I skipped the order of posts this week because I wanted to give you “Women in Black” for Halloween, but I don’t want you to think I forgot about the Magazine of the Week.
I wrote a little about Anorak a couple summers ago (Summer, and the Reading is Lazy… and Child’s Play) but we have several years’ worth now, and I’m still pretty excited about it. Published quarterly, in London, it is printed on recycled matte-finish paper and full of colorful images. It is the brainchild of Cathy Olmedillas, who worked for independent publisher Wagadon (publisher of The Face and Arena) in the 1990s.
When Olmedillas had a child of her own, she was disappointed in other kids magazines, finding them both commercial and gendered. Anorak, dubbed “The Happy Magazine for Kids”, offers her version: a colorful booklet about playing and reading and fantasy without ads. Every issue covered in Anorak reflects Oscar Olmedillas’ and his mother’s experiences together, like going to museums in London.
Oscar has grown up with the title: Olmedillas once overheard her son telling a friend, “my mum, she wakes up in the middle of the night to create a magazine.”* As Oscar has grown, he has also contributed games or poems to Anorak.
Despite some written material (mostly by Omedillas), the title is driven by dynamic and varied illustration work. Olmedillas lays out the ideas, then works with a pool of illustrators to bring them to the page. While she maintains the unenviable position of being editor, art director, writer, assigner, salesperson, bookkeeper, and marketer for the title, she is (justly) proud of how each issue comes out.
As with many other titles, the Anorak blog sells related materials. Refreshingly, they are all kids books, coloring books, or posters and cards. Somehow, neither writing nor artwork manages not to be cynical or condescending.