Bye-Bye, KNOW and YES Mag

Bye-Bye, KNOW and YES Mag

On Jan. 26, 2012, it was confirmed that Mad Science, owner of Victoria-based Peter Piper Publishing, would be shutting down both KNOW and YES Mag. The news came as a shock to the six employees, support staff, and freelance contributors most of whom were told to cease working immediately.

Issue 37: Exploring Caves, published in January, marked KNOW‘s 6th birthday. KNOW was awarded 2011 Winner, Best Series & 2008 Winner, as well as Best Column by the Association of Educational Publishers. It was also recommended in 2011 by the Parents’ Choice Awards.

Adrienne Mason, the “mother of KNOW” — along with publisher David Garrison and editor-in-chief Shannon Hunt — helped launch the magazine and lead it to success as its managing editor for six years. I took over as managing editor in September 2011. It was my dream job, so the closure’s been very upsetting.

My heart goes out to the children who subscribed and won’t receive any more issues in the mail. Sadly for me, professionally, only one issue was printed with my name in the masthead as managing editor, though I contributed many articles over the life of the magazine. The March/April issue was one week away from being sent to the printer. I was proud of that issue, which featured a popular character from a children’s picture book and had some wonderful articles. Sam Logan did a superb job on this issue’s design. The May/June issue had been fully planned and assigned. Most of the articles had been submitted and illustrators were just about to start drawing.

YES Mag received accolades from the Association of Educational Publishers in 2009 as Periodical of the Year. Jude Isabella took over as managing editor about ten years ago. She did a wonderful job in developing ideas with high appeal for children ages 10 to 15. The last few issues were managed by the talented Matt J. Simmons (who also co-managed KNOW issues 35 and 36), while Jude was on leave to pursue writing projects. My own children subscribed to YES Mag, having outgrown KNOW. They loved the content, which was intelligent, thought-provoking, and stimulating.

David Garrison and Shannon Hunt started YES Mag in their basement about 16 years ago. Wanting to fill a gap in the market and turn kids onto science with high-quality, accurately researched science articles, these creative and science-savvy entrepreneurs worked tirelessly to build a base of subscribers across Canada, into the U.S., and beyond. Tapping into Canada’s rich and talented community of science writers for children and children’s illustrators, the couple forged long-lasting relationships with a number of regular contributors. In turn, the creative community enjoyed regular paying gigs for assignments that were stimulating, fun, and challenging. In his role as publisher, David Garrison was fair-minded, pleasant-mannered, and generous (certainly as generous as shoestring budgets would allow). Shannon Hunt’s keen eye and top-notch copy editing skills ensured that issues went error-free to the printer. Bill Slavin, Mike Cope, and Glen Mullaly illustrated for the magazines on a bi-monthly basis for many years.

The loss of these two high-quality, highly respected children’s magazines will be felt for a long time. Not only have these magazines served to promote the work of children’s nonfiction/science writers, but they have helped writers hone their skills and write entertaining, engaging, factually accurate science articles for specific age ranges of children — not an easy feat.

As a freelancer, writing assignments for KNOW used to fill a gap between other contracts. Now that KNOW and YES Mag are gone, this stop-gap is gone, and with it a little more of the confidence remaining in Canada’s artistic community.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve received an overwhelming number of emails from writers and illustrators, including former, longtime KNOW Editor Adrienne Mason; Contributing Editors Ken Hewitt-White; Philip Currie; Eva Koppelhus; freelance writers Megan Kopp, Helaine Becker, Gillian Richardson, Cora Lee, Stephen Aitken, and Claire Eamer; illustrators Bill Slavin, Patricia Storms, Mike Cope, Glen Mullaly, and Howie Woo — and many more. I feel honoured to have been able to be a part of the team at KNOW. I enjoyed every day on the job.

You can read more about the closure of KNOW and YES Mag at Adrienne Mason’s blog and Glen Mullaly’s blog here.

Sometime soon, I’ll try to post some of the articles I’ve written for KNOW on the main pages of my website.

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  1. Elisabeth
    April 4, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Hi! Thanks for your article. I had bought all of my god-children a subscription to YES Mag for Christmas. I’m more upset about no heads up. My god-children loved it! Are they reimbursing those who never got their magazines?

    • Jill
      April 4, 2012 at 8:04 pm

      I’m so sorry about your god-childrens’ subscriptions and their disappointment. Thanks for passing on that they loved it so much. It’s still great to hear that!

      I’m told Mad Science (the owner of KNOW and YES Mag) will refund subscriptions and that they intend to post a note about that on the Mad Science website, though I think it will be up to subscribers to contact them. Feel free to get in touch with the in-house counsel at Mad Science Group in Montreal.

