It's time to harvest magazines to feed kids and families hungry to read

by John Mennell
I recently visited the Field of Dreams in Iowa and stood at the far edge of the outfield where it meets the corn ready to harvest.
The harvest season is upon us – when farmers reap what they have sown and families pick apples and navigate corn mazes.  We kicked-off our September literacy celebration on International Literacy Day and our anniversary (9/8) and will continue on through Children’s Magazine Month in October and the holiday giving season through the end of the year with our own Magazine Harvest.  

Continue reading “It's time to harvest magazines to feed kids and families hungry to read”

Jazz magazines are music to our eyes

One of the great powers of magazines for literacy is that there are wonderful titles for every age, reading level, and interest – from infant to adult and spanning every imaginable subject.
Today, we received our first donation of jazz magazines!
We’ve received boxes of knitting magazines.
Sailing and boating magazines support mentoring programs.
Science, fashion, and car magazines inspire teens to reach for their dreams and journeys.
The culinary magazines we love to read, collect, and share inspire homeless and unemployed people in chef training programs.
Magazines are inspirational and aspirational. We are often asked what magazines should be provided for our literacy work. Reading about the topics that interest us promotes literacy skills. Supplying a wide range of magazine titles allows us to support child literacy, adult literacy, family literacy, financial literacy, functional literacy, health literacy, nutrition literacy, and media literacy.
Share the magazine love for literacy.

Do things because they are hard – our magazine literacy moonshot


by John Mennell
I just received my google chromecast and fired up a favorite speech on YouTube to try it out – President Kennedy’s speech at Rice University about rocketing to the moon.

William Bradford, speaking in 1630 of the founding of the Plymouth Bay Colony, said that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage…But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic.
WE choose to go to the moon. WE choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win…

John Kennedy

Continue reading “Do things because they are hard – our magazine literacy moonshot”

Arctic Airlift – Join us at the top of the world for literacy, Comics for Heroes, & Reading with Pictures join forces for International Literacy Day Arctic Airlift to get Comics and Magazines to Inuit Schools and Families at the top of the World

Madison, WI—, Comics for Heroes, and Reading with Pictures are celebrating International Literacy Day at the top of the world this year by joining forces to collect comics and magazines for Inuit schools and families north of the Arctic Circle. The “Arctic Airlift for Literacy” will get comics donated by consumers at comic book stores in the United States and magazines collected in the U.S. and Canada to schools for Inuit families in Kugluktuk, Taloyoak, Gjoa Haven, Kugaaruk, and Cambridge Bay, Canada. International Literacy Day is a global United Nations event held each year on September 8th. Comic shops can register now for comic collections at their stores through the end of October – Children’s Magazine Month.

Continue reading “Arctic Airlift – Join us at the top of the world for literacy”

Share the magazine love for literacy

by John Mennell

Before I was homeless, I lived in a home with my family and went to school. I love to read magazines – they take me to new places and fill me with possibilities. I’m still in school and won’t always be homeless. Thank you for sharing your magazines with me.

Before I was unemployed, I had a good job and worked hard to keep a roof over our heads and to feed my family and to keep my kids in college. Now I’m in a job training program, so I can learn a new trade and start my new career. Thank you for sharing your magazines with me.

Before I escaped with my child to a domestic violence shelter, I had a home and we will be safe again. I know how important it is to read with my child. Thank you for sharing your magazines with us.

Before I was homeless I was a neighbor. Now I’m in a transitional housing program and will have a home again soon. Thank you for sharing your magazines with me.

Freedom and prosperity depend on literacy. Illiterate adults were once children who didn’t learn how to read. We know that magazines are enormously powerful resources for literacy agents, and that people love to read magazines and love to share them.
The people you support by sharing the magazines you love with homeless and domestic violence shelters, mentoring and job training programs, and foster kids are like you and me and our children and grandchildren, with the same hopes and dreams, aspirations and promise.
Find your way to share the magazines that you love for literacy – to get them into the hands and homes children and families with few reading materials.
Join us.

