June 07, 2022
Pie Wisdom: You might not remember the time I mistakenly made a rhubarb pie with Swiss chard stems and served it at a dinner party (though my guests probably do). That awful experience inspired me to change my ways, and then write a whole book about back-to-basic skills. So, I'm a little better at identifying rhubarb now. I can even pick it! Scroll down for my grandmother's favorite recipe for rhubarb pie, in her own handwriting. I like to bake this with my daughters, and to me, it tastes like summer.
A Women's Place: is not always "in the kitchen," of course. Or the cave. A new book posits that prehistoric women were actually hunters and artists, as well as mothers. I wonder if they made pie. :)
June is Pride Month: And here's a good list of LGBTQ+ Books for kids. We joke that every month is Pride month at Kazoo. Ellen Degeneres talked about coming out in issue #11, Alison Bechdel drew a Virginia Woolf-inspired spot-the-difference in issue #7, Leiomy Maldonado helped us find confidence in issue #15, poet Eileen Myles taught us about their love of words in issue #9, and in our Awesome issue #14, Kristen Arnett shared an original short story about a girl who just happened to have two moms (like my own sweet daughters do). And since our launch in 2016, some other kids magazines have caught up bit . Maybe the world is becoming more open in some ways.
Summer Reading: Our 6-year-old is loving Now Open the Box , Sideways Stories from Wayside School (which I loved reading aloud), and even more Shel Silverstein, with Every Thing On It. Our 11-year-old has been spending more time with The Baby Sitter's Club graphic novels and Front Desk. And at a local bookstore we stumbled upon a copy of Jacqueline Woodson's oh-so-sweet The World Belonged to Us, which is beautifully illustrated by Leo Espinosa, and even though it's about Brooklyn summers past, it feels like hope for the future.
Racial Diversity in Kids' Books: This fascinating article wonders What accounts for the stubbornness of racial bias in children’s books? In it, we learned that W.E.B. Dubois launched the first magazine for black children in 1920. (The letter on page 2 is my favorite!) It lasted for 12 issues. He hired groundbreaking black artists Hilda Wilkinson Brown and Laura Wheeler Waring to illustrate some stories, and interestingly, they used only line drawings, completely eliminating skin-tone. (We use line-drawings too.) This article asserts that since "the Whiteness of the page had become the default tone of protagonists, then these artists were claiming for their subjects the same status." We agree with this philosophy, though we've gotten mixed reader feedback on this decision. It is complicated of course. Recently, the AI used to check for diversity even misses it. So, much room for improvement here, folks.
Summer Screening: One Friday night, we watched Swallows & Amazons (which we had never heard of) and it was a fun summer flick. On another, we watched Enola Holmes (which I may have liked more than the kids.) Another night, we basically forced the girls to watch Wall-E, a favorite Pixar of mine for a ton of reasons, and they really enjoyed it and were excited to help plant flowers the next day (a win-win).
Digging in the Dirt: And not to be too woo-woo, but there's something healing about getting my hands dirty, and my daughters love it to. If you need inspiration, revisit Kazoo #9 (The Small but Mighty Issue), which has an eggshell garden craft and a comic about Green Belt founder Wangari Maathai. Or, Kazoo #13 (The Great Green Issue) which features 20 ways to Make the Earth Happy. Or Kazoo #19 (The DIY issue) which includes a feature interview with farmer Brook Bridges of Soul Fire Farm, and a color-by-dot garden sign from The Victory Garden of Tomorrow. **Get any of these issues for 50% off with purchase of any other issue with code GROW until June 30th.**
Beach Days: When we're not gardening this summer, we hope to be spending as much time as possible in the water. Which is why our summer issue of Kazoo (#25!) is all about the Ocean. Doesn't it look like such fun?
Where is this amazing summer issue you might ask? Well, the good news is that after some major delays at the printing press, because they couldn't get any paper, our summer issue is finally OTW and should reach subscribers soon. Please tell your mermaids to watch the mailbox.
Speaking of mermaids: Jodie Foster is going to play Dyana Nyad (who was in our very first issue) in a biopic called Nyad, and they've been hanging out as friends IRL. Which basically means we're all close friends with Jodie Foster now. That's how it works.
Beach Combers: You know how much we love a good tinker craft (see Kazoo #15 for our fav, the applause pocket-sized machine) but imagine seeing a gigantic "Strandbeest" walking towards you on the beach. Sometimes people are delightful.
And sometimes they are terrible: Like many of you, I spent many days watching and reading the news and crying this month. The senseless gun violence is beyond comprehension, and just so heart-breaking (and rage-inducing). If you want to get involved, please connect with Mom's Demand Action or Everytown. Most Americans, of both parties, want to see change. So, please contact your elected officials and demand action. The number to Congress is (202) 224-3121. Let them know that our children have rights, too. The most basic is the right to go to school, learn, and grow up, safely. Isn't that what it is all about for everyone?
Upstream: I've been reading Mary Oliver which is wonderful even if I can only steal away in 5 minutes increments. I almost always find something to mull over the rest of the day. Lately my mind has settled on this:
I hope you have a wonderful summer, and get to spend some time outside. If you come across anything bright and sunny, please send it my way. You can always find me at email@example.com.
Founder & Editor-in-Chief
My grandmother Hilda's "Rhubarb Sponge Pie." Recipe from her mother, that my mother shared with me (and now I'm sharing with you). Enjoy!
Kazoo is an award-winning, ad-free, indie magazine for girls, 5 to 12, that celebrates them for being strong, smart, fierce and true to themselves. It's published quarterly in Brooklyn, New York and is sold all around the world.