Bayard Presse founded in 1873 is an international media company and one of the largest French publishers of educational children’s magazines with over 150 years of history. As an international publisher of children’s magazines, it helps to nurture curiosity and develop a lifelong love of reading for children with its multi-award-winning magazine series: StoryBox (ages 3-8), AdventureBox (ages 6-10), AdventureBox Max! (ages 9-14) and DiscoveryBox (ages 7-14). Children can expect to be greeted with engaging and light-hearted materials that not only come in bite-sized portions, but also invites them to reflect on their values and broaden their world views.
Bayard with its rich history of over 150 years has been been part of children’s reading journeys for numerous generations. The company supports parents around the world in raising children that love to read.
We speak to Thuy-Ngan Pham, Deputy General Manager at Bayard Presse Asia to find out more about Bayard Presse, the development of Bayard’s stories in the magazines and more.
Exclusive Interview with Thuy-Ngan Pham, Deputy General Manager at Bayard Presse Asia
1. Please share with us more about Bayard Presse and the publication available?
Founded in 1873 in France, Bayard Presse is a leading publishing company of children’s magazines. Its English Box magazines have won multiple awards over the years for their contribution to help children grow into lifelong readers and inspire them to become avid learners.
Box magazines offer a reading line composed of 3 magazines for every age and reading abilities for children from ages 3 to 14. These are the StoryBox, AdventureBox and DiscoveryBox, each catered to appropriate reading stages aimed to inspire kids to become passionate readers through stories, comics and games that are fun and enriching.
Storybox nurtures the love of stories and helps younger ones start their reading journey with the help of their parents. These moments of sharing and bonding that our stories facilitate, stay with children forever!
Then, when kids start learning to read, StoryBox’s engaging content provides them with familiar and adapted content to help them progress in their reading journey.
AdventureBox is aimed at newly independent readers, while AdventureBox Max is for older children. The contents will challenge them with a long chapter story every month, punctuated with comics and games to keep it fun.
DiscoveryBox, the 4th magazine of the Box line, sparks kids’ natural curiosity and answers their questions about science, history and nature. It is an excellent complement to academic material that imbues the learning experience with fun.
2. Could you explain the intricate process behind the development of Bayard’s stories in the magazines?
Each magazine starts with the children and family in mind — designed by experts and tested by kids.
It is not rare that a story comes directly from a reader’s question or a parent’s concern. We create stories that touch children and make them want to reflect on it, because they allow readers to see themselves in our stories through the main characters.
We have a team of writers and illustrators who are passionate about nurturing young minds and hearts, and we consult with educators and specialists such as speech therapists and psychologists to ensure that the stories are appropriate, relevant and age-adapted.
Before the story is published, the writers go into schools, meet their readers and test their ideas. Is this sentence making sense? Do the children laugh? Are they mesmerized? Our magazines grow alongside the children, and we help them grow because of our close relationship with them.
The topics we choose allow open discussions on questions that are not always easy to answer. The story and the characters facilitate dialogue and reflection within the family. Some of our stories are fun and happy, while some talk about deeper subjects. We make sure that the stories are adapted to the age of our audience, but they are as varied as life itself.
One last thing — In our stories, you won’t find a sweet little princess waiting for her fairytale prince. Instead, she has her own personality. She can be naughty and, if needed, will go and save the prince from the dragon herself. We foster creativity and imagination. But our heroes, like our children, are unpredictable and full of surprises!
3. How are Bayard magazines able to complement academic-centric reading materials to help enhance literacy?
One common belief is that literacy can only be achieved through academic reading materials. Literacy, which combines reading and writing, has to start with a desire to speak and tell, which is why we believe in reading for pleasure with your child, especially at a young age, with materials that foster dialogues. Before words and stories were written, they were told, and this is the opportunity we provide. A young child who can retell a story with his or her own words and explain what was moving in the story is one step closer to literacy. It is passion that fosters literacy in the long term. And passion also comes from enjoyment. This is why our magazines are rich with stories that hook children into reading and help them grow confidence through it, but also with comics and games in between to keep it fun! Reading should be fun if we want children to become avid adult readers.
Besides, many of our stories focus on empathy and diversity. At heart, we wish to foster soft skills and creativity, help kids understand different points of views and be more open minded and versatile. Academic reading materials don’t necessarily have these in mind.
4. In a highly digital world, how will physical magazines fare against e-books when it comes to appealing to children?
Ebooks can be a complement, but nothing can replace the tactile experience of a magazine. The paper we use and the size of our magazines are adapted to the children’s age, turning them into an everyday friend that they can easily travel with everywhere and kept handy. It’s a physical object that they can mark up, colour in, dog ear, cut out, or add things onto, at their own pace.
There is also the mystery of discovering what’s on the next page, along with the novelty of turning the page itself, that an ebook click cannot replicate. And of course, the feeling of ownership of a paper magazine is also very powerful. Many of our readers are so proud to show off their physical libraries, and some would never miss an issue to make sure to have a complete collection.
5. Has COVID-19 affected the reading patterns or habits of children during the pandemic?
We found that the COVID-19 restrictions have given children more opportunities and free time to read. Additionally, it has had the unintentional effect of also enabling parents to have more time to spend with their children. The unexpected luxury has reminded many parents how time is precious and how important it is to make the most of little moments with our loved ones — especially since they are growing so fast!
Digital media has also seen significant growth by offering more variety and purchasing convenience, hence no visits to the store required. Added features like audiobooks have also made story time more interactive and exciting. However, it is worth noting that some parents, especially those of infants and toddlers, are reluctant to be turning their child onto screen time so early. There will always be something special about paper that digital screens will never quite capture.
6. What should parents look out for when choosing to buy educational books and magazines for their children?
- Quality over quantity
As a parent of two, I know that it can be overwhelming when choosing reading materials. Try not to overload children by offering a mountain of books that they won’t have time or interest to go through. Instead, choose one that your child will gravitate to and read regularly from beginning to end passionately.
- Be mindful of our actions.
I believe that by offering materials such as Bayard magazines that are plastic toy free, without advertising, printed on quality paper and using soy ink for instance, that we raise tomorrow’s citizens who are conscious of their environmental and societal impact.
- Observe your child and keep it fun!
It is important to find the right medium that resonates with your child in a fun and meaningful way. Educational development really depends on the learning style of each child. Not every kid flourishes with heavy academic content. Find the best fit and nurture their interests from there.
7. Lastly, what would you like to say to our readers, who are parents looking forward to get the educational magazines from Bayard for their children? How would their children benefit from reading the magazines?
Becoming a lifelong learner and reader is a marathon, not a race. If you believe in nurturing your child and their passion, at their own pace, you are at the right place.
Our magazines provide a perfect balance of fun, education, pertinent questions and topical events that pique their curiosity.
At Bayard, we measure success in the questions children ask and how they naturally gravitate to reading the magazine from their own curiosity and desire. Let them try our magazines.
Bayard magazines get recognized and awarded by Parents’ Choice Foundation® for the quality of its content every year. To meet the demands of its 5 million subscribers from 5 continents, Bayard continues to consult specialists in various fields, including child psychiatrists, scientists, historians, botanists, palaeontologists and doctors — a commitment to make difficult subjects understandable for children. For more information on Bayard Presse, please visit https://bayardmagazines.sg/.