Get ready to organize a magazine literacy project at your school

Soon students and families will be getting ready for the new school year – shopping for new clothes and supplies, finishing up reading lists, and anticipating new schools and new subjects and new friends.  The Summer months can be most challenging for reading and literacy when children are away from the classroom.
Selena Jaramillo, a student at UW – Madison, and a member if our national organizing staff, has been bundling wonderful magazines this Summer to share with literacy programs via our online magazine literacy marketplace. She is holding a box topped off with CookingLight, which is perfect for the many programs supported by food banks that provide nutrition education and train homeless people for careers as chefs. CookingLight is a long-time champion of our literacy program where we had the opportunity to place our first PSA display ads.

Continue reading “Get ready to organize a magazine literacy project at your school” – Who, What, Where, When, Why

by John Mennell

Magazine publishing stakeholders in every corner have been supportive of our program, but our goal is to create a complete industry-wide celebration – representing every person and every company in the supply chain, from the board room to mail room,  from publisher to consumer, printer to paper company – ad men and women, editors, and circulation pros, and association leaders and members. We need that support to achieve our full promise – delivering magazines to millions of readers, and we need the support for operations to keep our promise that 100% of funds from individuals and businesses is used to send magazines to readers.

Continue reading “ – Who, What, Where, When, Why”

Share your magazines for a neighbor's journey back home

by John Mennell
I had a meeting with a homeless man who, except for the fact that he was traveling with all his possessions in two sacks, I would never have known was a homeless neighbor. He explained many things – among them that the homeless people he knows are avid readers who especially love magazines. He, like many, has been knocked off the road from a job and a home of his own – by any number of hazards that face us all, and he is on a path back home.
There is enormous value in creating an opportunity for people to share their love for magazines with children, families, and neighbors to have with them on their own journeys back home.
Magazine sharing is age-old. Share the magazines you love with a child, family, or neighbor in a homeless or domestic violence shelter, mentoring or job training program – or foster care, or served by the vast network of community agencies in the food bank supply chain.
Join our magazine sharing economy. We need your support and your participation in our magazine literacy marketplace.  Help to change the world – one magazine at a time!

MagPower – a marketplace where sharing magazine love fuels the new Sharing Economy

Stand up if you have ever read Highlights magazine in a dentist office, or O, the Oprah Magazine or More at the salon, or Car and Driver or Popular Science at the library, or sent a gift subscription for Ranger Rick, Jack & Jill, Sports Illustrated for Kids, or Owl to your child or grandchild. That rolling thunder was the sound of tens, even hundreds of millions of people standing up who love to read and to share magazines.
The business and the community of sharing magazines is age-old. Copies are sent to salons, doctors and dentists and passed around dorms and parties. Articles and images are clipped, snapped, and posted to vision and Pinterest boards to remind, inspire, and share.
Our mission at is to foster magazine sharing to support at-risk children, families and neighbors in homeless and domestic violence shelters, mentoring and job training programs, foster care, and via the vast network of community literacy programs served by the food bank supply chain.
Join our magazine sharing economy.  We need your support and your participation in our magazine literacy marketplace.  Help to change the world – one magazine at a time!

Magazine for Literacy—as American as Apple Pie

by Carole Trone
Carole Trone, new volunteer Business Development coordinator for Magazine Literacy writes: I’m thrilled that I’ve been invited to participate in this project. I like history, so this post shares some of that. 
Historians tell us that America started as one of the most literate countries in the world. Puritans needed to read the Bible, merchants needed to build commerce in young and growing cities. This is important, because the rallying cry for revolution spread through speeches but perhaps more broadly through flyers and pamphlets. They were relatively quick and inexpensive to produce, short, and easy to pass around. Sure, we know that the Founding Fathers valued their books and their philosophers, but pamphlets were timely and accessible. Perhaps more importantly, they shared news about what was happening and what was possible.
To me, this means that the link between literacy, periodicals and new ideas goes way back in America. Connecting new ideas or bold proposals to anybody and everybody who can read about them is at the heart of democracy. With the exchange of ideas comes new ideas—inspiration about what might be possible.
Magazines can do this. Magazines can popularize ideas, give advice, summarize current events. Magazines can cover a little of everything or a probe a very specialized topic. Magazines can inform the scholarly and delight the toddler. Magazines can link the visual with the verbal, engaging readers more powerfully than words alone. Magazines are portable, affordable, and inviting. For all the volumes of books and millions of webpages out there, only a magazine is available to just about everyone.
This is the inspiration behind  and all the volunteers who make it happen. Keep reading our blog for more examples of how it works.

