by John Mennell
MagazineLiteracy.org has received a gargantuan gift of up to 150,000 issues of Boy’s Quest, Hopscotch for Girls, and Fun for Kidz magazines for delivery to at-risk children via food banks and mentoring programs. The collaboration was made possible by Marilyn, Tom, and Jonathan Edwards – a long-time publishing and children’s media family, based in Bluffton, Ohio.
This is the most incredibly generous gift of magazines for literacy that we have ever received and kick-starts a long-time dream we have to get precious magazine reading materials into the hands and homes of at-risk readers via the nation’s vast food bank network to feed children and families hungry to read. Magazines are especially powerful for literacy and these three titles are among the most cherished children’s media in the world.
According to the U.S. Dept. of Education, there are over 1 million homeless students in America. According to the Census, more than 16 million children live in poverty. Reading is Fundamental says that two-thirds of children in poverty live in homes with no books. We can change that with support like this from every corner of the magazine publishing industry.
Hopscotch for Girls began publishing in 1989. It was created by an elementary school librarian, Jane Evans, who was seeking a wholesome magazine for her students. Hopscotch was purchased by the Edward’s small, family-owned publishing company in northwest Ohio, in 1991. The company, The Bluffton News Publishing and Printing Company also publishes two weekly newspapers, The Bluffton News and The North Baltimore News. The Bluffton News has been in existence since 1875 and has been owned by the Edwards family for over 50 years.
Boys’ Quest was designed to inspire boys to develop an interest in reading at an early age. The importance of reading for enjoyment as well as education.
Fun for Kidz first began publication in January of 2002. It was the answer for children receiving Hopscotch or Boys’ Quest and needing something on the months when they were not receiving a magazine. Unlike Hopscotch and Boys’ Quest, Fun For Kidz is designed for both boys and girls. The idea is for brothers and sisters to share the magazine.
While reading the descriptions these wonderful magazines three thoughts were triggered in my mind – the first was trying to imagine what a group of 150,000 children looks like – I soon realized that it would be enough to fill every seat in two superbowl stadiums with young readers. Picture that!
I remember reading Childcraft books as a child – from cover to cover, from volume to volume, living the adventures in my mind and play and following the activities page after page. Fun for Kidz as designed like that for both boys and girls – “The idea is for brothers and sisters to share the magazine.”
I’ll never forget a story that one of our champion team members – Katie Simmons – told me about delivering magazines to children in a Boston homeless shelter. She visited the shelter a gave a magazine to a boy who was not reading. Upon her return, he would exclaim “the magazine lady is here!” and receive another magazine. The shelter staff said the boy had not only begun to read himself, but was reading to his younger sister!
Our most humble thanks goes to the Edwards family for their amazing generosity and for all they do every day to keep a fire burning that promotes reading and literacy for children and families.
Here’s a sampling of magazines published by Fun for Kidz Magazines: