Yesterday I participated in an interview with National Geographic Kids and Little Kids editor Rachel Bucholz to learn about the ins and outs of working for such an amazing organization. I have long been a fan of National Geographic’s magazines ranging from the popular yellow-framed bordered National Geographic to National Geographic Traveler, Kids and Little Kids. I love to learn about our amazing planet and being a National Geographic Kids Insider has given me the opportunity to get an even more in-depth view of all the fabulous things National Geographic is involved in.
Rachel has worked as an editor for over 20 years and has also authored several books. She currently works as editor and Vice President of National Geographic Kids and Little Kids magazine where she thoroughly enjoys inspiring children to become future stewards of our planet. As the nation’s most popular kids’ magazine, it was really fascinating to learn more about what makes National Geographic Kids so wonderful and keeps children wanting to read more. Here is what Rachel had to say.
What is your day to day job like and what do you enjoy most about being an editor for National Geographic Kids and Little Kids?
Rachel loves the fact that every single day on the job at National Geographic is different. As an editor, she is working on several different issues at a time which is also thrilling but challenging. National Geographic already has the remainder of 2014 issues and topics planned out as they need to work well in advance.
What Rachel loves most about her job is the product they create. She is passionate about getting kids excited about the world around them in a fun, educational way. National Geographic Kids is written for kids and even uses a team of 2,000 kids who help them ensure that their articles inspire readers and engage them in a creative way that makes learning fun.
What makes National Geographic captivate children and motivate them to learn about the world?
Each article takes an in-depth look inside each animals world and truly helps children understand and relate more with animals. The writer also loves to include their infamous “Weird but True” facts in all their stories because children adore them. In fact, National Geographic sells entire “Weird but True” books for children that contain such interesting tidbit as “Did you know that raindrops are shaped like hamburger buns, that sunsets on Mars are blue, or that whales have belly buttons?. You wonder where on earth National Geographic researchers and writers get so much information (In “Weird but True!” 5, there are over 300 outrageous facts that I have never ever heard of before!). Rachel said that National Geographic uses one of the strictest research policies in the business. Every single fact in their books and magazines are confirmed by three separate reputable sources. Even these….
What kind of cover is most popular with readers?
Per Rachel, National Geographic Kids employs a “secret formula”. What works best on their covers is a kid-friendly animal shot making the animal look cute and cuddly. Usually the cover shot shows the full body of the animal with its mouth open. Why? Because this makes the animal look like its smiling! For obvious reasons, they steer away from using frightening or scary photos of predatory-looking animals.
What kind of advice do you have for parents to engage their children to read?
First and foremost, co-reading with your child every day is extremely important. Not only does it help develop strong bonds between parent and child, it helps children grow a love of learning and reading. Second, all National Geographic Kids magazines are highly interactive offering lots of different kinds of learning activities that parents can do together with their child.
What is the most fun part of being an editor for National Geographic Kids?
Per Rachel, by far creating and delivering products that she loves is the best part of her job. She has fun working on it and loves to see the end result: Getting kids excited and passionate about the world around them. In her eyes, it is the first step in making children become more involved and care more about the world.
It is something I cannot agree with more. Inspiring today’s young citizens to care deeply about our planet leads to hope that they will someday help take care of it. At least by doing a better job than we are.