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We love getting to see the work and artistry of our students! To celebrate their achievements, we host the FINISH LINE contest at the end of the academic year, where we award prizes in several categories. Click on the cover photo to read the magazine. Enjoy!

All magazines shared with permission. Copyright of student authors asserted.

Apart from grouping the magazines by award, they are not presented in a particular order.

Spy World

By Madelyn P.

Age 13, in Virginia

Winner of “Best in Show” in the 2022 Finish Line contest. Madelyn’s magazine jumped out at us right from the start, with its bold graphic cover. We were very impressed by the layout on every page and Madelyn’s theme integration overall. Spy World is filled with a variety of excellent and unique pieces, flavored by humor, subtlety, and cleverness. Her article “Spy Profile: Charles Fraser-Smith” also won an “Outstanding Piece” Award.

Photo credits provided in magazine. Madelyn’s mother and sister provided layout suggestions.

With Love from the Heartland

By Madeline I.

Age 13, in Nebraska

Winner of “Best in Show” in the 2021 Finish Line contest. In a year when we received quite a view worthy contenders for “Best in Show,” Madeline’s magazine just rose gracefully above the rest for a certain undefinable something. The writing is great, the theme well developed, but when it comes down to it, there is just so much, well, heart in With Love from the Heartland. The pieces that especially stand out to us are her letters to the editor, the poetry, and her travel story. Several of Madeline’s assignments won awards in our contests earlier in the school year.

Photo Credits: Personal photos + Pixbay/Pexels free image library. Graphics/Art Credits: Student’s art + Creative Market licensed material.

The Maggiezine

By Maggie V.

Age 13, in Georgia

Winner of “Best in Show” in the 2020 Finish Line contest. This magazine fits its humorous name perfectly. Its theme is a combination of cats and cakes because that’s what Maggie is into—especially a certain cat named Gilbert. From start to finish, The Maggiezine is full of personality and fun touches, like comics and searching for the cat’s nap spot on every page. Maggie absolutely excels with the poetry. The Epic Quest of Gilbert Le Cat in particular gave us some great laughs.

Maggie says: “Many thanks to my Dad for help with any technical problems, and to my sister for editing everything.”

Outdoor Adventures

By Dallas R.

Age 14, in Michigan

Winner of “Best in Show” in the 2019 Finish Line contest. A magazine that evidences obvious effort, and the visual presentation is well done too. There is a lot to love inside—a fantastic ballad, an excellent product review, and a how-to article on trapping that shows real attention to the different needs of his audience. But perhaps most notable is his skill with short stories, especially the crash survival story from the point of view of a tree nearby. His stories successfully use more “story beats” than a short story usually can sustain.

Dallas has listed photo credits in the inside cover.

The Game Cupboard

By Nathan M.

Age 14, in Tennessee

Winner of “Best in Show” in the 2018 Finish Line contest. What great integration of theme into every part of the magazine! An all-around great magazine, but especially noteworthy are “Rising From the Dust”—one of the most fascinating and well-written biographical pieces we’ve seen in a student magazine—and “The Game Shop”—a story with a very clever arc!

Nathan would like to credit his mom for the back cover photo.

This magazine was sent to us in the mail, and we scanned the pages. We apologize that the scanning process doesn’t result in the best presentation!

The Wonder Wanderer

By Nicole S.

Age 15, in British Columbia, Canada

Winner of “Best in Show” in the 2017 Finish Line contest. Nicole does an amazing job of matching theme and content—what a great example of taking advantage of unique opportunities to write a cool magazine! She also does a good job illustrating her theme with photos. Her end credits made us all laugh!


The Current

By Paige W.

Age 13, in Florida

The Current won “Best in Show” in our 2016 Finish Line contest! Paige impressed us by how much she stays on theme. She really took ownership of the magazine, adding a note from the editor, etc.! And it is also nicely formatted. It’s an all-around good, fun magazine with plenty of personal and humorous touches. If we have a favorite among the articles inside, it would be her “Wish Fish” poem—it made us laugh!

Nomadic Life

By Brock S.

Age 11, in Alaska

Winner of an “Outstanding Piece” award in the 2022 Finish Line contest. Who knew that you could make chowder with jellyfish? We certainly didn’t, until reading Brock’s (award-winning) review of this unique dish. Nomadic Life is chock full of adventurous and informative pieces. We highlighted his crypto-quote puzzle during our live webinar, and also enjoyed getting a peek into his life on the road – and the sea! – through his photographs. Several of Brock’s poems won awards in our contests earlier in the school year.

Brock wishes to credit his grandmother for the photos and graphic design.

The DnD20

By Jonas S.

Age 13, in Kansas

Winner of an “Outstanding Piece” award in the 2022 Finish Line contest. Jonas’s colorful, dynamic cover calls to readers to pick up a copy and open its pages. His adventurous “Dungeons & Dragons” theme is clearly present throughout his magazine, along with his knowledge and enjoyment of the RPG game, which makes each writing piece fun to read. We found his (award-winning) article “The Remarkable Sleeping Properties of Dungeons and Dragons” very hilarious.

Jonas would like to credit his mother for offering poetry assistance. 

Dance Freely

By Olivia B.

Age 15, in New Zealand

Winner of an “Outstanding Piece” award in the 2021 Finish Line contest, Dance Freely is an unusually thoughtful dance magazine. We receive magazines with a ballet or dance theme every year, but Olivia’s stands out for her honesty about the tough sides of dance, from physical pain to friendship pressures, and the topics she write about, including the prevalence of eating disorders among dancers. It’s a wonderful magazine overall; the prose is beautiful throughout. Our favorite piece is “How to: Pointe Shoes.”

Pageturners Magazine

By Alyse T.

