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Workingmums.co.uk talks to Andrea Turton, editor of Blossom, a magazine for pre-school girls.
How do you get young girls to broaden their horizons? In the sea of pink magazines packed with princesses and make-up that greet parents in the newsagents a relatively new magazine aims to do just that. Blossom magazine was launched last May and gives girls the sparkly pink things they want, but also expands the stereotypical girly agenda to embrace other things like karate, football and careers like being a vet or an architect. The magazine is also full of fun activities.
“We want girls to think beyond the pink,” says editor Andrea Turton. “It’s a magazine that gives them their sparkly gifts and is pink, but has educational and aspirational content.”
The magazine has just launched a competition for World Book Day on 6 March.
The aims of the competition are to encourage children in traditional story-telling and empower girls to unleash their creativity and develop their literacy skills.
Andrea says: “We know little girls have amazing imaginations. We have four characters – the Blossom girls – who are all friends and are interested in everything from animals to arts and crafts. There is a story about them in every issue. We want to encourage girls to get inside their heads and think what they would want them to do. The sky’s the limit. The winning story will be illustrated by our illustrator and they will get a bound copy of the story. The author of Princess Poppy, Janey-Louise Jones, who will judge the competition, will also visit their school and their school will get a bundle of books from Random House.”
Blossom was launched after a gap was spotted in the market for pre-school girls who were drawn by the sparkly gifts on magazines aimed at seven to eight year olds, but found the content was not age appropriate. The company that produces the magazine is Immediate Media, which spun off from the BBC a couple of years ago.
It produces a lot of the BBC pre-school magazines, such as the CBeebies magazine. Blossom is its first non-BBC magazine and the team has had to work hard to create a new brand.
Andrea has worked on pre-school magazines since 1997 when there were hardly any magazines for that age group around. She has launched more than 10 magazines, including the CBeebies Weekly in 2006 and CBeebies Special Magazine in 2009.
Asked if she thinks magazines will become redundant as computers, ipads and mobile phones take over, Andrea is optimistic. She says: “Parents will always want their children to pick up a pen and do something on paper. Magazines are something children have to think about and engage with in a different way. They need to get a balance between digital and print.”
Andrea herself has a six-year-old son. When she returned from maternity leave she came back on three days a week. Her son went to nursery two days a week and her husband, who runs a bookshop and often works weekends, looked after him one day a week. Andrea now works four days a week and can do one day a week from home which she devotes to strategic planning.
Although her son is very active and doesn’t read many magazines, he has several friends who are girls and they have been a good source of information for Andrea about the kind of things girls like to read. She says she finds girls are more likely to read outside the gender stereotypes than boys, who won’t generally watch or read anything aimed at girls.