."

So I don't think brat is that bad.

It would depend on the context, I imagine, but I'm sure it's fine. My daughter has her brat days.

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What is the rule on use of 'around' and 'round'?

by Clive Bloor

Reading books and also in a "writing for children course," I get confused over the rule for using around and round. For example, "She ran round him." Shouldn't that be "She ran around him"?

I seem to understand it as "She turned around." This must be correct unless she turned into a ball. "She turned round."

But it seems the modern trend is not to run around a play field but to run round a play field.

So what is the correct use?


Clive, I'm with you. Round is proper; round is colloquial. Thus, if someone wanted to use round, you should put an apostrophe in front of it, so that it reads as a contraction, a colloquial shortening. Thus:

"She ran 'round him."

If someone writes otherwise, assume they writing on their d*mn phone!

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