Age 14, in Wisconsin

Winner of an “Outstanding Piece” award in the 2021 Finish Line contest, Pageturners is a delight to read. The opening of her award-winning article, “Pedaling Though Writing: The Story of Christine Uss,” places us right into a scene made extra interesting with dialogue. Its engaging structure makes use of fiction techniques to tell us a true story. There are many excellent and unique writing pieces in Pageturners, including a book review that absolutely persuaded us to read the book, a dangerous directions piece, and a very humorous short story called Story Time.

Alyse wishes to credit her mother/teacher for limited editing assistance.


By Zephyrus B.

Age 15, in Washington

Winner of an “Outstanding Piece” award in the 2020 Finish Line contest, UniqueCycles is a wonderful magazine. The writing is engaging and interesting, and the design complements the theme beautifully. This is truly a passion-driven topic for Zephyrus, and it shows! Lots of knowledge and creativity here!

Research source credits are listed on pages where needed. All creative work is by the student!

Ferret Fancy

By Keira P.

Age 13, in Rhode Island

Winner of an “Outstanding Piece” award in the 2021 Finish Line contest, Ferret Fancy is one of the most unusual and fun themes we have encountered. This magazine features some terrific writing. We have awarded Keira for her amazing limerick and her short story, “Shark-like,” both of which show great characterization. However, this magazine is strong overall. Her review is very professional, and we like her layout too.

Keira wishes to credit Canva for all design templates and photos!

Red River Valley Farm

By Elizabeth H.

Age 14, in North Dakota

Elizabeth’s “Otis and the Deer” story won an “Outstanding Piece” award in the 2020 Finish Line contest. It is laugh-out-loud funny, but more impressively, it shows excellent story structure and pacing—one of the best pieces of writing to come out of Cover Story! Sprinkled throughout the magazine are mentions of numerous awards Elizabeth has received in our other contests—she’s a gifted writer! The magazine as a whole is polished, and there are many extra touches beyond the course requirements.

Elizabeth has listed photo credits in the inside back cover.

Into the Myths

By Jonathan E.

Age 11, in North Carolina

Jonathan’s collection of fantasy poems placed in the “Outstanding Piece” category in the 2020 Finish Line contest. We especially enjoyed his ballad, “Pollution,” and his clever haiku about Persephone. Both poems showcase one of Jonathan’s strengths: a gift with fusing very different concepts together. The way he applied his theme to the various assignments wasn’t just fitting, but often quite innovative!

Jonathan has listed photo credits in the inside cover.


By Avarie J.

Age 12, in Texas

“Outstanding Piece” award in the 2019 Finish Line contest. We are especially impressed by Avarie’s great article about Kitty O’Neill, “It Was Fun.” We also want to commend her for an excellent last line in her poem “Timeless Memories” and for her very interesting nonfiction article about building a to-scale race car out of wood!

Avarie would like to credit her two older sisters and her mother as editors of her magazine.


By Samson K.

Age 13, in Illinois

“Outstanding Piece” award in the 2019 Finish Line contest. The standout element of this over-all excellent magazine is Samson’s review of Mary Poppins Returns; it reads like a professional review, the voice is not forced, and his word choices evoke clear images in the mind! The interview Samson wrote up is also really cool, we enjoyed the short stories, and his monkey ballad is great. Special commendation on visuals, but what we commend more is that the content matches the visual excellence.

Samson would like to credit his older brother for helping to edit, his mom for both editing and help with layout, and his dad for showing him how the software worked.

GMZ Weekly – Boredom Busters

By Gloria M.

Age 11, in California

“Outstanding Piece” award in the 2021 Finish Line contest. We absolutely loved Gloria’s advice column! It’s perhaps the best example of this assignment we have ever received. The problem is not only realistic but communicated in a believable and relatable way, and the answering letter is outstandingly thoughtful. Very well done, Gloria!

Gloria would like to credit her fellow Cover Story students and friends Malina and Zoe for helping with design.

Pests and Proboscises

By Katie Y.

Age 12, in Florida

“Outstanding Piece” award in the 2019 Finish Line contest. We love Katie’s article “Protecting Your Monarchs.” There is such a sense of joy in it and of her interest in insects. This one clear and purposeful piece conveys the flavor of the whole magazine. The reader can relax in the confidence that the magazine editor is an expert and enjoy learning something new. What clear, informed writing without being dry! That’s quite an accomplishment!

Katie used and properly credited Creative Commons for several photos in her magazine. She also credits her mother, Kristin, for some graphics and layout assistance. All have been properly attributed/credited.

Conscious Thought

By Lea K.

Age 14, in British Columbia

Lea won an “Outstanding Piece” award in 2021. It was difficult to select which one of her magazine pieces to single out, as she has a lot of fine writing in here, but we chose her poem “What Happens in the Spotlight” not only for its effectiveness as a poem and its unusual use of language, but for the way it showcases the theme. Conscious Thought really stands out for the way the theme shapes the tone as well as the content. We love it!


Thread Tales

By Thalassa B.

Age 13, in Washington

Thread Tales placed in the “Outstanding Piece” category in our 2020 Finish Line contest! Technically, Thalassa won this award for the interview she conducted with Books Margoof, a toy-maker and educator, but it was hard to choose because the content in Thread Tales is both interesting and beautiful. We especially loved “Nature’s Quilt.” Thalassa uses sewing to create some very creative and stunning works of art! This is clearly a passion-driven magazine!

All work is Thalassa’s unless noted.

Imagination Never Ends

By Astrid D.

Age 13, in Ontario, Canada

“Highlight” award in the 2022 Finish Line contest. Astrid’s “Lord of the Rings”-inspired ad made us laugh out loud. We simply had to share her wittiness during the live webinar. We also included her thoughtful letter to the editor in the highlight. (You can find these terrific pieces on pg. 21 and 10, respectively, in her magazine.) Astrid took inspiration from some of her favorite fantasy authors, and you can see her love of other worlds and fantastical creatures woven throughout the pages.

The Running Magazine

By Aletheia B.

