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Supacase's avatar

Is Smithsonian magazine appropriate for a well-read 11 year old?

Asked by Supacase (14558points) December 21st, 2009

I am looking for a Christmas gift for my husband’s nephew. His mom said anything to read would be best. I know he likes Harry Potter, but she also said he loves history. She said he will honestly read anything.

He is extremely smart and reads far beyond his years – he was reading Moby Dick at age 8 or 9.

I am looking for a history magazine so he can continue to have something new to read throughout the year. Problem is, I know nothing about history magazines. Smithsonian looks interesting, but is there something you think might be better for him?

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22 Answers

gemiwing's avatar

How about National Geographic? There’s history, sociology and there’s not much a boy likes better than to dream of going to far-off places.

Forgot a bit- Yes, I do think that Smithsonian is a great magazine.

dpworkin's avatar

I think that sounds like a very thoughtful gift.

Darwin's avatar

I started reading Smithsonian at about that age. It isn’t just history, you know. It includes the natural sciences, anthropology and cultural studies, but the photos are excellent. I think he might enjoy it very much. OTOH, National Geographic was also a favorite of mine, and not just because of the pictures of naked tribes-people.

Either magazine would be a terrific gift for him. If he has a specific area of interest, there are all sorts of specialized magazines, such as these, but for now, Smithsonian is a good choice.

gemiwing's avatar

@Darwin I agree, I loved them both. I don’t know if I could pick a favorite between them.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Yes, it’s an excellent magazine.

dpworkin's avatar

A more idiosyncratic, small circulation magazines for kids who love writing is Stone Soup. It’s all written by kids, and it’s quite charming. A good gift for an incipient writer.

Supacase's avatar

Thank you all so much. I thought about National Geographic, too. They are both on sale through Amazon right now, which makes it an even tougher choice!

Cruiser's avatar

If it is history he loves than why not the History Magazine from the History Channel?

Ghost_in_the_system's avatar

He should be fine. If he is a good reader, he will probably have figured out how to deal with things he doesn’t understand. And that magazine will only broaden his horizons, making him more well rounded.

hearkat's avatar

I read both Smithsonian and National Geographic at that age… I think it’s a great idea!

janbb's avatar

The only thing a good reader “shouldn’t” read at 11 is something that might be too upsetting. I think Smithsonian or another history magazine is a great gift idea.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Yes, I had that magazine at about that age.

Supacase's avatar

@Cruiser I think that is probably out of our price range, but it is a good idea.

ubersiren's avatar

I definitely read the National Geographics at that age and loved them! What a super gift idea.

SonjaBegonia's avatar

Absolutely! Can’t go wrong with Smithsonian. Or National Geographic, for that matter.

HighShaman's avatar

That would make an Excellent gift for a young boy who is doing well in school…. and likes that sort of thing .

Trillian's avatar

Absolutely! Smithsonian, NG, maybe even Scientific American. I mean, if he was reading Moby Dick… I had to FORCE myself to finish it. Good for you, encouraging him to read. Have you considered getting him a Kindle? Also, if he’s really interested in being informed, give him this link. The site is ALL kinds of talks about issues, current events, and is really informative.

lonelydragon's avatar

Yes. It has fascinating articles about ancient, world, and natural history. It will be slightly challenging, but not too difficult for him.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Smithsonian, Discover, Popular Science, National Geographic… I read all of those when I was younger. Even if I didn’t understand everything in the articles, I remembered more than I thought I did and later made use of it. Don’t underestimate your child’s memory OR curiosity. : )

Shemarq's avatar

I remember reading it when I was a kid and I enjoyed it. There are even more out there that he might like as well. The others have posted some terrific suggestions. I’ve always given my kids books and magazines that were a little above their ages because they are both avid readers and love to learn. Encouraging a child to read something besides Highlights (which is also good) allows them to learn about things they would not have known about before.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

@CaptainHarley just listed all my childhood favorites. Too bad the magazine called OMNI is defunct, that one was cool.

dabbler's avatar

What I like about the Smithsonian vs, say, Scientific American is that an article in the Smithsonian can have a lot more story and a lot more scope to it. They’ll bring information from multiple fields into the exposition and integrate it into deep, broad understanding.
National Geographic can be especially enriching from a visual POV. While incredible photography is more common and available these days the NatGeo photography is first rate and fascinating.
But hey I like @CaptainHarley list a lot. I remember Popular Science being a must-read/repeat-read for me for years. The occasional issue of Popular Science I have seen in recent years looks to me to be at least as well done now but with more dramatic graphics and more than enough product reviews.
If you get any of these yourself and can part with them you could test the waters with a casual gift of a batch of recent ones.

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