Service Learning Bundling for Literacy by Madison Students

by Sami Clausen
We’d like to recognize and thank a group of magazine literacy champions – students from Lake View Elementary in Madison, Wisconsin – for taking time to participate in our literacy efforts. These students were enrolled in Madison School and Community Recreation’s (MSCR) Safe Haven after school program, and on June 7th, during their ‘service learning’ activity time, they spent one hour bundling literary magazines for Project Shoe Box— an initiative focused on providing resources to children in foster care.

Continue reading “Service Learning Bundling for Literacy by Madison Students”

With Independence Day near, bins of beautiful recycled magazines for literacy arrive from all across America – Thank you California, Arizona, and Maryland!

With Independence Day near, bins of beautiful recycled magazines for literacy arrive at our global operations center from all across America.

Thank you California, Arizona, and Maryland for sharing the magazines you love to feed children and families hungry to read!

Send us yours.

Making Rain for Grassroots Literacy

Kids Newsstand

by John Mennell
This is to introduce and to thank Carrie Scherpelz a very talented designer who knows her way around the children’s media and magazine publishing industries – and her community.  Carrie is a great champion of our literacy work and our first Advisory Leadership Circle member to serve as a Ambassador in Madison, Wisconsin.  She is modest about her role as a rainmaker, but has already made important contributions to our mission by helping us to understand and connect with local resources and networks of kindred spirits.

Continue reading “Making Rain for Grassroots Literacy”

The Humble Humanity of Connecting with a Stranger

by John Mennell
Today, on the way to a coffee shop, I met a man sitting pressed into the corner of a stoop asking for spare change. I said I’d get him some on the way back and had already decided to add some fruit to it. Walking back from the store, I saw a man who I thought was him – now standing a couple blocks away – but I wasn’t sure. That’s a problem alone in the way it dehumanized this man in the sense of a knowing relationship and together being part of a neighborhood and community. Worse, the thought running through my mind was that, by moving from the stoop, he was “confusing me.” I am seeking ways to make our literacy work more direct and more personal by inviting the people I meet anywhere and everywhere to participate. I gave him my card and while walking away I heard him say thank you “John.” He has already acted the better part of our relationship. Tomorrow, I will ask him his name.

MagPower – a crowdfunded Magazine Literacy Marketplace for sharing the magazines we love with new readers

Visit the MagPower Literacy Market is the first and only family literacy project with global, magazine industry-wide ambition. Our mission is to create a vibrant literacy marketplace that shares the magic and power of magazine reading with at-risk children and families who want to learn and love to read.
How it works.  Download PDF.

Instructional Video – How to create magazine bundles for literacy

By Anna Chen

“Bundlers” — take a few extra steps to prepare recycled magazines for new readers, such as handling mailing labels, sorting, and listing the magazines in each flat rate box, which becomes a “Magazine Literacy Bundle” that we post in our online marketplace.  Literacy programs order the Bundles and receive them at no cost, and sponsors cover the shipping expenses.
Learn more about recycling and bundling magazines for literacy.

Magazine Harvest to stock food banks to feed kids and families hungry to read

Our vision is to marry the magazine publishing supply chain to the food bank supply chain to get the magazines we love into millions of hands and homes for literacy.

Organizations involved with hunger relief are among the best literacy partners. Supplying magazines to children and families has many parallels to supplying food to hungry families.

Continue reading “Magazine Harvest to stock food banks to feed kids and families hungry to read”

ShopLocket fuels Magazine Literacy Market

MagPower Literacy Market

By Jenna Palmer
Madison, WI—, a non-profit organization dedicated to meeting literacy needs, has announced its partnership with the Toronto-based e-commerce company, ShopLocket, to open the first online Magazine Literacy Market.
The ShopLocket technology is a launchpad for’s vision to create a global literacy marketplace, where literacy programs post needs, local teams bundle and post magazines for literacy, and consumers and businesses fund delivery of magazines to literacy programs. ShopLocket has engineered an e-commerce widget and product ordering back-end, with built-in social media sharing tools, that makes possible a unified, convenient marketplace for moving wonderful magazines from anywhere to anywhere to meet literacy needs.

