*This is a sponsored post, but the opinions are my (and Madeline’s!) own. Leave a comment at the end of this post to enter to win a free one-year subscription to St. Mary’s Messenger.
During Advent (yes, I am just getting around to writing a review now; I told you I had morphed into a complete blogging slacker), my children and I received a free issue of St. Mary’s Messenger. We also were gifted with a year’s subscription to the magazine. We just received the newest issue (pictured above) that is chalk full of good stuff about Lent. My 7-year-old voraciously read this issue (for some reason, it seemed to appeal to her more than the previous issue) and was particularly struck by a true-life story about a young girl who had type 1 diabetes and how this was her cross in life. (We have a loved one with Type 1 diabetes, so perhaps this hit home with my daughter.)
Think of the publication as a Catholic Highlights. St. Mary’s Messenger is a full-sized, full-color and 32-page quarterly Catholic magazine for children, ages 7 to 12. I read a few of the articles aloud to my 5-year-old as well, and she enjoyed it. Each issue includes articles, a fictional story or two, activities, and ways to enrich a child’s faith. It is written for children in a way they can understand. But don’t take it from me. I asked my 10-year-old, who is 10 going on 30 in a lot of ways (you’ll see how she writes the review as IF she was reading it as a kid when, in fact, she did read it as a kid) to jot down her own thoughts about the magazine. She wrote the following review of the Advent issue (pictured below):
Hello. My name is Madeline and I am 10 years old. I had the opportunity to read this Catholic kids magazine, and my mom wanted me to write a review. I happily agreed. So here are my thoughts:
My favorite article was probably “Pinka, the Joyful Candle” by Susan Skinner. I also liked “America’s First Saint: Mother Cabrini” by Wynne Crombie. The one about Pinka was very kid-friendly and could keep the intentions [attention] span of a kid for awhile. The reason for that is:
- It wasn’t too long
- It taught you the meaning of Advent in a fun way
- It had other kids in it
For some reason when I was little [as if being 10 means she’s all grown up], I always liked stories with other kids in it better than a story with only grown-ups. As for the article on Mother Cabrini, I thought younger kids wouldn’t find it quite as interesting. I, on the other hand, thought it had some really cool facts that I didn’t already know about this important woman of faith. I have been studying her in my Religion class at my Catholic school. I also liked all the activities. Kids love activities! I love activities!
All in all I only have one thing that could be changed. If you want more kids to read your magazine, then remember: Kids love bright colors and pictures!!!!! When a kid is looking through magazine, the ones with brighter colors, more things, and pictures on it will stand out and look interesting to the kid. I thought the cover could have used more color and that the magazine’s title didn’t really jump out. It kind of blended in with the trees. You need a cover that pops and caches [catches] a kid’s attention [I did point out to her that the Eucharist is pretty eye-popping and should catch our attention!] But don’t judge a book – or magazine – by its cover. I found out how cool and awesome St. Mary’s Messenger when I started to read it. Anyway, thanks for reading! Bye!
St. Mary’s Messenger is not a flashy publication as Madeline’s review suggests. I personally can’t stand kids’ magazines that are too busy or full of ads. Kids’ National Geographic, for instance, is sensory overload for me; however, I think Madeline was thinking of her Cricket and Spider magazine covers, which we all love for their creativity and yes, color. I am excited about this magazine and how it marbles in our Catholic faith to its pages. The “Pinka” story Madeline mentioned was a fictional story that teaches children about what the Advent wreath’s color of candles each represent. The Advent issue also included an Immaculate Conception game, explanations of saint symbols for the Gospels such as an ox or bull representing the Gospel of Luke, an article describing the process of how one becomes declared a saint, a crossword puzzle, a Veterans’ Day tribute, and more.
We are big readers mostly of books in our home, but we do subscribe to Cricket (gift subscription from a great grandmother), Spider (also a gift subscription from a great grandmother), and Ranger Rick, and I am so happy to add a Catholic option to our mailbox four times a year. Yearly subscriptions (4 issues) are $19.95 and available at the magazine’s website. The website also includes some free online articles. A subscription would make a great gift for a child making her First Holy Communion this spring!
Also, the publisher’s have very generously offered to gift one reader with a free yearly subscription. To enter to win the giveaway, please leave a comment below. I’m sorry, but winners must reside in the United States. The contest will close on Monday, February 23rd at 7 pm EST, and winners will be announced that week. Good luck!