“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Kahani magazine • A Literary Magazine for Children

Kahani magazine • A Literary Magazine for Children • Ages 6-11
No advertising • Published quarterly by Kahani Media
This Parents' Choice award-winning literary magazine for children “…reflects unique life experiences from which each of us can learn.” – Parents’ Choice Foundation
Story: Kahani is an award-winning children’s literary magazine illuminating the richness and diversity that South Asian cultures bring to North America. Completely ad-free, full of great contemporary stories, art, activities, and fun facts, Kahani is a must-have for any family, school, or library seeking to empower and educate global citizens. So far, the Picnic Basket has focused only on books for children, but why not a magazine? Kahani is an
eclectic collection that blends together original storytelling with relevant, real life articles. It is told from the unique perspective of a child of South Asian descent growing up in North America. As a secular and nonpartisan magazine, Kahani welcomes readers of all ethnic and religious backgrounds.
Story behind the story: As the founder of Kahani, Monika Jain struggled to come up with a pithy name for the magazine. English or Hindi? One word or many? Noun and/or adjective? Now living in the United States, but born in India and raised in Japan, she needed a title that captured the essence of the magazine, anybody could pronounce, and was short.

Talking on the phone long-distance with her mother one day, she explained the problem. "Without hesitation, my mother's answer bounded through the miles of ocean and time separating us: “kahani.” It clicked. It was perfect," Jain relates. "You see, in Hindi, kahani means story."

But while Kahani, the magazine, highlights the cultures and traditions of countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal, it’s still an American story. Barack Obama put it best.

“Our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness,” Mr. Obama said not long ago in his inauguration speech. “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth.”

Jain started Kahani all those years ago to give her young daughter a reading experience where she could see her multicultural life reflected. Today, the magazine reflects the American experience – an America that is not just white or black, but everything in between. Kahani is truly the story of all those children in between.

Kahani has won a handful of national awards including the just announced 2009 Parents’ Choice Recommended Award and 2008/2007 Parents’ Choice Approved Awards.

Here’s the buzz:
“An enriching, empowering, and entertaining publication…” – Curriculum Connections

“With colorful graphics and kid-friendly design, Kahani bridges any potential cultural divide.”

– The School Library Journal

“…reflects unique life experiences from which each of us can learn.” – Parents’ Choice Foundation

FYI: all the review copies for this wonderful magazine have been sent and reviews are in the works; please check back and click on the "comments" link below to read what your colleagues have to say.


jwelch said...

Kahani magazine has a nice balance of fiction and non-fiction pieces without the annoyance of advertisements. The layout is appealing and the information is interesting and relevant. I will definitely share this with my students.

Score: 5

Carol said...

I thought the presentation and organization of this magazine were appealing. I thought the balance of fiction and non-fiction worked well. This issue was about voting and I found so many comparison points to discuss in regards to the voting procedures in other Countries. Beautiful glossy pages with full bleeds and double page spreads, all gathering the attention of the reader. I love how there is no advertisements too!

Carrie Blagg, Cherokee Elementary said...

Kahani magazine has wonderful fiction and non-fiction stories along with beautiful color pictures. With this being said, I do not believe this would be in my first top 5 literary magazine choices.

Score: 3

Catherine Yezak said...

Kahani is a good magazine to teach students about the differences in people and cultures. Living in an area that does not have a very diverse culture, I'm glad to see a magazine that gives kids a chance to see things from a different perspective. I am also glad that the student Kahani aims at have a voice to see that there other kids like them in the world and what they are doing about the issues all of us are facing.

Score 4

Catherine Yezak, Special Education Teacher, Marquette Area Public Schools, Marquette, Michigan

Hannah said...

I was impressed by Kahani magazine. There was a variety of articles that would appeal to a wide audience ages 8-12. Information was presented on both South Asia and South Asian Americans. Children can learn about other parts of the world, but also about children here in the U.S. who are part of another culture. The magazine itself has beautiful glossy pages that seem like they will hold up well in the classroom. I definitely will introduce this to my students.

5th grade teacher

Liz said...