Continue reading “ShopLocket fuels Magazine Literacy Market”

Crowdfund magazines for children in foster care and domestic violence shelters

We are marking Foster Care Month, celebrated each May, by shining a spotlight on two organizations seeking magazines for children in foster care.  The literacy needs for Project Shoe Box in Wisconsin and The New York Foundling are posted in the Magazine Literacy Marketplace – the first and only global platform for sharing and for crowdfunding the magazines we love for delivery to literacy programs serving at-risk children, teens, adults, and families.

Continue reading “Crowdfund magazines for children in foster care and domestic violence shelters”

Family recycles American Girl and National Geographic Kids for homeless kids

Look at the beautiful magazines that just arrived – sent to us by a family for our Magazine Literacy Marketplace. They will be bundled and sent to children and families via homeless and domestic violence shelters, and mentoring programs.
Share your gently read magazines with at-risk children and families at

Miami Family Bundles Magazines for New Readers

Amelia collecting magazinesIn a reversal on the classic image of newspaper delivery from the seat of a bicycle, a Miami brother and sister – Nate and Amelia Rich – are riding a bicycle around their neighborhood to collect recycled magazines for bundling and delivery to at-risk children and families. The children attend Gulliver Academy and have initiated this project community service project to share favorite magazines with other children and families.  The magazines will be posted in the online literacy marketplace for delivery to new readers in homeless and domestic violence shelters, and mentoring and job training programs.
People love to share their magazines with others, which gives them a new life and delivers enormous value to new readers in literacy programs.
Learn how to recycle magazines for literacy in your community.
magazine stacks 2  bundle 1  bundle 2  nate collecting magazines 2

Cricket Magazine Group Delivers 10,000+ Children's Magazines for Literacy

Cricket Magazines,  a division of ePals, and along with Cobblestone, a long-time champion of, has provided 10,000+ surplus magazines for literacy from across their entire magazine portfolio.
This is an enormous boost for, the first and only global magazine literacy initiative that gets new and recycled magazines into the hands and hearts of at-risk children and families via homeless and domestic violence shelters, and mentoring programs.  The mission of the program is to share favorite children’s and consumer magazines via community literacy programs.  Cricket and Cobblestone magazines are among most important reading resources for children in the world, and include the familiear titles: Babybug, Ladybug, Cricket, Dig, Cobblestone, Spider, Faces, Click, Appleseeds, Calliope, Odyssey, Ask, Muse, Cicada, as well as the Spanish language titles Iguana, Babybug en español, Ladybug en español, and Ask en español.
Magazines are enormously valuable for literacy and children’s magazines are so critical for developing reading skills during a child’s formative years.  The content in these magazines is timeless and will inspire young minds to reach for their full potential.  The magazines will be packaged into literacy bundles and sent to literacy program throughout the U.S.  An emphasis will be placed on getting magazines into homes and literacy programs that have too few reading materials to support families reading together. is setting up a crowdfunded online magazine literacy marketplace to pool financial contributions from individuals and businesses to cover the expense of sending new and recycled magazines to meet literacy needs.

Notre Dame High School Kicks off Magazine Literacy Recycling Drive

Notre Dame High School sophomores Erin Maloney, Liz O’Donnell,  Caroline Bottega, and Allison Safranek have kicked-off a magazine recycling drive this week for literacy.
The team is bundling magazines for delivery to new readers via the online literacy marketplace.
Recycled magazines hold enormous value for literacy programs, especially for children and families in homeless and domestic violence shelters, and mentoring and job training programs.  The team is helping explore methods for collecting magazines that can be easily replicated by students at other schools.
Our first magazine recycling project was organized by a classroom of kindergarten children in San Francisco and efforts have been organized at all grades including on college campuses.
The Notre Dame team is a sustained effort that serves as a great model for others.  A particular focus area will be adopting and meeting the reading interests of homeless students at other schools.  This is an especially challenging undertaking as there are over 1 million homeless students in the U.S., but they are hidden – even within their own communities.  Our goal is to connect schools and communities to match students who want to share their favorite magazines with homeless students elsewhere so they can enjoy reading them as well.