With the advent of children blogging online and the ability to uploade videos as well as text, they’ve kind of skipped some of the basics that the previous generation basically created — that of the independent zine.

What Are Zines?

Zines came of age in the mid '80s and early '90s. They have always been a part of the punk rock ethos and DIY culture. Self-publishing — which is essentially what zine making is — has a long history. Some of our classic literature was actually first self-published. The idea behind zines is self-empowerment and self-expression.

Zines were made usually on one topic. They often had comics and big illustrations. There are still zine festivals around the country were people of all ages come together at zine fests to exchange them and buy them.

What makes them a great project for kids? Often our kids — especially tweens — go silent and moody when they want to be alone. This allows for some old fashioned expression on paper. It emphasizes the concept that you only have one shot at something on paper, as opposed to computers, where you can delete and erase easily. Kids get the opportunity to express themselves and take it all the way through to publishing — with help from mom and the local print center.

Where to Get Zine Ideas

If you're looking for great zine sites for kids, try: Make ZineWe Make Zines, and Rookie Mag.

Create Your Own Characters

Two years ago, my daughter and I did our own zine together to talk about feminism and dealing with various sexist issues that were coming up at her school. She invented a superhero named Sadgirl.

Sadgirl is a Chicana superheroine who goes around defending kids being picked on by children and adult bullies. It was an important project for us and helped us grow together. For her — having just been bullied herself — it gave a voice to her frustrations when teachers did not listen to her, or when classmates were negative about her cultural identification.

How to Make the Zine

For the most basic of zines, you just need some pens, blank letter-sized paper folded pamphlet style, and an idea. Set up four sheets of paper folded and then stapled in the middle. This gives kids a framework of telling a story or speaking their mind in eight pages.

My daughter and I make at least 25 copies of our zine and she sells them on Etsy, as well as face-to-face. We've taken them to the L.A. Zine fest and the Portland Zine fest in the past.

Variations to Consider

Illustrations should be encouraged, whether it be drawings or collages or some element of scrapbooking. For kids zines, bring out stickers and markers in case they want to use them.

Allow Them to Keep it Private

Maybe your child has no interest in having his or her zine published. It’s just as valuable as a private tool to deal with grieving, trauma, and other issues. Let it happen.

Additional Resources

These might not be completely child appropriate and might be just as much for parents as kids but here are some additional resources:

Stolen Sharpie Revolution by Alex Wrekk

Whatcha Mean, What’s a Zine? by Esther Watson

Make a Zine: When Words and Graphics Collide (Zines) by Joe Biel

Join @ParentingSquad on FacebookTwitterInstagramGoogle+, and Pinterest. Have a funny, touching or interesting story to share about kids and parenting? Email us at Editor (at) ParentingSquad.com.