Duke TIP

A Guide to Children's Literary Magazines

August 18, 2006

Literary magazines—periodicals that offer talented young writers, photographers, and other artists a venue for their creations—are the topic of this issue’s review. With gifted middle schoolers in mind, I looked at two periodicals targeted at girls and two at boys and girls alike.

New Moon: A Magazine for Girls and Their Dreams aims to keep girls focused on their strengths and dreams throughout adolescence, when many girls abandon them under the pressure of social expectations. Each issue focuses on a broad theme, such as changes or differences in their lives. An editorial board of 20 girls, aged 8–14, works with adults in editing materials submitted by girls and by professional writers. The editors contribute regular columns, such as book reviews, spotlights on famous women in history, reflections on female health and body image issues, items about women in traditionally male careers or activities, and “Ask a Girl,” an advice column.

New Moon has won numerous awards, including the Multicultural Children’s Publication Award for 2001 and the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation’s Eleanor Roosevelt Award for 2001. Its strength lies not in its literary content, however, but in its positive focus. While New Moon does contain original poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and art, its focus is much broader than the arts and creativity.

By contrast, Dream/Girl is devoted to the creative arts. It seeks “to provide girls with the most . . . interesting Arts and Literary information around.” From cover to cover Dream/Girl encourages creativity in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, photography, art, dance, and music. It is positive and casual in tone, and the original literary contributions show depth, insight, and artistic merit. Regular features include profiles of women leading the artist’s life; “The Mother/Daughter Book Club” and “Booklife,” both book review columns; “The Writing Life,” containing inspiration and practical advice on such topics as starting a writing group or “rules for poets to live by”; and “In My Room,” providing creative suggestions for originality and individuality. Dream/Girl accomplishes through art what New Moon accomplishes through its political appeal, and it is far more appropriate for academically gifted girls than New Moon.

Stone Soup is highly recommended for academically gifted boys as well as girls. In its 27-year history it has published more children’s writing than any other publication of its kind. A multicultural magazine, Stone Soup seeks contributions of original fiction, poetry, illustrations, and book reviews from children around the world up to age 13. The short stories are poignant and wonderfully developed through character and dialogue, and the artwork and illustrations are magnificent. With the look and feel of a professional journal, Stone Soup showcases the best of children’s literary and artistic works and compensates its contributors for them. The editors believe that “by presenting rich, heartfelt work by young people the world over, we can stir the imaginations of our readers and inspire young writers and artists to create.” To that end, they evaluate the work of and offer helpful suggestions to even those whose writings and art are not chosen for publication.

Unlike Stone Soup, Creative Kids is not recommended for gifted middle school students. The poetry and short fiction in it do not have the same depth and quality, and the graphics consist mainly of clip art. Games and puzzles are interspersed throughout. While most articles in Creative Kids are followed by guided commentary, it is not appropriate in tone for gifted students, and the writing suggestions do not call for high-level critical responses.

—Sarah Boone

Sarah Boone has an M.A. in teaching and certification in gifted education. She teaches at Meredith College.

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