Magazines for girls have gotten a bad rep in the last few decades. While magazine subscriptions were once a rite of passage for young girls, by the early 2000’s, people seemed to blame magazines for every problem in society. This wasn’t completely untrue, either. After all, many girls’ magazines filled their pages with ads, encouraged unhealthy diets or body image standards, or included other kinds of inappropriate content. But not all magazines set negative examples for girls. In fact, magazines can encourage girls to follow their passions, use their imaginations, and learn more about the world!
Here’s a selection of award-winning, ad-free magazines for girls that are designed to empower readers, not sell them products. These magazines aren’t just for girls, either. Instead, they’re for all kids who enjoy stories, poetry, STEM subjects, history, crafts, world cultures, or a host of other topics– all including content that includes and celebrates girls. We’re featuring one story featuring a real or fictional female role model from each magazine!
Budding storytellers with adventurous spirits will love SPIDER. This magazine is filled with stories about topics that kids are sure to appreciate: pirates, aliens, unicorns, and much more. Moreover, it often features young girls as protagonists in exciting stories. Readers won’t have to worry about stories that leave girls on the sidelines or let adults have all the fun. SPIDER also includes interactive crafts, recipes, and activities, perfect for an age when girls want to experience the world hands-on.
In the July/August issue of SPIDER, the short story “Pea’s Stand” follows a brother and sister who try to make a little money for the summer. Realistic Timothy sets up a lemonade stand, but imaginative Penelope (or Pea for short) opens a magical objects stand that hawks seemingly useless junk. Soon, Timothy learns from his little sister that it’s not what you sell that matters– it’s how you sell it! Girls will cheer on Pea’s success and admire her story-telling skills. Read and download “Pea’s Stand” here!
If your daughters are always asking ‘why’ and ‘how about the world around them, then ASK Magazine is the answer to satisfy their curious minds! Filled with fun features, fascinating articles, cool cartoons, and extraordinary photos, ASK makes science, technology, engineering, arts, and math exciting for young girls. In addition to often featuring female scientists (both adults and kids), ASK also features several female characters in its cast of lovable recurring cartoon characters.
If you know a girl who plays soccer– or has been enthusiastically cheering on the women’s team at the 2019 World Cup– she’s sure to get excited about the “Soccket.” This invention, created by college students Jessica Matthews and Julia Silverman, looks like a soccer ball but contains a secret! The ball is actually a generator! After an hour or so of play, the ball can power a small reading light or charge a cell phone or tablet. Matthews and Silverman have already sold thousands of Socckets. Read more about them here!
CRICKET follows girls through the tricky transition between elementary and middle school. When girls begin to get involved with social media, it’s healthy to provide role models besides influencers and YouTubers. CRICKET has provided the highest-quality literature for young adults for 45 years, accompanied by beautiful artwork from the best illustrators in the world. The stories and poems in CRICKET portray situations that will feel familiar to your daughters, along with healthy amounts of historical fiction, fantasy, retold folk tales, and nonfiction articles.
“Katie and Gulliver,” a short story by Gillian Richardson, appears in the July/August CRICKET. Katie always looks forward to her vacation to Uncle Ralph’s Seaview Resort. Every year, a one-legged gull named Gulliver always comes to greet her… until this year. Gulliver has always called out to warn her about danger. What will she do now that he’s gone? Girls will enjoy reading about a daring and adventurous young girl whose experience with disappointment and growing up may be a lot like theirs– even without the help of a one-legged seagull. Read “Katie and Gulliver” here!
We all know a young history buff. Maybe she knows the lyrics to Hamilton by heart or tours historic houses for fun. She can name dozens of Presidents and has been known to dress up in historical costumes. But the truth remains that most of the big names in American history– and all of those Presidents– are men. What can inspire a girl to make her own mark on history? COBBLESTONE is the magazine that gets in-depth with topics in American history, highlighting not just the famous facts but the unsung heroines, too. It transforms history into a spotlight on how Americans in the past ate, worked, and played.
The latest issue of COBBLESTONE celebrates the 50th anniversary of the moon landing in 1969. Everyone knows the names Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, but what about Katherine Johnson? In “The Path to The Moon,” girls can meet the woman who provided exact calculations that let the crew of Apollo 11 land on the moon. Although this story actually appears in CRICKET Magazine, not COBBLESTONE, this is still a tie-in with the July/August 2019 issue of COBBLESTONE, which covers the moon landing. Follow the events of Johnson’s life and work right up to receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama. Although you and your daughters may have seen a fictionalized version of Johnson in the movie Hidden Figures, you can read the true story here!
Maybe your family has been to all seven continents, including Antarctica, or maybe you’ve never left your state. Either way, it’s easy to tell when a girl has been bitten by the travel bug! If your daughter loves to meet new people, try new foods, and learn new languages, FACES is the magazine for her! FACES is a journey around the world and back, engaging with people, cultures, and places around the globe. Packed with illuminating articles, breathtaking photos, folktales, art projects, and recipes, FACES is perfect for girls who want to know what life is like for kids around the world.
Girls will especially like “Dear Kylie,” a feature in each issue of FACES. 13-year-old Kylie from New Hampshire meets pen pals around the world, trading letters and sharing experiences. In the July/August “Really Big Issue,” Kylie meets a teacher from Australia who shares some of the ‘really big things’ that make Australia special! Read Kylie and Tayla’s letters here!
While ASK Magazine is a wonderful introduction to STEM subjects for younger elementary students, MUSE kicks things up a notch. This award-winning magazine features cutting-edge scientific discoveries and in-depth interviews with real scientists… all told in a quirky, kid-friendly style that older girls are sure to enjoy. Don’t expect your basic classroom science lessons here. Instead, you’ll find articles about topics like why we dream or whether it’s possible to bring back woolly mammoths. Each issue includes interactive hands-on activities and comics, as well as intriguing letters and art from readers. MUSE also sets a great example for girls interested in STEM careers by showcasing various scientific fields. Actually, MUSE shows how STEM skills play a part in many careers, from baking to banking to orchestra conducting!
In the most recent issue of MUSE, we meet two female firefighters who represent very different types of firefighting. Jessica Gardetto followed in her father’s footsteps by battling forest fires. She’s also a big fan of mentoring future female firefighters. Gardetto says, “It’s a job women can do, and they can do it well!” Get to know Gardetto and check out the gear that she carries in this feature from MUSE! Meanwhile, wildlife biologist and fire safety officer Shan Cammack fights fire with fire! Her focus is restoring habitats for native plants and animals by setting fires. How can setting fires actually help the environment? Learn more about her job in this interview!