Children's and Young People's Magazines

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Children’s and Young People’s Magazines


periodical publications for preschool children and for school-children of the younger, intermediate, and older age groups.

In Russia the first children’s magazine—Detskoe chtenie dlia serdtsa i razuma (Children’s Reading for the Heart and Mind, 1785-89), founded by N. I. Novikov—had an educational aim. In the first half of the 19th century magazines for children and young people were primarily of a religious and monarchist orientation. The only magazine worthy of attention, in V. G. Belinskii’s opinion, was the Novaiia biblioteka dlia vospitaniia (The Modern Library for Education, 1847-49), edited by P. G. Redkin. In the second half of the 19th century, under the influence of the revolutionary democratic movement, a number of progressive magazines appeared: Podsnezhnik (The Snowdrop, 1858-62), Rassvet (Daybreak, 1859-62), Rodnik (The Spring, 1882-1917), and Detskoe, chtenie (Children’s Reading, 1869-1906; in 1906 it was renamed Iunaiia Rossiia [Young Russia], and it continued to appear until 1918). Detskoe chtenie was edited first by A. N. Ostrogorskii and later by V. P. Ostrogorskii and D. I. Tikhomirov. These periodicals carried the best works of Russian and world literature. At the same time magazines were in circulation in which much space was given to pseudoromantic tales and the propagation of bourgeois philanthropic ideas. An example of this type of magazine was Zadushevnoe slovo (Sincere Word). At the end of the 19th century popular-science magazines began to be published, among them lunyi chitatel’ (The Young Reader), which appeared in 1899 and was banned in 1906. The literary magazine Tropinka (The Path, 1906-12), along with stylized fantastic and mystical tales and Symbolist poetry, carried the works of A. Kuprin, A. N. Tolstoy, and K. Chukovskii. The growing struggle of the revolutionary proletariat also influenced the character of the new juvenile magazines. Some of them were close to the revolutionary democratic orientation: Zolotoe detstvo (Golden Childhood, 1907-17) and Maiak (The Beacon, 1909-18), the latter edited by I. I. Gorbunov-Posadov. The newspaper Pravda recommended (Dec. 25, 1912) Maiak for the children of workers.

In all, from the end of the 18th century to October 1917, more than 100 magazines for children and young people had been published in Russia at various times.

After the victory of the October Revolution, Soviet magazines for children and young people, like Soviet children’s literature as a whole, became active partners with the party and the state in the communist rearing of the coming generation. The first Soviet magazine for children, Severnoe siianie (Northern Lights, 1919-20), was founded by M. Gorky. In 1919 juvenile magazines began to be published not only in Petrograd and Moscow but in many other cities as well. With the organization of the Pioneers in 1922, Pioneer magazines began to appear, including Baraban (The Drum, 1923-26), which subsequently merged with Pioner (The Pioneer); lunye stroiteli (Young Builders, 1923-25); lunye tovarishchi (Young Comrades, 1922); and Pioner, which has been published since 1924. Special magazines for peasant children also began to be published, such as Iskorka (The Little Spark, 1924-33) and Druzhnye rebiata (Friendly Children, 1927-53), which appeared from 1933 to 1937 under the name Kolkhoznye rebiata (Kolkhoz Children). The magazines Vorobei (The Sparrow, later called Novyi Robinson [The Modern Robinson Crusoe], 1923-25), Ezh (The Hedgehog, 1928-35), Chizh (The Siskin, 1930-41), and Zateinik (The Humorist, 1929-41 and 1946-53) played an important part in the development of Soviet children’s literature. The growing interest of young people in the problems of the transformation of nature and of technology gave rise to the need for starting specialized popular-science magazines, including Iunyi naturalist (The Young Naturalist, since 1928), Iunyi tekhnik (The Young Technician, since 1956), and Kvant (Quantum, since 1969).

The decree of the Central Committee of the CPSU “On Measures for the Further Development of Soviet Children’s Literature” (1969) called for children’s literature, including magazines, to raise the ideological and artistic levels of published works with the aim of inculcating children with devotion to communist ideals, love of country, high moral and ethical standards, a sense of proletarian internationalism, industry, and an interest in learning.

