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



Spring 2014 Magazines
Ages: 9 - 14 yrs.
Publisher: ePals Media
Newsstand Price: $6.95
Subscription Price: $33.95 / 9 Issues

Myths and tales of ancient civilizations often fascinate young readers, and Calliope offers well-researched and beautifully illustrated explorations of world cultures and histories. Each issue revolves around a central topic, such as Arthurian myths, the pyramids of Egypt, or rivers and their importance to world cultures. In addition, each issue features sections on the etymology of common words, student-written poetry or stories, and book recommendations for further reading.

The articles are well written, and cover a wide range of interesting material related to the central theme; the "Rivers" issue, for example, includes a series of interviews with musicians who discuss how rivers have been central to their cultures and therefore to their music-making. This issue, in particular, did an excellent job of fulfilling Calliope's stated goal of exploring world history. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as the magazine does seem to focus more heavily on European history than on other parts of the world. Their coverage of King Arthur and Greek mythology is unexceptionable, and undoubtedly targets topics that have long been attractive to kids.

Nevertheless, age-appropriate, visually attractive material on Greek mythology is not exactly in short supply, whereas stories about the Incan civilization or the Songhai Empire would offer just as much scope for fascinating stories and stunning pictures, and might fill a need for teachers and young readers. As it is, though, Calliope does provide plenty of informative and interesting reading for young history buffs and for social studies classrooms.

Naomi Lesley   ©2014 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.

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