Age 14, in New Mexico

“Highlight” award in the 2022 Finish Line contest. Aletheia opens her magazine with an excellent acrostic on the word “racing,” which we highlighted during our live webinar. In just six simple lines, it uniquely captures sights, sounds, and feelings that a runner can experience during a race. Well done, Aletheia! Her magazine theme clearly inspires each piece, and we enjoyed the photos sharing the beautiful mountainous region of her home state.

Photo credits belong to Aletheia’s dad.

Beyond Potatoes

By Elijah B.

Age 12, in Idaho

“Highlight” award in the 2022 Finish Line contest. Elijah’s magazine title gave us a good chuckle, but his (award-winning) piece “The Unpredictable Grizzly” really gave us a thrill. This excellent interview is well-paced, adventurous, and educational – all within the span of a few pages! We also enjoyed Elijah’s mouth-watering restaurant review of Tin Roof Tacos.

Mechs & Mustaches

By Azalie vZ.

Age 13, in Ontario, Canada

“Highlight” award in the 2020 Finish Line contest. Every once in a while a magazine comes along that is so clever and creative it defies categorisation. Azalie’s innovative storytelling in Mechs & Mustaches really shines and sets this magazine apart from every other magazine we have seen. She uses the scope of the magazine in all its components—articles, poems, reviews, etc.—to tell a speculative fiction story. The magazine even opens with a cast of characters, bios and all, built with Lego. She also achieves a unity of concept by carrying the Lego setting through every spread. Not only is this creative and great theme integration, but there is some very clever, often hysterical writing. Well done, Azalie! We expect to see you in our One Year Adventure Novel course next!

Azalie would like to credit her younger brother, Ezra, for building most of the sets, her mom for checking all her spelling and grammar, and Shasta, her older sister, for helping with design and layout, etc.

The Elegant Equine

By Lorelei D.

Age 14, in Michigan

The Elegant Equine placed in the “Highlight Piece” category in our 2021 Finish Line contest! Not only is her ballad “The Survivors” excellent; it’s one of the best ballads we have read from a Cover Story student! It’s a great example of this type of poem because it tells a story but it’s also based in history—in this case the Chincoteague ponies who still inhabit a small island off the
coast of Virginia. We enjoyed all of Lorelei’s magazine, but the ballad really stood out!

Photo Credit: Kristy Dillay and Pixabay

The Forgotten

By Hannah E.

Age 14, in Florida

Winner of a “Highlight” award in 2020, Hannah took the popular pet/animal theme in a specific direction: abandoned, mistreated, forgotten animals. This is a rewarding choice. We found her magazine informative and emotive. Hannah takes to heart the Cover Story principle: the goal of a story is to create emotion. Nowhere is this more evident than in her article “The Little White Chihuahua.” She uses the details of the Chihuahua’s story to great effect as she educates the reader about puppy mills. We also really like her review of pig habitats in zoos—what an original idea for a review!

Hannah’s magazine has non-standard dimensions. This is why the cover is shorter than the others in this Showcase.

Sugar & Spice

By Jayna D.

Age 13, in California

Winner of a “Highlight” award in 2020 for her standout speculative fiction short story, “Cooking Sparks.” We love Jayna’s innovative idea to write a dystopian short story with a cuisine theme! Very original, and it is well written too! Jayna has a talent for vivid writing; her restaurant review in particular made us very hungry; and all the beautiful photos of spices had our mouths watering. All around a great reading experience!


Brothers in Arms

By Isaiah W.

Age 12, in Florida

“Highlight Magazine” award in the 2019 Finish Line contest. We are very impressed by the amount of work that went into taking photos to enhance the articles, especially in terms of setting up rather complicated shots! Definitely a lot of passion and attention to detail from this young man!

Isaiah credits his mother for help with the layout design and some photographs. Credits are listed in the magazine.

The Gamer’s Guide to Minecraft

By Jack L.

Age 12, in British Columbia, Canada

“Spotlight Magazine” in the 2017 Finish Line contest. We particularly love Jack’s haiku “Farewell”! Jack’s magazine has a fun layout and theme, and we enjoyed all the creative variations on Jack’s name in the contributor names.


The Gamer’s Guide to Life

By Peter L.

Age 12, in British Columbia, Canada

“Spotlight Magazine” in the 2021 Finish Line contest. The series of linked advertisements Peter created for his magazine had us in stitches. They are not only hysterical but show a fine grasp of marketing principles. Not to be missed! Peter’s overall design is wonderful. Very creative gaming brothers Peter and Jack (see above) make gaming accessible to all readers whether they play Minecraft or any game at all.

Peters expresses his thanks to his family for design feedback.

Baking Times

By Tanaz E.

Age 11, in California

Tanaz placed in the “Contest Highlights” category in the 2020 Finish Line contest for her interesting article on the history of the chocolate chip cookie and her amazing ad for perfume! Hilarious! She’s got a great feel for ad copy, and we enjoyed learning about Father Gregory Boyle through the letter she wrote to him.

Tanaz wishes to credit Heidi Ballard as editor of her magazine.

Flight to Fantasy

By Cora B.

Age 13, in Ohio

“Highlight Magazine” award in the 2019 Finish Line contest. Cora’s “Dear Editors/Dear Reader” section made us laugh out loud! What a great writing voice! We are so delighted by it that we decided to change one of the contests in the 2019–2020 school year to feature letters to the editor! Cora’s great comedic timing is evident in other parts of her magazine as well, especially her short story “A Stop at the BMF” and her advertisement for a Ring of Power, both of which have absolutely stellar last lines!

Photo Credit: Cora’s mother; Clipart Credit: Microsoft Office

Rehabbers Journal

By Jona S.

Age 13, in Virgin Islands

“Spotlight Magazine” in the 2018 Finish Line contest. One of the most unusual themes we’ve encountered, and handled so well! The short story “Promise of Tomorrow” is chock-full of fascinating, precise details. We’re guessing Jona has a lot of personal experience with bird rehabilitation. The other short stories are similarly well-executed, and Jona used the “Dear Editor” section to follow up on the stories by bringing them around to real life. Great work!

