The new issue of Scoop, the bi-monthly magazine for 7 to 12 year olds, opens up the theme of ‘Imagination’ with a memorable quote from Einstein: ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge’. Helen Musselwhite’s cover design is eye-catching, too. I was intrigued to find out more about this ‘feast of words and pictures for kids’.
Scoop aims to inspire curious young minds through the magical world of storytelling, and asks writers and illustrators to create original writing and images, responding to a theme, in a way that doesn’t talk down to them. This quickly establishes it — like other independently produced kids’ magazines (Dot, Anorak, Okido) — as a clear alternative to the heavily-branded movie/TV-spin offs of the mainstream titles.
A slightly more grown-up feel than the other indies gives it a free reign to go deeper into its subject matter, and though the language is plain and easy to understand, it’s intelligent and eye-opening. A short story about an African Nana burying her sofa (above) nearly brought me to tears.
One piece introduces the quite advanced concept of reading as a portal into someone else’s imagination, a metaphorical ‘door’ into an alternate reality, which isn’t far off the subject matter of the last issue of Architectural Review, which we wrote about here just a few weeks ago. There are insightful features on money and mindfulness which gently introduce the myriad concerns of an adult world, and a reviews section at the back full of book reviews written by kids for kids.
Past themes have included ‘Our Planet’, with a striking paper-craft planet on the cover, all covered in textured land, sea, and animals poking up out of it. There was a ‘Human Body’ issue, as well as ‘Sci-fi’, ‘Black History Month’, and ‘Mystery and Spies’. The range of themes is both politically engaged and creative, and would definitely catch my eye if I was buying a magazine for a young person.
I was delighted to come upon a small piece on Hilma Af Klint (above) in the new issue, the little-known Swedish painter born 150 years ago, who was creating abstract paintings in a trance-like state decades before the surrealists. After being told that no one would appreciate her work for at least 50 years, she banned it from being shown until 20 years after her death. It’s only in the last few years that her work has been seen in major retrospectives, and getting the attention it deserves.
It’s fantastic for a children’s magazine to feature someone so unusual, rather than rehashing the same old famous male artists. (Leonardo Da Vinci does get a look-in later on in the issue, but he did invent flying machines 500 years before the first successful aeroplane.)
Scoop stands out as really pushing the concept of what a literary kids magazine can do, and encourages the idea of being creators, not just consumers. With half-term coming up and the likelihood of poor weather keeping little ones indoors, you could do worse than fire up their imaginations with Scoop.
Founder and Editor-in-chief: Clementine Macmillan-Scott
Creative director: Luana Asiata