Join MUSE Mag’s Mnemosyne Derby Squad

MUSE Magazine can always be counted on to take a fresh look at whatever subject they take on each month. If you saw the September 2016 issue, you know that topic was “Thinking Different” and we were excited to feature an interview with two young people with autism both in the magazine and right here on this blog. Teenagers Milan and Gabriela are inspiration to all of us here at Cricket Media for their insight, positive thinking, and can-do attitudes.


This month, MUSE is taking on sports and all the gear that goes with them. From technological innovations to existing sports (check out “Lighting It Up” on page 9, a new take on the game of basketball or “Real Sports, Virtual Reality” on page 26, which—as you probably guessed from the title—looks at how VR will change the way we watch, train, and play games of all types) to discussing whether wearing a helmet makes you safer or more reckless (page 47) to examining the science behind the curving path of a traveling projectile (basketball, football, baseball, golf, and badminton players take note!), the Gear + Games issue is for every kid who loves sports or sports gear.


One of the articles we love this month is all about the up and coming sport of Roller Derby. Yes, you read that right, roller derby. Roller derby isn’t the same over-the-top theatrical entertainment you might remember. Instead, the sport is changing, growing, adapting, and has become a possible contender for the Olympic Games. Share the article below and then head over to to download a free team logo for the all new MUSE Magazine Derby Squad. And please help us give Aarti, Whatsi, and Cate, characters from our popular Parallel U comic, unique roller derby nicknames. Have your favorite MUSE reader think of funny, punny, and unusual names and send them to MUSE Contest, 70 East Lake Street, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60601 or via email to See page 46 for even more information and official rules.


Each month MUSE Magazine will continue to bring your quirky, spunky, one-of-a-kind 9 to 14-year-old the exact brainy, amusing, and unique content they crave. So don’t miss an issue. Be sure to subscribe to MUSE today.



Muse: A Science Magazine that Will Excite Your Tween Girl

Tween girls are a breed unto themselves. They are little girls one minute, still playing with dolls, and sophisticated young adults the next, talking about fashion and boys and the latest sensational YouTube videos. In the middle of these two extremes are the authentic young women that they will become.


Science Magazine for Tween GirlsRecently there was an internet article making the rounds that showed the difference between how the media portrays the interests of boys and girls of this age group. Boys are routinely shown how to “explore their future” while girls are told how to be pretty. This disparity has not gone unnoticed by parents and girl-power advocates who decried this issue (apparently Girls Life often does take a more well-rounded approach to their audience, and this particular issue was an outlier) and called for our girls to be treated to the same forward-thinking, future-building, you-can-be-whatever-you-want-to be respect as boys.


Luckily there are magazines for both girls and boys that understand the wants and needs of this particular age group and works to provide kids with the tools they need to be successful in whatever the future holds for them. Go ahead and do a google search for “Science Magazines for Girls” or “Science magazines for tweens” and you will come up with a few options. One such magazine is Cricket Media’s own MUSE, which is billed as the science and arts magazine for kids that’s spot on with the facts and off the wall with the jokes. Inside Muse you’ll find articles that include profiles of working scientists (many of them women), in-depth profiles of science topics written in a voice that kids can relate to, and plenty of brainy fun, including a new comic series called Parallel U that is quickly gaining a dedicated audience.


Kids who can’t help wondering whether video games really kill their brain cells, or what a gentleman ladybug is called, will find the answers in Muse, in articles written by award-winning authors and accompanied by high-quality illustration and photography. But don’t take our word for it. Try a free digital issue yourself.

What If You Could See a Song?

Pharrell Williams visited New York University’s Clive Davis Institute in February 2016 to critique students’ compositions. His masterclass took a turn no one expected. The raw work of an NYU senior named Maggie Rogers left the triple-platinum artist visibly awestruck. By now, well over 2 million people have seen the video of Pharrell listening to Maggie’s song “Alaska.” The song is special (you can hear a mastered version here), and I love watching the star’s eyes shine as the music washes over him. But, to me, the most illuminating moment of the video is when the conversation turns to synesthesia.


What’s that now?


Author Aimee Odgen taught me the word—and how to pronounce it—in a recent MUSE magazine article. “People with a condition called synesthesia (sin-ess-THEEzhah) experience the world with two or more of their senses blending together in ways that might seem strange to you,” Ogden writes. “These people may be able to taste certain letters of the alphabet, for example, or to see the honk of car horns and the songs of birds as a special pattern of colors.”


When Pharrell expresses interest in visuals to accompany the song “Alaska,” Maggie replies, “I’m synesthetic, so colors are there, very there.”


“Yeah, well those were, like, some awesome colors,” he says.


Odgen’s piece goes on to explain synesthesia from the perspective of individuals with the condition. (Says Katie Lau, “It wasn’t until after college that I realized that not everyone had subtitles running through their heads when people spoke, or that other people didn’t see colors in their mind—life must seem so dull and mundane for them!”) It explores hypotheses about what’s happening in the brain when senses undergo creative crossover, as it were, and current areas of research. And it mentions two synesthetic musicians: Billy Joel and Pharrell Williams.


Popular singer/songwriter Pharrell Williams is synesthetic.

Popular singer/songwriter Pharrell Williams is synesthetic.

“You’re doing your own thing,” Pharrell praises Maggie. “It’s singular. . . . and that is such a special quality.” I couldn’t agree more. For more on the joys of thinking different, take a look at MUSE’s September issue.



So is singer/songwriter Billy Joel.

So is singer/songwriter Billy Joel.


Johanna Arnone is the editor of MUSE Magazine.