Jona’s photo credits: Photos downloaded from internet.

This magazine was sent to us in the mail, and we scanned the pages. We apologize that the scanning process doesn’t result in the best presentation!

Adventures for Boys

By Tidus P.

Age 14, in California

Adventures for Boys was a “Spotlight Magazine” in our 2018 Finish Line contest! We had such a wonderful time reading “The Metal Mollusk” short story—what a wild ride from start to finish! Our staff enjoyed it so much that we read parts out loud to each other. The article on how to catch a frog and eat its legs is also very clear and informative, although we probably won’t test it for ourselves!

All About Books and Writing

By Bella J.

Age 13, in Illinois

All About Books and Writing was a “Spotlight Magazine” in our 2021 Finish Line contest! All of Bella’s writing has a strong and compelling voice. (We have got to know her style over the 2020–2021 school year as she has entered all the contests!) In this magazine, the piece we love best is her short story, “She: The Girl Without a Name.” It’s full of precise and unexpected details, with great character voice.

Bella credits her mom for graphic design help and her sister for the puppy photo.

Ballet Student Yearly

By Audra B.

Age 12, in Ohio

“Spotlight Magazine” in the 2017 Finish Line contest. We particularly love Audra’s outstanding editorial voice, her haiku “The Dance of Autumn,” and her terrific article on Victoria Morgan!

Audra’s photo credits: Photos in article “Victoria Morgan” are from Other photos of dancers, etc., from clip art, google, yahoo, and my family.


A Pet’s Life

By Danielle H.

Age 13, in Illinois

Danielle’s clever, shaped cinquain, “Christmas Morning,” was a “Highlight Piece” in the 2017 Finish Line contest. And who can resist the dog on the cover?

For Service Dog Photo (licensed under Creative Commons), click here. All other pictures are CCO Public Domain, no attribution required for Danielle’s own pictures.


By Annalise B.

Age 12, in Arizona

“Spotlight Magazine” in the 2018 Finish Line contest. We really like Annalise’s blog piece on ping-pong. It is compelling, informative, and well-written, and the accompanying tutorial about crafting a ping-pong paddle is one of the best how-to articles we’ve ever seen! Overall, a very cohesive magazine!


Organizer Pros

By Chloe R.

Age 14, in Pennsylvania

“Highlight Magazine” in the 2021 Finish Line contest. Chloe’s short story “The Girl in Cleaning Prison” uses an unusual but effective “ticking time bomb”; we really like it! We also love her advert for
The Sock Organiser—the 1% savings really makes us laugh!

Chloe wishes to credit her dad for turning this into a .pdf and her mom for proofreading.

Press On

By Emily K.

Age 13, in Kansas

“Spotlight Magazine” in the 2017 Finish Line contest. Emily’s interview-based article, “Coming a Long Way” is our special favorite! The prose is beautiful, and it’s a wonderfully executed journalistic piece.

Emily wishes to credit her parents for helping her with layout.


Artistic Expressions

By Abby I.

Age 13, in Florida

“Spotlight Magazine” in the 2018 Finish Line contest! We love Abby’s review of Old South Restaurant. It is truly excellent—and Abby’s mom told us the owners of the restaurant love it, too! We’re not at all surprised! Abby also added lots of fun extras like a crossword puzzle, a comic, and a featured artist.


Redefining the Norm

By Kelly V.

Age 14, in Alberta, Canada

Kelly had two pieces recognized in the “Highlight Piece” category in the 2017 Finish Line contest. Her “Serum” advertisement is a great example of an ad based on a felt need—Mr. S. says he will be the first customer if Kelly ever invents this!—and her movie review is beautifully-worded.

Movie poster photo credit, click here. Soccer photo and sunset photo credit: Kelly’s mom

Outdoor Survival

By Kaleb M.

Age 14, in Oregon

Kaleb’s review of The MRE (“meal ready to eat”) was a “Highlight Piece” in the 2017 Finish Line contest. Wonderfully vivid language and a fun idea of something to review!

Kaleb wishes to credit his mom for helping him.


Big Cats Today

By Sarah M.

Age 12, in Kansas

Sarah’s limerick, “Ryan,” was a “Highlight Piece” in the 2017 Finish Line contest. We all thought it wonderful! This magazine theme is a great example of a theme that is specific but not too narrow. Nice work, Sarah!

All photos of real animals taken from the Encyclopedia of Mammals, A Comprehensive Illustrated Guide by Animal Experts, 2nd edition, Copyright 1998.

Floral Life

By Allison T.

Age 13, in Kansas

We were quite impressed with the layout in Floral Life. Allison’s magazine is a feast for the eyes, with colorful and swirling fonts, a multitude of gorgeous photos, and well-selected quotes from famous people about flowers. If you fancy a calming read, be sure to take some time to leaf through Floral Life’s soft pastel pages.


By Isabelle L.

Age 12, in Iowa

Isabelle’s magazine does indeed burst with life. She has filled her pages with a wide variety of adventures – both domestic and abroad – which are accented with bright, colorful photos. Her table of contents offers a neat, orderly overview to the many delights that await readers from start to finish.

Brick by Brick

By Kaitlyn K.

Age 14, in Kansas

A lot imagination and care went into this magazine! Kaitlyn worked Lego into every part of the magazine in a natural way, and each piece is polished and easy to follow. We especially like her review of the Lego Tacos restaurant—super clever! Kaitlyn is good at “Story beats.” The stories are detailed and well paced, and the ending of her “Stepping Foot on Sharpness” story is pithy!



By Elijah C.

Age 14, in Maryland

Elijah’s bluegrass magazine is a special one. He’s not only a fan but part of a bluegrass band, The Folk Villains, with his sisters. Elijah’s got a great feel for words as well as music. His article on musician Robin Cockey demonstrates great pacing and style, especially in the vivid opening. He’s also not so serious about his music that he can’t have a bit of fun at his own band’s expense–past and future!

