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Little Kids in France Read Newspapers. Mon Dieu!

My 9-year-old daughter knows an impressive amount about world events, and that’s not me bragging about her high-intellect and sophisticated tendencies. It’s because, since birth, she’s been forced to listen to NPR.

While I sometimes battle the guilt over the fact that she can’t identify anything from the Hannah Montana oeuvre, I’m comforted whenever she asks me to turn up the radio. “I wanna hear what this guy is talking about.” If it weren’t for “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered,” I sometimes wonder how she’d ever  find out about daily news and current events. She’s an avid reader but I don’t see her looking through any of our weekend newspapers, those stories about fiscal mismanagement or road construction not exactly siren calls to young kids.

Which is why I’m more than a little impressed and envious of this:

One of the most popular daily newspapers in France? It’s for kids!

The paper, Mon Quotidien, or My Daily, was founded by the same guy who made Brain Quest cards (we love these, too!). It’s geared toward 10- to 14-year-olds and is a mix of news, photos, puzzles and cartoons. The success of Mon Quotidien spawned “Petit Quotidien, or Little Daily, for 7- to 10-year-olds, and L’Actu, or, roughly, The Headlines, for 14- to 17-year-olds,” according to the New York Times.

The success of these papers is something of a surprise, since newspaper readership, like elsewhere, is in serious decline. There’s no evidence that these papers have boosted newspaper readership  (but I don’t think that means people aren’t getting the news). The papers’ publishers have no plans to move to the Internet (which, he rightfully argues, parents wouldn’t pay for), but they’re thinking iPads and other e-readers could give them a way to boost circulation and also be for-profit.

I would love to see something like this in the U.S. — not produced by Disney, not to cross-promote with characters, even educational ones — but something for kids about the world. I’d totally subscribe to that. Would you?

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Photo: under5healthyeating.nhs.uk

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