  2. S Martin
    May 7, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Hi–I wish we could say that we loved the magazine, but we had just discovered it and subscribed to Know magazine in December 2011 as a Christmas gift for our daughter. We received one issue and then heard nothing. Having just tried to chase this up, we discover that the magazine has gone out of business.

    I see you recommend contacting Mad Science for a refund and we will try to do so. I have to say this seems like very bad business practice, to accept a new subscription and then without a word go out of business a month later.

    This experience has had the opposite of the intended effect on my daughter’s enthusiasm for science.

    • Jill
      May 7, 2012 at 10:20 am

      I’m very sorry about the timing of your daughter’s subscription and the demise of Peter Piper Publishing. I recommend that you read the links in my Feb. 29th blog called “As the News Goes Public.” These links will shed some light on the closure. None of the staff at KNOW or YES Mag had any knowledge of the upcoming closure, so we were conducting business as usual up until Mad Science informed us they were ceasing operations. Yes, please do get in touch with Mad Science Group in Montreal and request a refund. Perhaps you can find back issues of KNOW or YES Mag at some public libraries to rekindle your child’s interest in science. There are many books about science. In fact, author Helaine Becker has compiled a comprehensive list of science and nature books on her blog. Click here to find it.

  3. Dianna
    December 11, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    Only as I was renewing the seven gift subscriptions today, did I learn that not only will “Yes” and “Know” no longer be published, but that the seven children have not been receiving the issues we paid for last year. I have sent a message to Mad Science website and hope that they are being ethical in refunding people the money for subscriptions paid for and not delivered.

    • Jill
      December 11, 2012 at 11:17 pm

      I wish you the very best of luck with that, Dianna. I am truly sorry. This is the hardest part of all: knowing that so many kids who loved the magazines will no longer receive them. It is such a loss to the magazine industry and to children’s science learning. Thank you for being a loyal supporter. Seven gift subscriptions is a generous number and a gesture that feels like a warm hug to the team at KNOW and YES Mag. In the Canadian magazine industry every single subscription really does make a difference and your actions are commendable. Thank you again.

      If you’d like some suggestions for book titles by writers/illustrators for KNOW and YES Mag, please consider the following (by “cloth,” I mean hardcover; “paper” means paperback). They are in no particular order. I’m sure they are all fabulous books, because these people are fabulous creators of science content.

      Lizards in the Sky by Claire Eamer, Annick Press, 2010, $12.95 paper; $21.95 hardcover [Grade 5+]

      Transformed: How Everyday Things Are Made by Bill Slavin, Kids Can Press, 2007, $16.95

      Kaboom!: Explosions of All Kinds by Gillian Richardson, Annick Press, 2009, $12.95

      The Great Number Rumble: A Story of Math in Surprising Places by Cora Lee and Gillian O’Reilly, Annick Press, 2007, $14.95

      Real-Life Vampires by Megan Kopp, Capstone Press, 2011, $30.95 [cloth]

      Cobras by Megan Kopp, Capstone Press, 2011, $8.95 [paper]

      The Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea by Helaine Becker, Kids Can Press, 2012, $12.95 [cloth]

      What’s the Big Idea: Inventions That Changed Life on Earth Forever by Helaine Becker, Owlkids Books, 2009, $19.95 [paper]

      Biomimicry: Inventions Inspired by Nature by Dora Lee, Kids Can Press, 2011, $19.95 [cloth]

      I wish you all the best in your shopping. Thank you for your heartfelt message. Happy holidays!

  4. Susan
    November 15, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    I’m really sorry to hear about the end of Yes Mag. My son really enjoyed it when he was younger. It’s really hard to publish a magazine here in Canada, I think.

    I do have a request…..we can’t find our Yes Mag fudge recipe that was in one of the early issues (first 1 to 3 years in print). Do you know if there’s a way to find it?
    Thank you in advance for any help you can give.
    Susan

    • Jill
      November 15, 2013 at 10:35 pm

      Thanks, Susan. I still miss the magazines a lot, too. I will see what I can do about your request. Someone must have that recipe! It sounds yummy!

      • Jill
        January 18, 2014 at 6:52 pm

        Hi, Susan. I’m so sorry. I’ve asked several former KNOW employees, but no one has come up with an answer for you as of yet. It looks like the only way to find it is to flip through all the issues for the years you think it might be in. I’ve looked through some, but I don’t have a complete collection. Perhaps some libraries have complete collections? Good luck.

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