Elijah notes that photos are all public domain and that all real people mentioned are okay with being in a magazine.


Costuming Today

By John Peter Q.

Age 13, in Pennsylvania

We always enjoy when students choose to write an editorial to open their magazine. It’s not a requirement, so it shows extra effort and it infuses the whole magazine with more of the student’s personality. What a great window into John Peter’s personal experience with costume-making! Another highlight is his “Disastrous Directions” assignment. It’s even more inventive than most of those we have seen, and, importantly, there is an unexpected bit of humor at the end. We also enjoyed the true Halloween story.


Gaming Mag

By Jake K.

Age 12, in Florida

Jake’s got a great affinity for words. We really like his poems, in particular “Dropping Popping” and “Battle Field” for their awesome beat. That affinity also shows in his adverts, and he wrote a strong recipe article as well. Never mind impressing stalkers, Jake’s “Impress Stalkers” how-to article impressed us! Well done, Jake!


The Sports Magazine

By Hudson K.

Age 13, in California

Hudson writes with confidence on a topic he is clearly passionate about. We really like his interview-based article. Its message is unusual for a sports interview. He also wrote a very entertaining letter exchange.



Kick Flip

By Benjamin Z.

Age 13, in California

Benjamin’s skateboarding magazine is a testament to his knowledge and experience, but also to his skill with poetry! He won second place in the 2019 Rib-Tickling Limerick contest. We particularly commend him for conducting a real interview—what a great write-up! We also enjoyed his effective review of Escondido Skatepark.

Design Credit: Benjamin’s mom helped with design layout.


Barking Mad About Dogs

By Esther L.

Age 13, in British Columbia, Canada

That Esther is indeed barking mad about dogs is without a doubt! This is definitely a magazine for anyone who loves to admire pictures of cute dogs. We like how Esther made her recipe article work with her theme, but our favorite part of her magazine is the “Exclusive Story,” which demonstrates a great writing voice. The dog main character, who also tells the story, is very believable and relatable.

Esther’s photo credits: Google and Unsplash

Fight and Flight Magazine

By Uriah L.

Age 15, in Alaska

We really enjoyed reading the interview Uriah wrote up. His short story has an impressive degree of detail and context, and he did well with creating suspense. We expected to find out at the end that it was based on a true story, but it wasn’t! One of our favorite aspects of Uriah’s magazine is the way he explained his chosen theme. The themes of many Cover Story magazines are self-explanatory, but Uriah has gone for a more metaphorical approach.

Uriah wants to credit his parents and his sister, Jordan Rose, for help with editing and layout of the magazine. All photos are from within his family, except the one showing Uriah in front of a red, hot knife blade, which was taken by Master Bladesmith Haley DesRosier.


By Tristan P.

Age 12, in California

Tristan has penned some very clever poems for his magazine, and although a wonderful front cover is not a course assignment, we LOVE this dynamic and colorful cover! In his “Alfan, an All-Star?” short story, Tristan has achieved a good arc of character change as well!


Dogs 339

By Dustin R.

Age 12, in Michigan

Dustin wrote a terrific nonfiction article about Project FIDO. The opening and closing paragraphs are very strong, and he has integrated quotes skillfully. It’s a fine example of how an article doesn’t have to be lengthy to be informative. This isn’t the only part of his magazine that stands out to us. The straight-faced humor of Dustin’s review of the Pampered Pooch Restaurant & Spa is gold. Dustin also imaginatively captures a dog’s point of view in a very fun short story called “Moose’s Adventure,” and the comic strip is hilarious. We would subscribe to this informative but lighthearted magazine!

The Contemporary Christian

By Caleb N.

Age 12, in Alabama

Caleb’s magazine showcases not just enthusiasm for his topic but some fine writing as well. The cover story, which is based on an interview, is especially good handling of material. The way he organizes ideas and facts in his nonfiction articles works very well, and the creativity is a good fit for his theme too. Pacing in his stories, whether they are fiction or nonfiction is very strong! Well done, Caleb!



By Gabe C.

Age 15, in Oregon

Gabe is gifted with visuals. The layout is a great fit for his theme, and we love seeing his own artwork featured—clever idea to present them as fan art submitted to the magazine! Gabe’s review of Super Mario Maker 2 is knowledgeable and clearly set out. The how-to article on replacing a joy con stick is likewise well done.

Author and photography and drawings: Gabe C.; Editors: J.C. and A.C.; In-game photos from: Rocket League, Super Mario Maker, Splatoon; Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Mario Kart 8

Total Fashion Magazine

By Faith B.

Age 11, in California

Faith’s magazine is beautifully put together. We especially like her piece about the New York Bridal Fashion Week, which appears to be based on an interview. Her article about the history of the poodle skirt is very strong as well, and we commend her for writing a letter to a real celebrity! Altogether, there is a lot to celebrate in Faith’s fashion magazine!

Image credits are inside of the magazine cover.

Ballet Magazine

By Chiara D.

Age 12, in Arizona

Chiara did a great job laying out her magazine in a way that was relaxing to read. We especially enjoy the “Ballerina Fuel” how-to article and her “Dr. Coppelius’ Mistake” poem.

Photo Credit: Student’s friend, Student’s mother; Ballet Studio: Ballet Etudes, Gilbert, AZ


Baked With Love

By Jordan B.

Age 13, in Ontario, Canada

The glaze of Jordyn’s baking enthusiasm gives this magazine a special shine! She excels in the short stories, especially “The True Story of Hansel and Gretel,” a fairytale retelling which demonstrates excellent writing voice! The unexpected ending of her “Disastrous Directions” assignment also made us smile—a different kind of twist! If Baked With Love gets a second issue, we humbly suggest a twist we could bake and eat!


