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Forget “Highlights.” There’s a new magazine keeping kids reading — and writing.
“Kid Spirit” is a unique magazine produced by kids, for kids.
It also focuses on spirituality — but not any particular religion, explained founding editor and Brooklyn Heights resident Elizabeth Dabney Hochman.
But most importantly, the magazine allows children to offer their thoughts and opinions on a variety of topics, such as stem cell research, nuclear power and materialism.
“‘Kid Spirit’ is a magazine created by and for 11 to 15 years olds,” Dabney Hochman explained. “Its goal is to empower young teens to explore values and life questions in a non-affiliated form. It’s a spiritual magazine but it’s a magazine that allows children to delve into unique topics.”
Since “Kid Spirit” is a full-fledged magazine, there’s room for all kinds of creativity.
“They write articles, they write poetry. Some teens are artists and photographers,” Dabney Hochman said.
Having an opportunity to express themselves and have their thoughts respected by their peers and adults has been an empowering experience for youths.
“I feel appreciated more because a lot of the time, adults just write off kids’ advice or their ideas on important things like conflict in family matters and say, ‘Oh, they can’t have fully formed opinions,’” said 15-year-old Anna Freedman, a Park Slope resident.
But in reality, “There’s a lot of different opinions and a lot of great opinions from people who are younger because I think their views might not be warped by what people have always told them. They are open to more ideas,” said Freedman, who attends St. Ann’s School in Brooklyn Heights.
Boerum Hill resident Gautama Mehta, 14, just wrote his first piece for “Kid Spirit.” His classmates at St. Ann’s School suggested he get involved with the mag.
“I just did a book review for the one that’s coming out now,” he said.
He reviewed “I Ching for Teens: Take Charge of Your Destiny with the Ancient Chinese Oracle” by Julie Tallard Johnson.
“I’m excited,” Mehta said. “People who have read it told me that they like it.”
He particularly enjoyed having his work reviewed by the “Kid Spirit” editorial board, which consists of teens and provides the “Big Question” featured in every issue.
“It works because we get to edit each other’s work,” Mehta said. “It helps us become more articulate. I think it’s really great.”
Youths are also gaining real-world knowledge of the magazine industry.
“This is an opportunity where I’ve been able to do it in an almost professional way which I wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to do,” Mehta said. “I’m learning the techniques of working in a magazine if I want to do this as an adult.”
Preparing youths to be successful adults is the goal of “Kid Spirit.”
“The climate after 9/11 made me feel that we needed to provide an alternative in the media to the stuff that was focusing on the differences between people,” Dabney Hochman explained. “If we could get to young people and give them a chance to build bridges together, it could be a positive thing.”
Parents say the entire experience has been empowering for youths.
“Someone said to me, ‘Why do you want to hear what kids think?’ I said, ‘Because kids are the future,’” Dabney Hochman noted. “When you get right down to it, they are going to inherit the planet.”
A single “Kid Spirit” issue retails for $7.50. Subscriptions are available at www.kidspiritmagazine.com.
Children who want to write for “Kid Spirit” should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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