When I was in middle school, I went to the public library with my mom every Thursday afternoon. I’d come home with stacks of books piled into my backpack. Favorite authors included Madeleine L’Engle, Jodi Picoult, and (of course) J.K. Rowling. I absolutely loved reading.
But, like a lot of preteen girls, I also wanted to feel more mature. I wanted more than just books to keep my interest (though I have remained a voracious reader to this day). My sisters were several years older than me, and I wanted to do everything they did- including read fashion magazines. I would flip through the ones they let me read, pretending to be interested, but for the most part the articles were boring or didn’t seem to be speaking to me.
The first time my mom picked up a copy of Teen Vogue for me, I fell in love. It had all of the things I wanted to know before I started high school: how to put on makeup, pictures of cute boys, and features about celebrities close to my age. But it was more than just fluff. Teen Vogue had other articles, too: how to stand up for someone being bullied, how to help a friend who might have an eating disorder, and how to help out in the community (with features of girls who did inspiring things in their own hometowns).
What I loved about that magazine (which I subscribed to for four years afterward) was that it made me feel like it was okay to have two sides: the girly-girl and the one who wanted to read about real issues. The following titles all try to encourage every girl to see herself as beautiful, special, and powerful, no matter where she’s from or what she looks like.
1. Teen Vogue
2. Cosmogirl (ceased)
3. Girl’s Life
4. Teen Voices (sadly, just ceased)
All of these titles meet the right criteria; they’re a cut above other magazines targeting similar age groups. Girl’s Life is best for girls in middle school and early high school. Cosmogirl, Teen Vogue, and Teen Voices are great ones for the fifteen-to-sixteen year old set. And Seventeen? I think that one gives itself away.
Like it or not, kids are exposed at early ages to things parents often can’t imagine. Reading magazines with clean topics and models of all shapes and sizes can help young women through those difficult growing-up years. Some of these magazines broach tough subject matter that can improve communication and honesty between moms and daughters. You’ll get the segue you’ve been looking for to talk about dating, bullies, body image, and other important topics to navigate with your daughter, but in a safe, non-threatening way.
What fashion magazines do your students or teen library patrons love? With Cosmogirl & Teen Voices ceasing, we know we’ll be asked for other magazine suggestions public libraries and school libraries.