Nature Through a Lens

By Annalies H.

Age 13, in Ontario, Canada

Annelies’s Advice Column is one of the strongest examples we have read since Cover Story released. She hit on a great question for her theme and then did a wonderful job going the extra mile in answering it. Clever magazine title as well!

Annelies took most of the nature pictures herself. The rest of the pictures are free-use ones from and Her mom helped with the layout.

Forest Friends

By Zoe D.

Age 13, in California

Forest Friends is an impressively complete magazine. Every assignment is represented plus fun extras like her acrostic poem (one of the best we have read) and her lovely “About the Writer/Editor” section. Zoe’s writing style is very clear and consistent and pairs beautifully with her evident knowledge about nature. She certainly has strong views on birding apps—you’ll have to read the magazine to find out what she recommends! Our favorite piece is the short story “Enslaved by Interesting Objects” but her Letter to the Editor also stands out.

Zoe credits for parents for copyediting and thanks her older brother for formatting advice. She also thanks her Cover Story teacher, Sharon Crockette. Photo credits: Zoe herself and some non-copyright images from


The Technology of Computers

By Dominic L.

Age 15, in Minnesota

Our favorite part of Dominic’s magazine is the fantastic first line of his interview-based article! We are always thrilled when a student conducts a live interview with someone outside of their immediate family for this assignment.

Dominic wishes to credit his mom for helping him.


National Gymnastics Magazine

By Jake S.

Age 14, in Texas

Jake really impressed us with the unexpected nuance in his short story. Very nice! We also loved his theme!



Food and Fun

By Amber W.

Age 14, in Minnesota

Amber’s poem, “The Vultures,” is hilarious and clever! Her haiku, “Elegance; Disaster” is also very well done.

Alas, all three hundred Magic Plates were sold by the time we clicked on her advertisement.


Mystery Magazine

By Summer B.

Age 14, in Oklahoma

Summer has a knack for intriguing, creative story openers. Her short stories also demonstrate wonderful pacing. Very nice work, Summer! Her haiku “Hidden bones shiver” won 1st Place in the 2016 Snapshots contest.

For all the photos used, Summer and her family attempted to make sure they were public domain images.


Sweet Treats

By Elizabeth C.

Age 13, in Michigan

Elizabeth makes a great effort to develop her theme. She understands that a magazine about baking needs more recipes than anything else—and she includes some good ones, each with a personal comment or anecdote. Her short story about baking cookies shows great use of dramatic irony.

By the time we invited Elizabeth to be included on this Showcase, she couldn’t remember where she got some of the artwork in her magazine. She wishes to communicate all due respect to the artists and would gladly attribute where appropriate.


Middle School Magazine

By Clayton P.

Age 11, in Washington

Clayton’s “The Evils of Baby Shows” is a superb humor piece! We also really enjoyed his review of the Infinity Ring series. Clayton’s mom wrote to tell us that “He had absolutely no help.” What you see in his magazine is 100 percent his own effort.
Way to go, Clayton!

There are no images or other items that need to be credited.

Our Universe

By Justin S.

Age 10, in Cayman Islands

Really enjoyable theme! Justin created his Cover Story magazine while he was still under the minimum age recommendation of eleven. We’re impressed!

Photo credits are listed in the magazine. Justin wrote all content himself, and arranged all the layout of the magazine with a little bit of guidance from his mother.


By Rachel E.

Age 14, in Kansas

Do magazines about food have an unfair advantage in the judging process? Maybe so! It’s hard not to like a magazine full of such delicious food! Rachel did a wonderful job with her “Dear Editor” section. It’s very realistic! The stew meat recipe was creative and clearly written, and Rachel used an interesting theme for her “Grandma’s Kitchen” short story.

Photo credits: Laura E. (Rachel’s mom)

Fantasy World Monthly

By Onycha S.

Age 11, in Wisconsin

Onycha’s delightful found poem, “BB-8,” really brought a smile to our faces. We also want to compliment her on the beautiful prose in “Amazing but True: A Portal Near You.” Comparing a library and its books to portals is a clever idea!

Onycha does a great job carrying out her theme through the whole magazine.


The Gamer’s Guide to Terraria

By Daniel L.

Age 13, in British Columbia, Canada

Daniel has created a solid hobby magazine! His own familiarity with the game’s mechanics is evident and lends weight to his insights. We enjoyed the visuals, which clearly took a lot of work, but we think the highlight of this magazine is the ballad. His mother may have helped with the meter, but it’s the clever ideas in the ballad that especially stood out to us!

Daniel would like to give credit to his older brother, Jack, for help with research and for layout suggestions, and his mother for help with the meter for his ballad.

Extreme Weather

By Max V.

Age 15, in Georgia

Max makes hurricanes, ice storms, and other extreme weather events more poetic than they have any right to be! He’s very good at poems. “Storm” and “Ice Storm” are especially strong. We were also impressed by the writing in “The Flood,” a short story about cavers who run into trouble. He did a great job on the story opening in particular!

Max: “To my awesome hard-working mom, who pushed me through the times when I had hit a wall in writing, and to my sisters for helping with plot ideas.

The Nature Lover Magazine

By Emily N.

Age 12, in Nova Scotia, Canada

Emily added some extra features to her magazine, really going the extra mile! We found it both fun to read and informative! We want to particularly comment on her beautiful poem, “The River,” and the wonderful letter she wrote to author Pamela Hickman—what a lovely response she got! A hand-written letter is a great way to encourage someone to respond!

The PDF changed some of her photo and design details, but overall Emily is happy with how it turned out. All literature, photography, and art are her own creative works (except for a few public images found on the Internet, which are all non-copyrighted).

Rider’s Love Kids

By Emma R.

Age 12, in Kentucky

Emma has really done such a great job with her horse-themed magazine, adding extra features, crediting the images, etc. We like her idea to target her magazine specifically to kids. She excels with her short stories, particularly “Pony in the Snow.”



