Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Military Kids' Life

Military Kids' Life

Spring 2016 Magazines
Ages: 6 - 14 yrs.
Newsstand Price: $4.95
Subscription Price: $14.95 / 4 Issues

Kids whose families are in the service don't always see their needs reflected in children's media; while books may sometimes feature a parent on deployment, or the stresses of moving, they rarely address the everyday details that are part of military life-worrying about pets' transitions, changing sports teams constantly, or juggling between living on base and living in civilian communities. Military Kids' Life is designed to address these needs. Each issue features a mix of advice columns, interviews with families posted to faraway assignments, short fiction about military families, and a cover story about a military child. For example, the second issue from 2015 offers a variety of disastrous moving stories (most of which end happily), an interview with a military child negotiating his first experience of being the only military child at his school, and an interview with an older teenager who runs his family's farm while his father is on deployment. Other issues give advice on making new friends and on how to handle international moves. Several of the feature articles are written by military kids themselves, and these range in topic from reflections on moving to reviews of favorite video games.

After spending thirteen years as a Navy spouse, I can appreciate the need for a magazine like this, and I believe Military Kids' Life offers much for these readers. The article topics are well chosen for military families, and also address the variety of topics that might be of interest, from frustrations with moving to exciting adventures abroad to activities that are not limited to military families, like hiking and video game playing. The inclusion of articles written by children is a particular strength, giving readers of the magazine a chance to discuss their own needs and concerns. While the articles tend to be written by older children, ages eleven through sixteen, the writing and interviews seem pitched toward the middle of the target age range, with more appeal for eight to ten year olds, and less for six year olds or teenagers. A more serious problem is that most of the featured families and children seem to be predominantly white, which is certainly not reflective of armed service families; disability is represented, but very little racial diversity. The magazine only produces four issues a year, so this may vary considerably in any given year, and the periodical still offers much of value for military children.

Naomi Lesley   ©2016 Parents' Choice
Naomi Lesley taught middle and high school English for six years. She is currently in a doctoral program at the George Washington University, focusing on American young adult literature.

Look for this product at:
Chameleon Kids, LLC

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