Illustoria is the perfect gift for your favorite thinking kid.

Cool Mom Picks

As the holidays get closer and our annual search for off-the-beaten path gifs for kids gets more intense, I’m so delighted to recommend a subscription to Illustoria. A magazine “for creative kids and their grownups,” it makes an amazing gift for kids and tweens who love art, design, storytelling, comics, interviews, crafts and activity ideas.

It’s basically made for that one kid who always seems to popsesss the most fascinating random trivia about, say, Norse mythological figures. Or how to say “home” in 10 different languages. Or the various pets owned by famous authors.

(Um, hi. That was me as a child. Sorrynotsorry, former classmates.)

Each magazine is thoughtfully edited around a single theme (Home, Symbols, Food, Black & White), fabulously produced, beautifully designed, truly engaging, and packed with diverse interviews from authors we love, to  the co-founder of Voodoo Doughnut, to musical artist and activist Tunde Olaniron, to a 14-year-old CEO.




Mercifully, Illustoria isn’t jam-packed with advertising — they limit it to three carefully selected sponsors per issue. That also accounts for the higher price of the magazine, but I am totally okay with that trade-off, considering this isn’t like your standard magazine that gets tossed after a month. Each one is produced more like an annual or a special issue.

Oh, and it’s now being published by McSweeney’s, with support from Dave Eggers, if that gives you a better idea of the sensibility,.

All kids are thinkers, of course. But you know the kind of child who really devours information? Or sees a craft video on Instagram then goes and actually makes that thing? Or learns about a fascinating artist then begs you to go to an exhibit or download an album? This is a wonderful gift for them.

Lucky them.

Right now you can order issue #9, FOOD, and preorder issue #10, COLOR from Illustoria. Or if you want to check it out first, it’s currently available in nearly 150 libraries around the US. Just know there don’t seem to be subscriptions available at this time — to make it a gift, you can order individual past issues, or have them sent as new ones come out throughout the next year. 

Liz Gumbinner