CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 20 . . . .May 25, 2007
What If? Canada's Fiction Magazine for Teens.
Mike Leslie, managing editor.
Guelph, ON: What If? Publications (www.whatifmagazine.com), 2003-.
48 pp., 5 x yr., cover price $4.95 per issue or $25.00 by subscription.
Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.
Review by Joanne Peters.
What if you are a young author, a poet, fiction writer, or aspiring journalist looking for a place to publish your work? What if you are a young artist or photographer looking for a Canadian publication to which you can submit material? What if you are a teacher of the illustrative arts or of creative writing and want to provide your students with examples of their peers' writing? What if you are looking to try your chance at entering your work in a writing contest?
What If? Canada's Fiction Magazine for Teens offers a much-needed venue for the creative work of writers and artists under the age of 19. Published four times a year (rising costs have forced a change from a bimonthly publication to a quarterly), the 48-page magazine provides publishing opportunities, as well as book reviews (by young adults) of young adult fiction, interviews with authors who write for teen readers, art and photo galleries, profiles of its young contributors, and a listing of workshops for writers, educators, and students.
The covers of the four magazines which I received for review were all eye-catching, whether they were original art works, photos, or graphic productions. The magazine uses non-glossy paper, which does diminish some of the intensity from the colour reproduction, but this is a small point, and is necessary in order to keep costs down. Some of the artwork seems a bit derivative of current animation styles, but one has to remember that the artists are teens, and their subjects reflect their interests. What If? also hosts a companion web-site (www.whatifmagazine.com) which is worth exploration, although teachers will find the content on the "Educators" section to be a bit uneven in quality. The March/April 2007 edition, which I received for review, also contained a Teachers' Guide (free of charge to Educational Set subscribers). The Guide is designed to assist teachers who want to use the magazine as a teaching resource; however, as in the "Educators" section of the web-site, quality varied greatly.
Oddly enough, it was only on the web-site, and not in the hard copy, that I found information on the various subscription plans (the Classroom Set of 25 magazines at a cost of $299; the Educators' Set priced at $99 offering 5 copies of the magazine and the Teacher's Guide, or the individual subscription at $25.00 per year). Conveniently, the magazine may also be purchased through the EBSCO magazine subscription service. It should be noted that copyright remains with the individual author or illustrator, and no portion of the magazine can be reproduced without the individual author or illustrator's permission. For that reason, classroom teachers or teacher-librarians planning to purchase the magazine should keep its end use in mind (i.e. there is no license to make copies for classroom use, unless the young writer or artist is contacted and gives permission.)
This spring, What If? celebrates its fourth anniversary as a publication. To have survived for four years in a niche market of this type is a real accomplishment in Canada's publishing world.
A worthwhile addition to high school magazine racks, and creative classrooms.
Joanne Peters is a teacher-librarian at Kelvin High School in Winnipeg, MB.
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