Talking to Teens Gabriela and Milan about Autism

By Carollyne Hutter


I have interviewed top scientists, the White House’s executive chef, and even a Disney star, but one of my most eye opening experiences was interviewing two teenagers with autism: Gabriela Alvarez and Milan Wolff. Conversing with Milan and Gabriela changed the way I view autism. You can read my interview of Gabriela and Milan in the September 2016 issue of Muse: Thinking Different.


What did Milan and Gabriela say about autism that is so eye-opening?  I was amazed that Gabriela challenges the whole way autism is seen. People with autism are labeled by how they function: low, moderate, and high.  The system is seen as a line or bar and puts people along the bar.


Spectrum Bar


Gabriela has a radically different way to view autistic people. She prefers a color diagram that uses the basic primary colors of red, yellow, and blue to present a more complex view of autism.  “A purple may have more red, or green more yellow, but they both have blue in them. Some autistic people have social anxiety, but can tolerate noise. Someone who is low functioning could be okay in certain social functions and not in other,” said Gabriela.


Then she said something truly unusual. “People with high and low functioning autism have more in common than someone who is non-autistic.” Generally high functioning autistic people are seen as being close in abilities to non-autistic people.


Muse Magazine -Cricket Media - Autism

17-year-old Milan gives autism credit for some of the amazing things he has been able to learn.

Milan also said something quite enlightening. He spoke about the benefits of autism. Most of the time society views autism as a hindrance. However, Milan pointed out: “I can learn almost anything if sufficiently dedicated.” Milan’s mother, Barbara Pitkin, discussed some of the amazing stuff Milan is learning and how he goes deep into a topic.


“Milan’s greatest strength is that his interests run deep.  When he engages on a topic, he researches it thoroughly, and takes it to new levels.   For example, Milan has dived deep into organic farming.  Every spring, the house is turned into a greenhouse, where scores of unusual varieties of fruits, vegetables, and herbs are grown.  Milan regularly volunteers at the Accokeek Foundation’s organic farm.  Milan takes the lessons learned from the farm and applies them in growing his own produce.  Milan has conducted research on the hundreds of varieties of produce possible, and then keeps detailed records on his success with specific varieties in his greenhouse.”


Wow, that is quite impressive, isn’t it?


Gabriela echoed Milan’s idea that people should see the positive side of autism. She wants autistic children to speak for themselves.


Cricket Media -Muse Magazine - About Autism

Gabriella enjoys spending time with her brother, Pierre.

“Autistic children want to speak for themselves. We want people to see the positive sides of us. I don’t want to be treated like a burden: my autism is in my brain and I am my brain,” Gabriela said. I know two excellent spokespeople for autism: Gabriela and Milan. I hope they both continue to talk about autism.


What didn’t surprise me was how both Milan and Gabriela prefer to write someone, versus directly talk to them. Social interactions can be confusing for autistic people. After talking to Gabriela and Milan, I thought how technology (particularly the Internet, social media, and texting) have made it easier for autistic people to communicate. This technology allows them to communicate directly in real time with others without the stress of social signals. Also the Internet and social media have provided people with autism with a community of others. The Autism Wiki is one such site.


One thing that was not discussed in the article is that Gabriela is proud of her Nicaraguan heritage. Gabriela’s mother Rose Alvarez has told me that more needs to be done to reach out to the Latino community about autism. I hope that having this blog post in Spanish will be a step toward expanding the conversation on autism to the Latino community.


Use the following link to download the Spanish version of this blog post: Talking to Teens Gabriela and Milan about Autism


Carollyne Hutter,, enjoys writing for children and adults. Often her work focuses on environmental, scientific, health, and international development issues.

Celebrating the Summer Solstice

Today is the summer solstice. That means that those of us in the northern hemisphere will experience the longest day and the shortest night of the year with more than 15 hours of daylight to use for whatever activities makes us happy. My family is looking forward to a bike ride around the local lake and a cookout on our deck. Whatever your family is planning, we hope it brings you lots of laughter and happy memories.


Since there is no way you are going to get your kids in bed early tonight with all that lovely sunlight streaming through their bedroom windows, why not share these two stories all about the summer solstice as you all unwind together after your busy day. Not only will these two articles entertain your entire brood, but you are all likely to learn a few things about the summer solstice that you probably didn’t know. From an experiment that will teach you and your kids how to measure the circumference of the earth (which only works on certain days of the years, like today) to a story about how the summer solstice is celebrated in Alaska (a place where the daylight lasts all night long), your family is sure to enjoy spending some quality reading time together on the longest day of the year.


How to Measure the Earth



The Day that lasted All Night



For more stories like this, be sure to subscribe to your favorite Cricket Media children’s magazine.

Remembering the “Queen of the Curve” Zaha Hadid

Some of the world’s most eye-catching buildings were designed by Zaha Hadid, an architect known for fluid shapes that allow her designs to appear to flow effortlessly into their building sites. Ms. Hadid has designed buildings and structures as diverse as the aquatics center used for the 2012 Olympics in London, the Bergisel Ski Jump in Austria, the BMW Central Building in Germany, and the State Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg, Russia. In 2004, she was awarded architecture’s most prestigious award, the Pritzker, becoming the first woman and the youngest architect to receive this honor.


Sadly, Ms. Hadid died suddenly last week  at the age of 65. Read more about her ground-breaking architectural design:


Person to Discover: Contemporary architecture star Zaha Hadid


Zaha Hadid _ Architecturezahahadid2

Remembering the “Queen of the Curve” Zaha Hadid  Remembering the “Queen of the Curve” Zaha Hadid


For more articles like this one, be sure to subscribe to Muse magazine, the science and arts magazine for kids ages 9 to 14 that’s spot on with the facts and off the wall with the jokes.


Want to see more of Ms. Hadid’s amazing buildings? Check out this gallery of her most amazing works.