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I have waited until the dust settled (Black Friday, Cyber Monday) to post this column. I dislike, really dislike, all the hype and I did not want to be part of it. That said, I do suspect that you are gift-hunting or getting ready to gift-hunt like we are at my house. If you are, let me suggest that for kids you consider gift subscriptions to magazines.

There are some terrific magazines available for Christian kids. Focus on the Family currently produces two magazines for kids and one magazine for teen girls. Clubhouse Jr. is targeted for children 4- to-8 years of age, Clubhouse is written for 8- to 12-year-olds and Brio is for teen girls. The Upper Room produces Pockets for kids 6 to 12. Nature Friend is a special interest magazine for kids 8 to 16.

These magazines with their articles, short stories and games will bless a child or young person all year long. They are written with kids in mind and they present topics that interest kids. When the stories or articles wrestle with a life difficulty, the subject is handled in a way that kids can relate to and is appropriate for a child. Oh, and did I forget to mention that the mags are fun?

The websites below will give you more info.

Clubhouse Jr.http://www.clubhousejr.com/

Clubhousehttp://www.clubhousemagazine.com/

Pockets http://pockets.upperroom.org/

Nature Friendhttp://www.naturefriendmagazine. com

Briohttps://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/promos/brio-parents

Shopping savvy: I spoke with Focus on the Family’s subscription line and the agent said that a postcard will be sent to the gift’s recipient  and should arrive at about two weeks after you place the order. (So you still have time.) She also said it would be better to place an order by phone and she gave this number: 1-800-A FAMILY (1-800-232-6459). I looked at the website for Pockets and it looks quite good for ordering online.

If you are going to give a gift subscription to your child, you might also consider giving a gift subscription to the same magazine to  one of your child’s grandparents or a beloved aunt or uncle. This could give that adult and your child some good conversation starters. And if you are the beloved grandparent or aunt or uncle and give a subscription to your special child, why not get a subscription for yourself? The magazines are fun, informative  and interesting even if you grew up a while ago. — Nancy

Nancy Ellen Hird is a mom, a writer and a credentialed teacher. (She taught seventh grade and preschool.)  Her latest works for children are I Get a Clue and We All Get a Clue, mystery novels for girls 10-13. For several years she was a freelance reviewer of children’s and teen’s literature for the Focus on the Family website.

I like magazines. Short, informative articles, inspiring stories and lots of pictures are definitely welcomed in my busy life. I think kids like magazines too. So I was intrigued when Jessica Lippe, the senior editor of Girlz 4 Christ, emailed me about her magazine. A couple of us took a look and we liked what we saw.

Girlz 4 Christ is an online magazine for teen girls. It comes out quarterly and is delivered free to the teen’s email box. (The teen must be 13 or older to sign up without a parent’s permission.) If you go to their website, http://www.girlz4christmagazine.org/ , you can view their Winter 2015/2016 issue. (I had to scroll to find the “Read this issue” button.)

I thought the range of articles in the magazine was impressive: from fashion tips, to spiritual insights, to practical helps for Christian living, to interviews with inspiring women. The editorial staff seems to know their audience. The pieces are written with a teen girl’s interests in mind. Yet the articles also mentor teens, providing them with the insights and wisdom of more mature, but still young Christian women.

Nancy Ellen Hird

Nancy Ellen Hird is a mom, a writer and a credentialed teacher. (She taught seventh grade and preschool.) Two of her published works for children are Marty’s Monster and Jessica Jacobs Did What?  Her latest work is I Get a Clue, a mystery novel for girls 10-13. For several years she was a freelance reviewer of children’s and teen’s literature for the Focus on the Family website.

At our house we are searching catalogs, shopping online, going to the Mall, etc. In other words, we are gift-hunting. If you are also gift-hunting, let me suggest that for kids you consider gift subscriptions to magazines. There are some terrific magazines available for Christian kids.

Focus on the Family currently puts out two magazines for kids. Clubhouse Jr. is targeted for children 4 to 8 years of age and Clubhouse is written for 8- to 12-year-olds. The Upper Room produces Pockets for kids 6 to 12. I am less familiar with Sparkle (for girls ages 6 to 9) and Shine brightly (for girls 9 to 14), but I like what I have seen. Cadet Quest is for boys, ages 9-14. Sisterhood Magazine (formerly called Susie), a magazine for teen girls, has been on the scene for a few years now and is truly awesome. Susie Shellenberger, who is the magazine’s founder and editor, was the former editor of Focus on the Family’s  Brio and Brio and Beyond. Shellenberger began Susie after Focus on the Family stopped production of  their teen magazines. (November 29, 2014: I am sorry to announce that I received an email that this magazine is stopping publication with its November/December issue.) Nature Friend is a special interest magazine for kids, ages 8-16.

All of these magazines are written with kids in mind. The magazines present topics that interest kids. When the stories or articles wrestle with a life difficulty, the subject is handled in a way that kids can relate to and is appropriate for a child. Oh, and did I forget to mention that the stuff in the mags is fun?

The websites below will give you more info on the mags.

Clubhouse Jr.http://www.clubhousejr.com/

Clubhousehttp://www.clubhousemagazine.com/

Pockets http://pockets.upperroom.org/

Sparklehttp://www.gemsgc.org/main/magazines.html

Shine Brightlyhttp://www.gemsgc.org/main/magazines.html

Cadet Questhttp://www.calvinistcadets.org/questpromo2.php

Sisterhood Magazinehttp://www.sisterhoodmagazine.com/

Nature Friendhttp://www.naturefriendmagazine. com

Shopping savvy: If you are going to give a gift subscription to your child, you might also consider getting a gift subscription to the same magazine for one of your child’s grandparents or a beloved aunt. This could give that adult and your child some good conversation starters. And if you are the beloved grandparent or aunt and give a subscription to your special child, why not get a subscription for yourself? The magazines are fun and interesting even if you grew up a while ago. — Nancy

Nancy Ellen Hird is a mom, a writer and a credentialed teacher. (She taught seventh grade and preschool.) Two of her published works for children are Marty’s Monster and Jessica Jacobs Did What?  Her latest work is I Get a Clue, a mystery novel for girls 10-13. For several years she was a freelance reviewer of children’s and teen’s literature for the Focus on the Family website.

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