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Teen & Tween magazines

Magazine lovers from the Look and Learn generation (1962-82) will recognise these titles, tackling serious topics with the approachability to engage those sought-after teen and tween readers. Alan Geere steps back, and forward, in time…

By Alan Geere

Teen & Tween magazines

Britannica Magazine

What’s it about: ‘The ultimate magazine for curious young minds!’ – strapline above the masthead.

Vital statistics: July/August 2022 issue: 68 pages of 297mm x 210mm. Matt paper, card cover, stitched. £5.99 cover price. Published 10 times a year by What on Earth Magazines in Tonbridge, Kent.

Cover: Big illustration to announce the cover story – ‘Mind Games’ – all part of the Puzzles Special, which is promoted across the foot of the page, along with the masthead and furniture all on a deliciously regal blue background.

Content: Straight into the contents spread on pages 2-3, which goes from Factopia! (page 4) to Jokes and Riddles (page 67). Lists 27 different items ranging from Fascinating Facts and ‘eye-popping photos’ to unusual jobs and Ask the Experts. Under the little tagline of ‘Empathy’, four pages of ‘How to be Kind’ takes an international, multi-cultural approach with wise words from, among others, Confucius and a Nigerian proverb. Readers get a chance to feature via ‘Send it in!’ and the last activity will keep the children quiet at night – making animal hand shadows.

Digital: Website at is dominated by subscription information, and also has the chance to click through an ‘Introductory Issue’ via issuu. Just getting going on social media. Been on Twitter for less than a year and has 1,036 followers and a handful of likes on Facebook.

What they say: “And you don’t have to be between the ages of 6 and 14 to enjoy Britannica Magazine! Parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and siblings of all ages will find an endless stream of amazing, engaging material” – stretching the target market on the website.

Verdict: Refreshingly old-school with colouring in, spot the difference and groan-inducing jokes. Everything is displayed in bite-sized chunks with attention-grabbing illustrations. Difficult to disagree with the contents page assertion: ‘A wild and wonderful world awaits you inside!’

First News

What’s it about: ‘News kids can trust’ – badge on the front page.

Vital statistics: August 5-11, 2022 issue: 28 pages of 360mm x 290mm. Newsprint, stitched. £2.35 cover price. States a readership of 2,626,625 (source Opinion Matters 2020) on the front page. Published weekly by First Group Enterprises Ltd in London.

Cover: Big picture of the celebrating Lionesses beneath the headline ‘Football’s Home!’ One other picture promo, about the use of leather. Strapline – news, sports, entertainment etc – pointing to the inside content.

Content: Straight into ‘Headlines’, that runs up to page seven. More on the women’s football, water wastage, six paragraphs on the ‘Wagatha’ trial and a page of briefs called ‘Quick News’ among the range of stories. Home, World, Science and Animal news before the centre spread celebrating the ‘Comedy pet photo awards’. Entertainment has a film interview and TV news; thoughtful ‘Special report’ on the sustainability of leather; books and gaming; two pages of puzzles; another ‘Special report’ on Comic-Con in California. All wrapped up with Your News and Sport.

Digital: Website at, complete with a 26-minute video of young people interviewing Boris Johnson. Links to 11.9k followers on Twitter and 22.3k likes on Facebook along with a presence on YouTube and Instagram.

What they say: “Why are your children turning to fake news when they could turn to First News? Our comprehensive 27-page guide breaks down everything your child needs to know about fake news” – First News in the forefront of the fight against fake news on, er, Twitter.

Verdict: The newspaper format gives an authentic feel to this newsy publication, which may even encourage more young people to pick up a ‘grown-up’ newspaper. Enterprising to include more than 70 links to work experience opportunities via the website.

How It Works

What’s it about: ‘A science and tech magazine that feeds inquiring minds’ – explainer on Facebook.

Vital statistics: Issue 166 (undated, but purchased in July 2022) issue: 84 pages of 295mm x 230mm. Matt paper, heavyweight gloss cover, stitched. £5.50 cover price. Published monthly by Future in Bath.

Cover: A dizzying array of words and pictures dominated by a big image of a brain to go with ‘10 weird things you never knew about your brain’. Six illustrated cross-refs along with a three-topic strapline and a competition promo.

Content: Welcome and highlights on page three before ‘Inside’ across the next spread. Neatly divided into Science, Transport, History, Environment, Space and Technology along with that brain special which tells us that ‘stone-age people conducted brain surgery successfully’. Among the goodies are the inside stories on keeping time, the Statue of Liberty, the Commonwealth Games, fjords, crocodiles vs alligators and ‘Brain dump’ – ‘amazing answers to your curious questions’.

Digital: Website at, with plenty of dippable content, plus links to Twitter (18.3k followers), Facebook (15.2k likes) plus a presence on Instagram. Also features the ‘AR zone’ which brings pages to life via scanning a QR code.

What they say: “Don’t do it alone! If you’re under 16 make sure you have an adult with you,” – possible danger ahead when making a bubble blowing machine from a plastic water bottle and a sock in the ‘How to…’ feature.

Verdict: Informative, engaging and strangely addictive. There is so much to get your head around it calls for a cover-mounted pillow to have a lie-down after absorbing amazing fact after fact after fact. Tightly written and beautifully illustrated, this is a magazine to admire – and help you amaze your friends.

