Books, shmooks. Sure, we all want our kids reading, but what they read isn’t as important as the fact that they’re putting eyeballs to paper. If your child groans at the thought cracking open a book, a magazine subscription might be just the ticket. Every kid loves mail. Thinking of filling their postbox with something wonderful, but don’t know where to start? Look no further than these magazines:

Ladybug Jam-packed with stories, songs, activities, cartoons, games, and ear-pleasing poems, this monthly magazine has a nice mix of reading levels. Some text is easy enough for a beginning reader, while other stories are best saved for sessions with the family. Colorful illustrations draw kids in and make the characters pop off the page. And silly stories make early reading attempts (or reading over mom's shoulder) fun. We bet it will keep young ones running to the mailbox all year long. ($33.95/year, Ages 2-6, )

Click Click's motto is "Opening windows for young minds" and the magazine delivers with a wide range of quirky facts and stranger-than-fiction photography. Even the cartoons are packed with scientific insights or historical tidbits. The magazine has its share of the yuck-factor kids love-- like worm poop or jelly covered salamander eggs.  Buyer beware: Click is heavy on nature and science and not the best choice for kids who prefer fiction over fact. But for the right kid, a great introduction to science for the youngest set. ($33.95/year, Ages 3-7)

Highlights Chances are, you’ve heard of Highlights. It’s been going strong for sixty years now. In fact, it’s the most-read children’s magazine in the world. Crack it open and you’ll see why. From fictional tales featuring Alice Jones: Numbers Detective, to real-life cool kids doing good in the world, to non-fiction features like "Can Dolphins Do Math?", this magazine knows how to keep kids’ interest and get them reading. Brain teasers, jokes, riddles, and word puzzles keep the fun factor high. And creativity gets a boost with crafts like a rocket ship that flies, a gumball machine magnet, or a homemade treasure chest. Our favorite feature? "Your Own Pages", where kids can submit their own poems and art work for publication. ($29.94/year, Ages 6-9.)

National Geographic Kids This magazine is slicker than its less-glossy kid counterparts. The photography sings. The topics are catchy—from “Help Set a Guinness World Record” to “9 Things You Need to Know About Global Warming” to “Harriet Tubman: Civil War Spy”. There are guest editors like Cameron Diaz and splashy candy-colored layouts. But unfortunately, there are also lots of ads, arranged alongside the editorial content in a way that makes it difficult to tell the difference. Now don’t get us wrong, we know ads help keep magazines afloat (ours included), but if you want to limit your child’s exposure to junk food and sugar cereal, skip this magazine, and go for the adult version, National Geographic Magazine, a fantastic choice for older kids, especially with parents-in-tow. ($15.00/year, Ages 6-14)

Cricket In a time of emails and instant messaging, finding something in the mailbox is still really special. Our nomination for the late-elementary school set? Cricket, a magazine of poems, comics, crosswords, crafts, and stories. From adventure tales of fire breathing dragons to nail-biting mysteries, each issue is jam-packed with quirky material sure to steal your third or fourth grader's attention. Get a subscription, roll the first copy up with a ribbon, and stuff it in your child's backpack as a mid-day surprise. Just don't be surprised if she starts stalking the mailbox. ($33.95/year, Ages 9-14)

Appleseeds Unlike most of the other magazines on this list, Appleseeds focuses each issue on a single topic. Sometimes it’s a time of year, like Thanksgiving or Winter. Other times it’s a subject like weather or firefighters.  The good news about this kind of format, is that it allows for lots of different facets of a single topic. The bad news is that if kids have no interest in said topic, it’s going to be a pretty boring month’s reading. Final verdict? Appleseeds is a great fit for home schooling families, looking to chunk learning into themes. But for regular kids, it might not be as exciting a subscription as some of the other candidates on this list. ($33.95/year, Ages 7-10)

Ranger Rick Where do dolphins sleep? Is there such a thing as poison bubbles? How do birds steer? Kids are bursting with curiosity and this magazine, courtesy of the National Wildlife Federation, is full of amazing facts, hands-on activities, true animal stories, and photography about the world and the creatures that call it home. Cool facts and surprising subjects make this a great pick for nature and animal lovers. ($19.95/year, Ages 7-12)

Odyssey If you've got a science junkie on your hands, you know that sometimes it's hard to keep her supplied with enough science stories and interesting activities to keep her busy. And if you've got a kid who's interest in science registers up there with his desire to eat worms, you're aware that it will take a really cool magazine to get his motor started. But Odyssey, a science magazine for late elementary to middle school aged kids, magically manages to appeal to both. With its engaging blend of accessible articles ("What's Knot to Like?", "Do You Really See Red?"), it blends kid-friendly content with the latest in scientific discoveries, covering everything from DNA sequencing to archeology's most fantastic findings. ($33.95/year, Ages 9-14)

Stone Soup When you imagine your child ten years from now, what magazine do you imagine her reading?: A) Newsweek, B) Vogue, or C) The New Yorker?... If you answered C, then you've got to get your hands on this magazine. Pronto. Perfect for a budding author or poet, Stone Soup is a literary magazine written for and by kids 8-13. Every story, every poem, and every illustration is penned by a kid in this age category, but it's edited by a professional. That makes for some pretty inspiring reading for your future Toni Morrison or Seamus Heaney. ($37.00/year,, Ages 8-13)

Calliope What was it like to live during the Black Death? Who were the Salii? Kids with Calliope in hand may be able to tell you. From life with the Trojans, to the ins and outs of sailing the South Pacific with Captain Cook, this magazine serves up history through the eyes of its major players. Rather than the shmorgesboard approach, each issue of Calliope focuses on a particular region during a particular time period. For example, kids might get up close and personal with the Mayans, or meet Egypt’s heretic, Akhenaten, through a trip to his tomb—accompanied by an archeologist capable of translating the symbols in his letters. The magazine is extremely text-heavy, and may earn some eye rolling from the historically-phobic. But for history buffs in the making? This is pay dirt. ($33.95/year, Ages 9-14)

Faces Americans have a bad reputation for being clueless about the world at large. Treat your tween to a monthly spin of the globe with a subscription to this magazine. From the corners of Madagascar, to the alleys of Jerusalem, he’ll catch a glimpse of the people and places that make the earth unique. What would it be like to vacation in the Ukraine? What do teens eat in Japan? What’s school like in Kyrgyzstan? Chockfull of interesting facts and personal stories, Faces is the next best thing to a round-the-world ticket. ($33.95/year, Ages 10-13)