Outlet Spotlight: Youkie
“Kids need and deserve to be seen and heard in this world that’s shifting every day under our feet.”
For almost five years and 19 issues, Kookie Magazine has aimed to meet the needs of modern pre-teen girls with a magazine that provides a rounded and optimistic sense of who they are and what they are capable of. But as times changed, it became clear that many young boys were reading the publication too, so it underwent an evolution into Youkie, with a renewed focus on children aged 8 to 12 across all genders.
For Youkie creator Nicky Shortridge, the next step in the evolution of the publication was an obvious one, making sure all kids were included, giving them a presence on the page. “We know girls don’t just want to be pretty in pink. Well, boys aren’t just interested in blowing up aliens either. Pre-teens are complex and we stand with youth, who are leading the way in challenging these narrowly defined types,” says Nicky. “A magazine, especially a print magazine, enables us to deliver accessible, inclusive literature that celebrates everything a kid can be.”
One of the priorities for Youkie is providing pre-teens with a platform to have their voices heard like never before. “Our new ‘Your say’ page provides a platform for kids to explain their thoughts and opinions on a topic of their choice,” says Nicky. “Kids need and deserve to be seen and heard in this world that’s shifting every day under our feet. In fact, in a few short years, they will be running this show too, and in a way, our world will start to reflect who they are, what they want and what they’re experiencing right now. We should all be very interested in the perspectives of youth!”
As you could imagine for a magazine targeted at pre-teens, Youkie has a broad offering of features on all topics, from adventure and activism to science and sport, plus cool comics and short stories, creative challenges, topical debate, puzzles, books, problems, and posters. The magazine also features a new four-part manga series, written by 11-year-old Kelly Tao, that examines how our online and real selves can align and conflict. In addition, the existing advice feature titled “Ask Kathy” now features additional perspectives with the addition of proud Ngarigo educator Aunty Vicky and basketball trainer Coach Al.
Youkie has maintained Kookie Magazine’s practice of not including advertising within its magazines. Nicky says that while they’re not opposed to commercial partnerships and are actively seeking them, they don’t want the magazine to encourage consumerism among children. “We want to foster fresh thinking, not a new generation of avid consumers, and we made a conscious decision to not solicit advertising and to treat this challenge as an advantage.”
Youkie is a quarterly print subscription magazine with the option to order single issues. The magazine has subscribers across all states and territories, including numerous regional and even remote locations. They also have a small and growing number of readers in New Zealand and in Asia-Pacific countries like Singapore and Hong Kong.