In the USSR in 1971 the leading children’s and young people’s magazines were Veselye kartinki (Merry Pictures), Murzilka, Pioner, Iunyi naturalist, Koster (The Bonfire), Iunyi tekhnik, and Sovetskii shkol’nik (The Soviet School-child), a magazine for blind children. In the Union republics as well as in the Tatar and Bashkir ASSR’s juvenile magazines in the languages of the nationalities are published. Children’s miscellanies are published in some major cities, including Zvezdochka (The Little Star, since 1953) and Druzhba (Friendship, since 1951), published in Leningrad; Volzhskie zori (Volga Dawns, since 1949), published in Kuibyshev; and Tropinka (The Path, since 1967), published in Novosibirsk. Reading matter for senior pupils also includes the Komsomol youth magazines, such as Vozhatyi (The Leader), Komsomol’ skaia zhizn’ (Komsomol Life), Iunost’ (Youth), Smena (Younger Generation), Znaniesila (Knowledge Is Strength), and Tekhnikamolodezhi (Technology for Youth). Problems of children’s journalism and of supervising children’s reading are examined in Detskaia literatura (Children’s Literature), a magazine of criticism and bibliography.

Foreign magazines for children and young people. The first magazines for children appeared in Germany in the late 18th century, for example, Leipziger Wochenblatt (Leipzig Weekly, 1772-74), founded by J. C. Adelung. By the middle of the 19th century the number of children’s and young people’s magazines had grown rapidly in Western Europe and the USA. Along with magazines of progressive ideological orientation, such as Youth’s Companion (1827-1941) in the USA and Boy’s Own Paper, which began publishing in Great Britain in 1879, there were a considerable number of magazines of a religious character, for example, Deutscher Kinder-freund (German Children’s Friend, 1878-1932) in Germany and The Catholic Youth Magazine (1857-61) in the USA. In the capitalist countries of today (especially the USA) most magazines for children and youth are commercial publications on a low ideological and literary level. Comics—a number of funny pictures with ongoing comic heroes—and so-called horror comics, propagating violence, have an enormous circulation. Periodicals of a religious nature continue to be distributed. Communist Parties and other progressive organizations in capitalist countries oppose the publication and distribution of magazines that corrupt the minds and emotions of children and young people and to offset the influence of these magazines publish their own periodicals, for example, Pioniere (The Pioneer) in Italy and Rakett (The Rocket) in Finland.

In socialist countries, magazines for children and young people help introduce children to socialist construction and facilitate the work of children’s organizations, the education of children, and the organization of their leisure time. Magazines published in 1971 included Druzhinka (The Team, since 1949), Drugarche (The Friend, since 1965), and Pionerski rukovoditel (Pioneer Leader, since 1946) in Bulgaria; Pajtás (Little Octobrist, since 1946) and Üttörù (Pioneer, since 1949) in Hungary; Bummi (since 1957) and Junge Generation (The Young Generation, since 1947) in the German Democratic Republic; Plomyczek (The Little Flame, since 1948) in Poland; Arici pogonici (The Little Hedgehog, since 1957) and Čravătă roşie (The Red Tie, since 1953) in Rumania; Československý pionyr (The Czechoslovak Pioneer; Prague, since 1954) and ABC pionierov (The Pioneers’ ABC; Bratislava, since 1960) in Czechoslovakia; and Drugarce (The Friend; Skopje, since 1953), Pionir (The Pioneer; Zagreb, since 1942), and Pioniri (Pioneers; Belgrade, since 1944) in Yugoslavia.


Chekhov, N. V. “O detskikh zhurnalakh.” In Detskaia literatura. Compiled by N. V. Chekhov. Moscow, 1909. Pages 59-82.
Gorky, M. “Slovo k vzroslym. [O zadachakh zhurnala dlia detei.] Severnoe siianie, 1919, nos. 1-2.
Krupskaia, N. K. O detskoi literature i detskom chtenii. Moscow, 1954.
Startsev, I. I. Voprosy detskoi literatury i detskogo chteniia. Moscow, 1962; Moscow, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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