Get mustached at First Friday

XYZ’s got something really, extraordinarily, sensationally cool in store for this coming First Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 at our magazine’s space in NOTO.

We’ve got sticky hands, ping-pong balls and mustache-themed book giveaways. 

FakeMustache cob

For those kid readers who like tales of mustachioed villains being squashed by incognito kids whose disguises hold superpowers — okay, this is probably all kid readers — the Topeka & Shawnee County Library’s Little Read selection is for you.

What is the Little Read, you ask? Well, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) awards grants to communities across the nation so they can hold The Big Read, a month where the people all read and celebrate a single classic book. The idea is that this program increases civic participation, literacy and a sense of community in general. The Big Read is a good thing. The Topeka Library likes to make sure kids get involved, so they’ve added a title especially for kids to read this February too.

This year, the library’s Big Read is True Grit, a classic Western by Charles Portis starring Mattie, an awesome 14-year-old girl on a journey of revenge. At the XYZ space in Gravity Gallery in NOTO (822 1/2 N. Kansas Ave.), we’ll have some copies of True Grit to give away, so come get one!

Big Read Sponsor Ped Poster NEW

But, hold the phone! We also have 2 exclusive copies of this year’s Little Read, Fake Mustache by Tom Angleberger to give away. In order to enter to win one, you just have to stop by XYZ’s space.

(The book is recommended for kids 2nd through 6th grade)


We’ll also have a Fake Mustache-themed game for kids to play that involves sticky hands and ping-pong balls. It’s going to be CHAOS. Chaos in the best sense of the word.

So come join us in NOTO Fri. Feb. 6, 5:30-8:30 p.m. for some Big Read shenanigans and a chance to get your mitts on some great books.

The library has lots of great events centered around Fake Mustache in February. Kids can participate in a squirt gun shoot-out, dig for gold where no man’s gone before and make their own mustaches.

See the full month’s listing of events >>



Spring Cover Photo Contest!

We are having a first around here at XYZ Magazine, a cover photo contest, where the kids have creative control.

We welcome photos from any age child up to age 18, as long as they took the photo.  We encourage you to let your child come up with the ideas too.  Part of the fun of letting a child create our cover is seeing the world through their eyes, behind the lens.

Please submit only high resolution photos,  and if possible we’d like them submitted already sized for the cover which is 8.754 X 11.125.  We can crop them for you if you do not know how to do that, but some of the image will be cropped off, since that is not the standard size image that is produced straight out of camera.  This is a vertical crop, so we ask that you submit vertical photos.  Also a hint:  Whenever we are choosing a photo for the cover we are looking for a photo with negative space at the very top where our XYZ masthead is placed, so that important details of the image are not covered by the text.  That means the subject or focal point of your image should be located in the bottom two thirds of the image.  Also keep in mind your lighting.  With photography, lighting is everything, and often times natural light is best.  Turn off that flash and open up a window and let the light in or get outside.

Each child may submit 1 image, pick your very favorite and show us your best work.  Email the digital file to  Include child’s name, age, school (if applicable), and a two sentence artist’s statement.  Only one photo will get chosen for our cover, and a few may be featured as runner ups in the inside of the issue.  By submitting your image you are allowing us to use your photo on our cover, in print, and on social media online.  We will also have permission to make minor adjustments to the photo to make it fit for the cover.

The winning photo will be chosen by the art editors and photography editor.  Submissions will be presented to us anonymously when choosing the winning image.

Deadline is January 31st, so get to snapping.  We’re hoping for a lot of entries from all ages!



kids who rock: Megan Risetter

More than anything, Megan Risetter wants to touch people with her music.

“For me, there is nothing more moving than a wonderfully-written song, sung by an amazing story teller,” she says. “If listeners aren’t getting anything out of a song except an interesting melody and a cool beat, then what’s the point of singing it?”

Continue reading kids who rock: Megan Risetter


kids who rock: J’Quory Guest

J’Quory Guest has been rapping since he was 7 years old. He says that he is an inspirational rapper–he voices pride in his Christianity, and he writes lyrics that reflect his faith. But the title “inspirational” means much more to him than religion.

“I want to make a change,” he says, “my goal is to motivate kids and inspire youth through my music.”

Continue reading kids who rock: J’Quory Guest


kids who rock: Shawna Willis

13-year-old Shawna Willis has a set of pipes that will make your jaw drop. Her voice is rounded and soulful, powerful and strong. When she steps up and begins to sing, the crowd gets quiet and people crane their necks to see her. After hearing her for the first time, many listeners are surprised to find out that she’s so young.

“I’ve been singing since I could talk,” Shawna says. “Mom has video of me somewhere singing with a Barbie karaoke CD player when I was 3 or so.”

Continue reading kids who rock: Shawna Willis


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