Kahani was appealing because of its difference to other magazines out there for this age group. I love the fact that there are no advertisements as our kids are exposed to the advertising world all too much as it is. That being said, I wasn't floored by this magazine. It had an interesting mix of articles...but don't think it would be in my must have magazines. I rate this a 3.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love this magazine! The topics are currect and connect language arts, science, and social studies without a single advertisement. The kids really enjoyed reading the stories written by other children. Currently, the teachers are using this edition to enhance their social studeis unit on Asia while comparing and contrasting different cultures. Thank you for another resource!
Beth Davison
Draper Intermediate

Mflick1 said...

I have to agree with jwelch, that Kahani magazine is a nice balance of non-fiction and fiction.

I have a below level reader in the ninth grade and he read the magazine, was challenged enough but could make it through, and wasn't embarassed about reading it, which is very hard to do with this student. I am very happy with this magazine!

Anonymous said...

Kahani Magazine serves as a great connection for children coming from the South Asian culture into the American culture, and also as a good instrument for teaching American children about South Asian culture. I would recommend this magazine especially for cumminities with a large South Asian population, and as an awareness raiser for communities with no South Asian population.

The particultar issue of Kahani I reviewed dealt much with voting/social action/democracy. It included comparisons of Indian campaigning and voting practices to those of American practices. Also, it included non-fiction and fiction stories that inspire children to make a difference in their communities. Overall it was a very inspiring issue.

It is a literary magazine, so it is especially useful for the language arts and even has a specific department, "The Language Playground" to enhance language arts skills/knowledge. But, as other reviewers have suggested, I feel that it could be useful for social studies, too.

The layout and illustrations are very nice.

I give it a Picnic Basket rating of 4. I wouldn't necessarily plan a picnic around it, but I would definitely use it in a classroom and recommend it to students.

Sarah Oyerinde
Marion, Indiana

Rebecca said...

This was a great book for my 2nd graders and they loved seeing other parts of the world. For my higher end readers, they understood the topics and stories. My lower end readers understood very little but enjoyed listening to it read aloud.

Treasure Hatch said...

The format was fine however, this would not fit my clientele of conservative parents and studetns. I felt it was full of propaganda and liberal thinking.

Lisa Kennedy said...

While my school does have a large South Asian population I believe that their families are very involved in keeping their culture an important part of their lives. I would probably choose a literary magazine that would appeal to our entire student population.

Lemon the Duck said...

Kahani magazine exposes the reader to South Asian culture. I especially enjoyed the nonfiction articles. However I was not impressed with the fiction articles. Although there were important messages in them, I felt they were too obvious or the stories didn't hold my interest.
I thought the format was appealing and the lack of advertisements was superb.
Although this magazine focuses on South Asian cultures, which is indeed valuable, for my students,I would prefer to subscribe to a magazine that provides balance and exposure to many different cultures.
I would rate this magazine a 3.
Laura Backman
Reading Specialist
Author of "Lemon the Duck"

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading my copy of the Kahani magazine. The variety of articles make it interesting for all readers. It is a great companion for many of the books that we have reviewed through this sight.
I feel that it is very important for the American students to learn more about other countries and what the students there are reading. This magazine is a great way to do that. I will request that the school librarian orders it for our middle school readers.
Thank you very much for sharing it.
I give this read a 5 in my picnic basket.
Consultant teacher

PLLoggerR said...

Kahani is a wide-ranging literary magazine designed to highlight South Asia. The issue I received had fiction and non-fiction pieces focused on elections, campaigns, and causes, some the result of a writing contest. Reading level was mixed with some for mid-elementary, others for older students.
I believe the magazine would be useful in libraries with a sizable South Asia population. It could also be useful in helping develop multi-cultural awareness in less diverse populations, but may not get the wide readership. In a school situation I think it would be used more beneficially in a social studies class than in a literary class.
I give the magazine a 3.
Becky Jensen
Co-Director, Peacham Library

Laurie said...

Very nicely done magazine. I would use it periodically or for a short term to expose kids to different cultures, experiences and viewpoints.

Not something I would use all the time, but a nice exposure to something different.
4 out of 5

Anonymous said...

Kahani magazine offers real and touching information for our students. Its impact has lasting effects and will surely be overused and loved in the elementary classrooms. It is great used for a social studies compliment or addition to curriculum. I rate it a 5 out of 5

Anonymous said...

Kahani magazine is very well written. I think it would serve as a great complement to a variety of multi-cultural magazine subscriptions.

Tegan said...

Loved it! What a great look into other cultures and what a fabulous way to showcase children's writing!