Illustoria Magazine: For Creative Kids & Their Grownups - #13 THE MAPS ISSUE


For Creative Kids & Their Grownups 
Purchased from McSweeney's

I am completely enamored of Illustoria Magazine, which reads like both a luxurious gift and a indispensable necessity. Approximately the price of a hardcover picture book (but with twice the pages!), Illustoria Magazine is gorgeously illustrated and rich with thoughtful, engaging content created by superlative artists and authors from the world of children's books and beyond. The creators pack it so full of things to read and think about, make, draw and do, that you are sure to be still engrossed with one issue before the next arrives.

Poring over THE MAPS ISSUE and exploring contributors to issues past, the magazine brings together a superb group of established and up-and-coming creators. Illustoria Magazine also publishes short stories and artwork submitted by readers! This is especially cool because Illustoria is the official magazine of The International Alliance of Youth Writing Centers, an informal network of writing labs from all over the world sharing the "common beliefe that young people need places where they can write and be heard, where they can have their voices polished, published, and amplified." The nine chapters of 826 National (my 2010 post about excellent non-profit organization) are members, which makes perfect sense since, in 2019, Illustoria Magazine became a collaboration between McSweeny's and The International Alliance of Youth Writing Centers. Every issue of Illustoria Magazine now includes contributions of writing, art and interviews with artists and others profiled that come from students of these writing labs!

Here are just a few of the awesome contents of  THE MAPS ISSUE
  • Games and Jokes: Miscellaneous Revelry from Emmy Kastner, illustrator/author of Nerdy Babies, that includes riddles, a matching game and a very fun visual/verbal challenge that kids will enjoy stumping grownups with. Julia McNamara's Factoids and Small Talk makes for great dinner table conversation and are a visual treat to explore.
  • ProjectsTom Bingham's OFFICIAL DOG-CHEF RECIPE is a fantastic "recipe comic" (love that and it needs to be an entire book) kids can (with a little help) make themselves. Projects also include an Octopus Paper Toy that can be cut out of the magazine, a Body Map, Drawing Tips from Maggie Chiang and really cool Mandala Inspired designs - including a food mandala! - from Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
  • Stories: Stories include Jamyelese Ryer's "Mapping Information: The Data Portraits of W.E.B. Dubois," which is a very cool way to share the history of what we now call "infographics" and an important Black American. There is also the "Imaginary Islands Project," illustrated by MICA grad school students. Illustoria Magazine art and editorial director Elizabeth Haidle contributes a very cool, two-page comic strip book review of an Enchanted Lion book (a publisher who, along with Candlewick Press and Kids Can Press, are sponsors of THE MAPS ISSUE)
  • Made By You: Details of the next story contest (Childhood Island!) Maps stories from students of Grimm & Co. Writing Project in England, Drawn By You (Sea creatures!)
  • Interviews: Interviews include "Sketchbook as Travelogue," at studio visit, meet the cover artist, "Map Making Artists," "Creative Adults at Work" and a great visit author and founder of Zero Hour, an organization that has the mission of centering "the voices of diverse youth in the conversation around climate and environmental justice."
  • In Every Issue: LOVE THIS SECTION SO MUCH!! As I came to the end of this amazingly creative, engaging, inspiring magazine, it was a delight to learn what the amazing staff of ILLUSTORIA Magazine are listening to & reading (SUCH a great selection of children's books!) And, especially fun, the ON OUR DESK section that includes some cool tools artists use.


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