By Kathy Jo DeVore
I received review copies of three magazines produced by WORLD News Group for Christian kids. The three titles are God’s Big World for preschool and Kindergarten, World Kids for elementary students, and World Teen for middle school students. Click the name of each magazine to learn more about them.
One of my primary concerns with anything I hand my children is the advertising. I’m a big girl and quite capable of telling my children, “No. We don’t watch that kind of show. We don’t use that type of product. We don’t eat that kind of food.” But quite frankly, I’d rather not have my children tempted with things we don’t want in our household. My husband nicknamed catalogs “unhappy books,” because that’s the primary emotion they evoke, so we toss them straight in the garbage.
So I’m pleased to say that the ads are not a problem in these magazines. Indeed, the ads are minimal, and they target the parent rather than the children. I see an ad for a Christian audio entertainment company and Christian bookstores. They are also on the outside cover rather than part of the magazine itself, so the ads can be removed before the children get the magazines.
Each of the magazines came with a pull out map so children can find the places that are discussed in the articles. Older children might even make a note in each location.
God’s Big World has eight short lessons in it as well as a few additional activities. Each lesson contains a Bible verse or reference, a few sentences about the topic, photographs to illustrate the topic, and a teaching tip. For instance, Lesson 3 reminds us that just as God cares for injured birds, He also cares for each of us, and Matthew 10:29 is given as a reference. The story and photographs tell about an injured flamingo at a zoo and how he was saved. The teaching tip gives extra information about the injured flamingo.
World Kids is filled with articles about events and people, past and present. A wide range of topics are covered in different categories. The Science Soup category focuses on redwood trees and California in this issue. The Time Machine article discusses Amelia Earhart. And the Citizen SHIP article tells about language and the differences in dialects that can be heard in the United States, particularly the Appalachian region.
World Teen, as might be expected, is a more transitional magazine. The articles focus on current events. In this issue, topics include a Russian troll factory which produces propaganda, the shrinking Salton Sea, and a discussion of world cuisine.
All of my children enjoyed the subject matter of the articles, and I confess that I found some points of interest as well. Both my 14 year old and 11 year old sons particularly liked the “News Bytes” at the beginning of World Teen. Each “byte” is a short paragraph with a photograph, and a line shows the location of each story on a world map. They also liked reading about world events. My 9 year old said that World Kids has lots of interesting facts, and he especially enjoyed the articles on Amelia Earhart and the man who climbed a redwood. And I loved the story about the flamingo in God’s Big World!
The articles are all fairly short, just one to two pages each. This will allow children who are not as interested in reading to interact with a wide range of topics, but don’t be surprised if your Serious Readers want more information! A trip to the library might become a necessity after each issue arrives.
Things get really interesting with the digital content on the websites. All of the magazines have corresponding videos online for some (not all) of the stories within the printed magazine. God’s Big World has some additional activity sheets which can be printed out. World Kids and World Teen both have additional information and photographs on their sites.
I think these magazines would be a fun addition to Christian homes. The content is varied and interesting as well as appropriate for the intended audience.