Children’s magazine looks like an Army recruiting tool to some

The latest issue of Cobblestone, a magazine for children ages 9 to 14, features on its cover a photo of a soldier in Iraq clutching a machine gun. Inside, there are articles on boot camp, careers in the Army, and a detailed description of the Army’s “awesome arsenal” of weapons.

The issue also contains a set of teachers’ guides, one of which suggests teachers invite a soldier, Army recruiter or veteran to the classroom to talk with students and to ask them if they would one day consider joining the Army. Another suggests that teachers assign students to write an essay about which Army career they would like to pursue, and how they would persuade the recruiter to place them in that career.

There have been about a dozen official complaints to Carus Publishing, whose officials say that they will consider these criticisms in formulating future issues of the magazine. A spokesman said the magazine planned the issue a couple of years ago, and that “It just happened to come out at a time when the country’s feelings are in a certain place” about the war in Iraq.

Cobblestone has a paid circulation of 30,000 and is distributed nationwide to schools and libraries.