Magazine of the Asian Community Editor/Publisher: Sunil J. Koozhampala 50 pgs./Monthly/Year subscription: $25
Just to see what sort of magazines are being produced for kids these days, our Hinduism Today staff journeyed to a local Walden's bookstore to scout the mag rack. We bought everything for kids and teens and headed back to our offices for the examination. What we saw of this sampling was slickly produced, chock-full of Wild West, detective and science stories, short profiles on ambitious little people who are on a career fast-track by age twelve, and interesting tidbits on everything from wildlife to wild fashion. Fine enough. But the moral and ethical depth of these publications is as thin as the paper they're printed on. Some teen mags openly advocated promiscuity.
Clearly, Hindu parents everywhere are severely limited by what they can buy for their children, particularly when most publications in the West will be based on Christian/Judaic belief patterns.
Recently, a magazine (started this year) crossed our desk which appears to capture the backyard flavor of a children's magazine yet effectively communicate Hindu values. Children's World is not slick - no glossy paper and studio pictures with jazzy type - but it is professional, the type is very BIG and there is an obvious desire to stuff as much variety as possible between the covers. And it's interesting enough to sneak under the covers with a trusty flashlight - the acid test for kid approval.
The issue we reviewed began with a brief introduction to Nobel poet Rabindranath Tagore and a sample poem, then quickly sprinted through seventeen different entries that ranged from a canine ode called "Up with Dogdom" to a science fiction story about a teenager dealing with fear and xenophobia on an alien world. Many of the items are written by youth, there's some traditional folk and Hindu myth tales, a lot of stories focusing on family life, usually with some moral built into them, and the necessity of striving for academic excellence is touted. As long as Hindu ethics are leavened in these stories, Children's World is worth subscribing to.
Be A Frog, A Bird, or A Tree
Creative Yoga Exercises for Children Author: Rachel Carr 95 pages Harper &. Row $6.95
This is a wonderful and imaginatively useful adaptation of hatha yoga for youngsters - yet teens through octogenarians would appreciate its theme and presentation.
If there were a cosmic list of what should be taught to children - especially Hindu children - hatha yoga would be at the top along with ethics and vegetarianism. For health, all-round strength and flexibility, and for body awareness, hatha yoga is unsurpassed. Eventually, its practice will create emotional sublimity and spiritual lucidity of the mind. This makes religion a real experience. As the book demonstrates through a prolific array of excellent photos and sketches, it is never too early to start. Indeed, the earlier the better, for muscles that should have the flex of a green willow branch will have petrified with stiffness by age ten if they are not conditioned.
Rachel Carr wrote this book directly to the child. It is meant for them to pick up, read and start practicing. Helpful hints and folksy poetry embroider the pictures. As she writes, "Those who practice the exercises regularly find that they are able to do all kinds of things better."