After realizing most magazine stands lacked publications for girls who are passionate about science, a mom of two has started one that encourages them to “embrace their intelligence.”
Sarita Menon is the founder and editor of Smore magazine, which inspires girls to pursue science and other related fields. Last year, Menon saw a photo that went viral on social media that showed the cover of a Boys’ Life magazine next to the cover of a Girls’ Life magazine. According to the covers, boys were interested in exploring their future, while girls were into fall fashion and their “dream hair.” That side-by-side image stuck with Menon and inspired her to start Smore.
“The picture clearly showed how we are sending completely different messages to our boys and our girls in terms of what they should aspire to,” she told HuffPost. “I realized we need to change perceptions to change the equation.”
Smore is a comic-style magazine that spotlights women in science, important inventions and discoveries, and other related topics. It also includes math and logic puzzles and trivia in a kid-friendly format. Menon told HuffPost the magazine has a small team of writers who are science experts in fields like biology, human behavior, earth science and astronomy. The magazine also has an illustrator who makes the stories more engaging.
“I wanted writers who could convey through their words just how awe-inspiring science truly is,” Menon said. “We have an amazing illustrator Olga [Gonina], who does the art for the magazine and transforms each article into this fun, engaging and unputdownable reading experience for kids and adults.”
One of Menon’s favorite features is “Science Like a Girl,” which focuses on women in science who are smashing stereotypes with help from their educational backgrounds.
“It is truly an honor to showcase these brilliant women as celebrities and give them the spotlight they truly deserve, something that sadly has not been done yet by any other magazine,” Menon said. “These brilliant role models will give tween girls the inspiration, advice and encouragement to believe in themselves and excel in anything they choose to, even if it is not science. That is the vision I have for Smore.”
After raising money on Kickstarter, the team at Smore is proud to announce its inaugural issues will be out in July and August. There will be six issues every year in print and digital formats.
Menon has made it clear that though the magazine aims to inspire girls to pursue science, boys will also enjoy it. Her 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter equally love the stories in Smore.
As for the name, Menon wrote on the magazine’s Kickstarter page she thought Smore embodied “an enjoyable and unforgettable experience.” She also thought it could be interpreted as a blend of the words “science” and “more.”
Menon has big plans for the future of Smore. In addition to giving girls content that’s “more thought-provoking than princess stories, celebrity gossip and fashion trends,” she has a list of women she’d love to interview.
“My own list of favorites to feature would be Katherine Johnson, Jane Goodall and astronaut Peggy Whitson (while she is still in space),” she said. “The list goes on.”