Boys’ Life, the magazine of the Boy Scouts, offers a broad conception of what it means to be a well-rounded Scout. Each issue follows a troop’s big scouting expedition, such as canoeing down the Buffalo River or sailing on the Great lakes, and highlights scouts whose achievements-including chess, animal husbandry, rescues and athletics-have made headlines. Additionally, each issue contains articles with book or movie reviews, a how-to article featuring a specialized activity such as magic tricks or bird-watching, and features at the front listing readers’ hobbies, collections, and trivia. The magazine encourages readers to explore questions of faith and religion, both their own and their peers’. An informational series on faith-related badges explains how scouts adhering to a variety of religions, including Buddhism and Bah?’?, might earn a badge for learning about their religious beliefs more deeply. Boys’ Life is one of the few children’s variety magazines that tries to address children’s religious identities in a reasonably inclusive way; for some parents, this aspect may be off-putting, but for other families, it may fill a void and offer a platform for discussions of interfaith knowledge and religious belief.
Articles about shopping for outdoor gear will be quite helpful for those who are regularly involved in outdoor adventure trips on a budget; for other readers, these articles may feel like irrelevant advertising. Overall, this niche magazine that will appeal to Scouts and children who enjoy outdoor activities.
Naomi Lesley ©2019 Parents’ Choice
Naomi Lesley taught middle and high school English for six years. She is currently in a doctoral program at the George Washington University, focusing on American young adult literature.