Beavers 101

By Eve M.

Age 12, in Alberta, Canada

What a really creative theme! Eve did such a great job carrying her theme through the whole magazine. This is an example of a theme that could have been a bit too narrow, but Eve’s evident personal passion for beavers gave her plenty of ideas—goes to show how important passion and curiosity are!

Eve’s credits: Clip art from computer.

Horse Crazy Illustrated

By Lauren G.

Age 13, in Pennsylvania

Each time we receive a magazine submission with a horse theme, we know we are in for a treat because so much love for horses comes through. There’s nothing like getting to see someone thoroughly enjoy something! Lauren’s interview with Ellen Heckert was a special highlight in Horse Crazy Illustrated. We’re really impressed by the way she focused on a specific and compelling incident.

Lauren’s photo credits: Student’s mother. Permission to take photos: Student’s riding instructor.

Travel Right

By McKenna F.

Age 14, in Michigan

McKenna’s review “Must See Attraction: The Shedd Aquarium,” is one of the best pieces of writing to have come out of a Cover Story student! Its writing is vivid and the review really makes us want to go! “Christmas in Chicago” is also a very evocative poem. Very nice work, McKenna! Please send us an ExclusiPen, if there are any still in stock.


Fantastic Food

By Madeleine W.

Age 12, in Virginia

We absolutely loved Madeleine’s short story about the unlikely friendship between a dog and cat. Her haiku is also excellent!

Everything by Madeleine herself, without help!



The Bible Quizzer

By Paul E.

Age 12, in North Carolina

What a knowledgeable and experienced editor this magazine has! Every part of The Bible Quizzer is grounded in the particulars of the Junior Bible Quiz organization. The interview is very well executed—great integration of quotes. Paul also achieved an impressive review. An all around well done magazine!

Layout/Design Assistance: Student’s older brother Luke

Food Magazine Centennially

By Layne V.

Age 13, in Indiana

This magazine is a good example of the fact that magazines don’t need a decorative layout to be in the contest—or this Magazine Showcase! Layne decided to add some graphics to her restaurant review and adverts, but otherwise sent the articles to speak for themselves. The ads are absolutely hilarious, but the whole magazine demonstrates a great sense of humor and a good writing voice. Too bad none of us will be alive to read the next issue!

Layne wishes to credit for mother for the photo on page 3. The ad graphics were created by Layne using and/or Photoshop.

Household Pets

By Jael D.

Age 12, in British Columbia, Canada

Jael’s story “Jhett,” which seems to be based on an interview, demonstrates very good use of a story starter, zooming right in on the emotions. Her memory-based poem “Little Old Me” is poignant as well!

All of the photos in it are her own with the exception of a clip-art image.


Fun in the Fifties

By Meghann F.

Age 13, in Michigan

We commend Meghann for the lovely use of repetition in her poem “Classic Car”—especially appropriate considering the nostalgia in her magazine theme. It is fun to see a student use a theme as a theme, so to speak.

Her enticing review of Portillo’s restaurant is also great marketing!


Rainbow Magazine

By Gabriel C. O.

Age 12, in Utah

On the surface, the articles in Gabriel’s magazine don’t immediately seem related, but they are! Every one prominently features a car! He has some very clever ways of applying his theme. Gabriel excels in writing humor and has a natural writing voice. We especially loved “Driving Dogs.”

Magazine designed in Canva. All photos except the family photo are open access and free to use.


Human Happenings

By Camryn G.

Age 14, in Alberta, Canada

One of the most unusual and amusing magazines we have ever received, Human Happenings is a magazine by ants for ants (with some clever hidden messages to any human readers who might stumble on an issue)! The ants are very concerned about human activity in the lab where they live, and use the magazine to share their research and coverage. We especially loved the clever interview-based article on ant swimming lessons, and we loved the advertisements!

Camryn’s mom notes that the article about ant swimming lessons is based on a true story. Camryn and her sister Bree gave ants swimming lessons when they were little—always careful to save the ants!

Horse Lovers Only

By Annie M.

Age 13, in Kurdistan, Iraq

Annie’s story “The Road to a Blue Sky,” placed in our Disastrous Directions contest. Her magazine also offers two gorgeous haiku poems, a great feel for advertising language, and some fun extras that really show much effort Annie put into her project! Annie, the speech bubble comment on your Letter to the Editor page is hilarious!

A note from Annie’s mom: “We used the website Blurb* to publish this. It’s a great and easy website to use and we feel the design has turned out great! Annie did 95% of the work herself. [Their] website was really user friendly.”

*A 20-page glossy magazine costs between $4 and $6, plus another $4 for (economy) shipping with tracking. They have free software, along with starter templates, to help you with design and layout. We do not have any affiliation with the Blub company; we are simply linking to their service as one possible solution for both layout help and end-product printing.

My Magazine

By Anna K.

In Ohio

Anna’s haiku “Touch of Autumn” is a perfect example of a snapshot image with an implied future! Anna has a great handle on style. “The Zeldee Prank War” demonstrates great character, dialogue, and pacing; “Travel Log” won a prize in the 2016 Finish Line contest as a Highlight Piece for its superb pacing and creative style.

Anna’s mother helped her format the magazine in so far as to make sure it had an even number of pages and that she planned what articles would fit where according to the space available. She did not help her plan photos, fonts, or text.

Cats ‘n Things

By Alexander N.

Age 12, in Washington

Alexander is good at humor writing! His story “Real Men Don’t Eat Pringles,” a finalist in our 2016 Disastrous Directions contest, is one of the funniest stories we have read from a Cover Story student. We love it! We are also quite entertained by the sketches of cats and goats he included in his magazine; and his poem about the teeny tiny kitten had us in stitches of laughter.


World of Writing

By Melangell F.

Age 10, in Michigan

Melangell’s “Dinosaur Digging” short story has great pacing!



