I’m always trying to get kids to read. It’s a librarian, it’s what I do. I’m also constantly on the lookout for fun ways to get them creating and learning about science – yes, I’m one of those STEM/STEAM wannabe librarians. When Brain Bug Magazine got in touch with me and asked me to check out an issue of their “gross science magazine”, I jumped at the chance. Come on, gross science? Those two words are gold to a children’s librarian!
This fifth issue of Brain Bug is their 3-D issue, and comes with a nifty pair of 3-D glasses! No old school red and blue, though – these are clear, chromadepth glasses that you can use to make images in the magazine pop, and use them for cool stuff like checking out the night sky, or a picture with cooler colors in the background (like, blue) and warmer colors in the foreground (like, red). Other great features in this issue include articles on the origins of 3-D, an profile on 3-D printing, an interview with two chemists, and comics galore.
The magazine is aimed at middle schoolers; I’d also suggest 4th and 5th graders. There’s a real ‘zine spirit to it, which I love; a really independent spirit, and the artwork is largely comics illustration, to appeal to all learners, especially visual learners that may be turned off by a chunks of intimidating science-y text. The interview with the two chemists, for instance, is illustrated – such a great spin on publishing a traditional interview! Brain Bug doesn’t dumb down information, either: there’s technical terms used and explained, in language that treats the kids as intelligent learners.
There are some fun comics in here – regular features, I’m pretty sure – including a group of Super Foods that are fighting the good fight against junk and processed foods; Grillboy, chronicling the adventures of a grill cook who’s less than enthusiastic about his job, and the Pun Police, who patrol the magazine in search of awful puns.
I really enjoyed the magazine, but I know mine would be wrecked in circulation. I’d consider getting one subscription for myself to keep as a reference copy and let the kids look at it and pull projects and ideas from it, for sure, and I think it would be a good addition to classroom or school libraries. It’s $50 for six issues, $35 for four issues, and they offer reduced rates to librarians and educators. Check out their online store for back issues and subscription info.