Plot/Content Summary: Teen Ink is a magazine that does not employ writers, reporters, or artists. The content of the magazine is entirely made up of submissions from teens from all over the country. Topics covered are diverse, from health issues to discrimination, teen activism to sports. Teens write fiction and non-fiction and provide paintings, photographs and other forms of artwork for the magazine. Each monthly issue contains articles written around specific themes, in the December 2011, issue the themes were “Celebrating the Season” and “Sibling Stories.” The magazine is organized with the following “sections:” Art Gallery, College Directory, College Reviews, Community Service, Environment, Feedback, Fiction, Health, Heroes, Nonfiction, Points of View, Poetry, Pride & Prejudice, Reviews: Book, Reviews: Movie, Reviews: Music, Reviews: Video Games, Sports and Travel & Culture. The wide range of topics covered provides a place for teens with varying interests to enjoy both reading as well as contributing to Teen Ink.
Critical Evaluation: Teen Ink is packed full with interesting and high quality writing and artwork. The honest, authentic teen voices that can be found throughout the pages of the magazine lend it depth and significance. The teen contributors to Teen Ink, both young women and young men, are creative and intelligent, interesting and interested. Teen Ink provides an opportunity for teens to become published writers and artists, “Hundreds of thousands of students have submitted their work to us and we have published more than 45,000 teens since 1989,” (Teen Ink: About Us, n.d.). Teen Ink empowers and engages, it provides an important forum for teens to exchange ideas and discuss issues important to them. It is by teens and for teens making it a great resource for information and inspiration. The magazine is used in English, creative writing, and journalism classrooms across the country. Several books have been published by the Teen Ink organization, they are entitled Teen Ink and contain themed collections of essays gathered from the magazine. The Teen Ink website contains content from the magazine as well as content unique to the web and is an additional place for teens to engage and exchange thoughts, feelings, and ideas.
Genre/Format: Print and Online Magazine
Reading Level/Interest Age: Ages 14 -18
Challenge Issues: There are many real issues that young adults deal with covered in this magazine, so there might be a challenge to some of the content. However, this magazine has been praised by The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Teacher Magazine and many more. In response to challenges, one can refer to the library’s collection development policies.
Why is this magazine included? Teen Ink is the perfect magazine for older teens of both genders to include in a library collection. I found it when I was in search of interesting and independent teen magazines that do not simply repeat the same beauty tips and celebrity gossip as many magazines on the market.