Here Today: ZuZu

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The Independent Culture
Both an unusual children's newspaper and a newspaper for unusual children, ZuZu is currently the most exciting periodical in circulation in New York. 'All the rage for every age', the fundamental principle behind the paper is that the young won't accept being patronised. Consequently, it is written entirely by the children themselves.

The writing is so fresh and the artwork so inspired that ZuZu is rejuvenating just to flick through. Distributed at schools and libraries, it 'hits the streets' on a bi-monthly basis. The latest issue contains a colouring page, a mystery picture and a feature entitled 'My Video Shoot with Cyndi Lauper' (this is new York, after all).

At the helm of ZuZu is Beck Underwood, an adult with such childlike enthusiasm (and such cool dress sense) that she is something akin to the Bjork of newspaper publishing. Beck is adamant that ZuZu goes out for free, and that it recoups its costs through minimal advertising. To that end, she's recently won her battle to achieve charity status for the publication.

So hot is ZuZu that even adults are clamouring to write for it. Beck, however, can usually pick out a mature (or lifeless) writing style from a mile off: 'I called a supposed six-year- old to congratulate him on his excellent story and he proved to be a middle-aged accountant from New Jersey'. Despite pledging his undying love for ZuZu, he was disqualified from contributing.

Emma Forrest

If you would like to find out more about ZuZu, or you would like to start your own kids' paper, please contact Beck Underwood at 271 East 10th Street, Box 64, NYC 10009 (tel: 0101 212 477 6756; fax: 0101 212 477 0180)

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