National Geographic Kids

What’s it about: ‘The UK’s best-selling monthly children’s magazine!’ – nestling by the masthead.

Vital statistics: Summer 2022 issue: 60 pages of 275mm x 210mm. Matt paper, heavyweight cover, stitched. £4.50 cover price. Media kit states a circulation of 110,000, with 50,000 subscribers. Published 13 times a year by Creature Media Ltd, under licence from National Geographic, in London.

Cover: Magazine has a big picture of a turtle comin’ at ya to illustrate ‘Conservation Special’. Three other cross-refs with pictures. Newsstand copy comes in a sealed envelope that also features the two free gifts which they tell us are “plastic-free and made in the UK!”.

Content: Illustrated contents on page three lead into ‘Cool news’, ‘Wacky world!’ and ‘What’s up?’ before those turtles and other conservations or ‘Wildlife Heroes’. Four pages of Pangolin Rescue is an informative, yet approachable, introduction to this serious subject. Four full-page posters (why not put a big one across the centre spread?) and six pages of ‘Animal illusions’ keep up the wildlife count. Junior Explorers’ Club has reader contributions and Fun Stuff is 10 pages of things to do.

Digital: Website at has country specific content for its worldwide editions. Signposts on page three of the magazine lead to a Twitter feed called @NatGeoKidsUK that has just over 3k followers and 47k likes on Facebook. Also active on Pinterest and Instagram.

What they say: “National Geographic Kids and the Yellow Border Design are registered trademarks of National Geographic Society and used under license (sic)” – yellow border on your magazine? As the website advises, don’t even think about it…

Verdict: Creature Media publish National Geographic Kids in the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand and the content is a reflection of a wider appreciation of the world and man’s (children’s) place in it. Lively, authoritative and, whisper it, fun.

Teen Breathe

What’s it about: ‘Be inspired • Be strong • Be Curious • Be uplifted’ – across the top of the cover.

Vital statistics: Issue 35 (undated, purchased July 2022): 68 pages of 275mm x 212mm. Quality matt paper, card cover, perfect bound. £4.99 cover price. Published monthly by GMC Publications Ltd in Lewes, East Sussex.

Cover: A stylised illustration of a girl on a beach surrounded by jungle. Eight clever little come-ons, including ‘Here comes the sun’ and ‘Careless whisper’, along the foot of the page.

Content: Page two lists 17 different items of ‘Contents’ which tackle challenging themes like gossip, empathy, spontaneity and impulsivity, teamwork, exercise and fear of heights. Complementary items look at party games, recipes, how to tie-dye and searching for sea glass. Good example of the tone of content is ‘Too much of a good thing?’ which examines that being considered ‘too much’ as an individual is seldom complimentary, but also offers some ideas for reflection and projection. All lavishly illustrated – the cover is from a freelance illustrator based in France – that helps provides bright but not garish pages.

Digital: Website at has clickthroughs to Facebook (5.5k likes) and Instagram with 12.4k followers.

What they say: “‘Are you going anywhere on holiday this year?’ If you find small talk somewhat painful, our guide to ‘Ideal Chit Chat’ shows it doesn’t need to be a big deal” – a piece maybe entitled ‘How to survive at the hairdressers’ from an earlier issue.

Verdict: Like a lot of ‘young adult’ publications, this is written and displayed in a clear, positive and likeable way. Although clearly aimed at the teen market, there’s much that a reader of any age could gain from engaging with what are very different themes and ideas than are usually seen in mainstream publications.

The Week Junior: Science + Nature

What’s it about: ‘Making sense of the universe’ – tagline under the masthead.

Vital statistics: July 2022 issue: 60 pages of 300mm x 230mm. Gloss paper, heavyweight cover, stitched. £3.99 cover price. Published monthly by Future in London.

Cover: Big full-frontal picture of a red squirrel to promote ‘Go Wild! Join our brilliant summer scavenger hunt’. Three more illustrated promos and a six-word strapline all above the masthead.

Content: The contents are laid out across page two and half of page three, along with the editor’s letter. Big pictures of trees and a megalodon, which is quite a feat as the largest fish that ever lived died out three million years ago. ‘That’s Amazing’ leads on to six pages about ‘Amazing Animation’ and soon into the Scavenger Hunt competition where that squirrel pops up for the third time. A double-sided pull-out poster signals the half-way point, then Space, Weird Science and Headscratchers answering readers’ questions. Still room for foraging recipes, things to make and do and puzzles.

Digital: Website at gives the subscriptions offers plus links to Twitter (1.3k followers) and Facebook (12.1k likes)

What they say: “What a massive opportunity and what a waste. Nearly three years in power and nothing taken care of or done properly. Although he causes great anger, it’s actually very sad. I think that’s as fair as I can be” – editor Dan Green giving political commentary on Twitter.

Verdict: With its oversized pages and commitment to engaging display, this packed publication delivers its ‘Science + Nature’ remit in bucketloads. Some thoughtful changes of pace – ‘Should school days start later?’ – along with things to make and do. Oh, and the most affordable of the magazines looked at here.

This article was first published in InPublishing magazine. If you would like to be added to the free mailing list to receive the magazine, please register here.