The Galaxy NewsCover_Sarah_A_The_Galaxy_News_2017

By Sarah A.

Age 13, in California

Well done, Sarah, writing a letter that got a reply! Sarah does a great job being creative with her theme. We love her idea of reviewing the experience of riding an X-Wing for passenger transport.

Credit to older brother Kenneth for layout and front cover; credit to mom for editing, and copyright credit to Disney, LucasFilm, for all the content related to their work.

This magazine was sent to us in the mail, and we scanned the pages. We apologize that the scanning process doesn’t result in the best presentation!

Grains of MythologyCover_Sarah_A_The_Galaxy_News_2017

By James H.

Age 12, in Texas

Right from the get-go, you know you’re in for a wild ride in this magazine. The promise of a face-off between a god and a pug does not disappoint! James has a great sense of humor and lands some funny last lines and some very vivid hyperbole.

Credit. Cover: Altantios/Pixababy; pg 4: UlliPixa/Pixabay; pg 5: Jo-B/Pixabay; pg 6: YvM/Pixabay; pg 8: jwskks5786/Pixabay; pg 9: James; pg 12: Peter-Lomas/Pixabay; pg 14: Aunt Lexy

The Lego NewsCover_Samuel_L_Killer_Plants_2017

By Ethan S.

Age 12, in Cayman Islands

Ethan’s magazine had an especially standout Letters to the Editor section—really nice to see!

All content is written by Ethan. Layout of the magazine was done by Ethan with some help from mom.


Killer PlantsCover_Samuel_L_Killer_Plants_2017

By Samuel L.

Age 13, in Missouri

Great unusual topic for a magazine! Samuel’s own fascination with dangerous plants comes through clearly. And what a terrifying short story idea built on the real-life dangers of some plants! Reads like an episode in a comic!

This magazine was sent to us in the mail, and we scanned the pages. We apologize that the scanning process doesn’t result in the best presentation!

Horses, Horses and More Horses!Cover_Lysa_B_Horses_Horses_and_More_Horses_2014

By Lysa B.

Age 13, in California

Lysa has a wonderful feel for marketing. Each advertisement really makes a solid offer that feels urgent. She also shows strong story pacing in “The Horse and Her Boy.” Her story, “Killer Horse,” has great dialogue from a surprising point of view.

This magazine was sent to us in the mail, and we scanned the pages. We apologize that the scanning process doesn’t result in the best presentation!

Wise Words of WisdomAbigail_E_Wise_Words_Of_Wisdom_2020

By Abigail E.

Age 15, in Panamà City

Wow, would Abigail love our One Year Adventure Novel course! Her magazine is a collection of vivid short stories and poem-stories. Even the how-to is focused on passing along her tips for world-building! Good storytelling instincts are on display. The pacing and use of suspense in “Wolf Pirates” is perhaps the most standout, but we also liked her haiku/senryu poems.

The Brick-Built Marvel TARDIS!Cover_Kenneth_A_Brick_Built_Marvel_Tardis_2017

By Kenneth A.

Age 14, in California

Kenneth clearly put a lot of thought into the details of his magazine—down to the meticulous copyright text. Our favorite feature of this issue is the humor piece, “The Power of a Villain,” but “Building a Business” is excellent as well, and we’re fans of the humorous twist at the end of “To Be a Good Friend…”! Very nice work, Kenneth.

Student wants to credit mom for helping editing. Doctor Who and the TARDIS, the Doctor Who logo, and all such things are copyright of the BBC worldwide, all rights reserved. Marvel, Avengers, and the Marvel logo are trademark of Marvel Comics, all rights reserved. LEGO, the LEGO minifigure, the brick and stud, and the LEGO lego are all trademarks of LEGO international, all rights reserved. The KASE logo, KASE network, and KASE productions are trademark of KASE Productions Inc, all rights reserved.

NOTE: This magazine was sent to us in the mail, and we scanned the pages. We apologize that the scanning process doesn’t result in the same quality as the original!

Livaboard LifeCover_Kenneth_A_Brick_Built_Marvel_Tardis_2017

By Sarah D.

Age 13, in Washington

Sarah has a fantastic writing style. She writes vividly and confidently in a conversational style. It’s a great fit with her adventurous theme. She clearly writes from personal experience as she shows a fine sense of the needs and interests of her readers. We especially enjoy her unabashed how-to article on enjoying breakfast cereal.

We apologise that this PDF is very blurry. We contacted Sarah to see if we could work together to get a clearer resolution, but it was not possible to improve the export quality. We still wanted to include it in the Showcase because it’s a great magazine.

Heroes of War

By Joshua T.

Age 13, in Indiana

Joshua stayed very much on target with his theme while also offering variety with war heroes both factual and fictional, and from more than one conflict. His respect for his great-grandfather is very clear in the thoughtful interview he wrote up, and much care has also gone into the short stories, which have detailed plots. His enthusiasm for his topic is clear, especially in the how-to article!


VDF Magazine

By Bree G.

Age 15, in Alberta, Canada

This magazine is a great example of how students who write fan fiction can use the Cover Story course to expand their writing skills. “VDF” stands for “Volunteer Fire Department,” a secret society in Lemony Snicket’s book series, The Series of Unfortunate Events. The premise of Bree’s magazine is based on the books: the characters in the secret society edit a magazine. There is some very fine writing in Bree’s magazine, demonstrating how some young writers find their springboard to expression by building on favorite books, movie franchises, etc.

Cosplay 101

By Annika K.

Age 15, in Florida

Wow, is this an affirming and upbeat magazine! We really love Annika’s message. She has chosen to focus on tutorial-style articles and showcases both knowledge and passion, offering her own photos and experience to help out beginner cosplayers. Cosplay 101 is a great name for a magazine with this approach.




By Joshua M.

Age 13, in California

We really like Joshua’s restaurant review! Some vivid and unexpected comparisons really lift a commonplace type of article to an entertaining height.

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