HistoriCool Magazine for Kids and Teens
by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.com
"A love of History gives the kids of today the skills to become the brave, bright and compassionate history-makers of tomorrow." Lucy Singer, Founder and Editorial Director, HistoriCool Magazine
HistoriCool is a magazine for kids 8-14 that’s published in Australia six times a year. I recently read both the February/March, 2015 issue and the April/May, 2015 issue.
I’ve watched kids check out magazines. The first thing they do is look at the cover, then they flip through. After approximately 10 seconds evaluation, they either discard it, or start to explore it further. So does HistoriCool pass the flip test? I think so. Both covers were colourful, with a good mix of interesting historical photos and engaging art work. Fonts chosen are attention-getting and clear. A quick flip allows glimpses of pages with accessible, not dense text, cartoon type illustrations, large photos, text boxes, puzzles and other short forms of writing. Rather than being off-putting, HistoriCool invites closer scrutiny.
Inside kids will find a range of articles and activities, many of them linked to the Australian Curriculum. But to me that’s not as important as that kids will find material that will intrigue, entertain and make them want to keep reading. The articles are written by different contributors but all I read had the sort of snappy, engaging voice kids will relate to. I admit the concept of a magazine about history had me expecting something a little dry. Boom went that myth. Instead I found lively discussion of all sorts of quirky events, products and people that will appeal to both boys and girls of 8-14. I loved the humour, and that HistoriCool includes snippets of/from primary sources.
If you’re a teacher who wants to broaden your students’ knowledge and understanding of history, take a look at HistoriCool. I think librarians in both primary and high school libraries will be pleased to find a new non-fiction resource that’s attractive and engaging. Parents who are keen to give their kids access to reading material that’s both educational AND entertaining should definitely check it out too. You can purchase either print or digital copies, or subscriptions, and there are free Teacher Packs for bulk subscribers.
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