If you paid a visit to any sort of waiting room as a kid (say, the doctor or dentist’s office), you are probably familiar with a beloved little publication called Highlights for Children. Filled to the brim with all sorts of kid-friendy information and activities, Highlights entertained and challenged us to think, all while serving as a wonderful distraction for whatever terrors lie beyond the waiting room.
Highlights for Children was the brainchild of Garry Cleveland Myers and Caroline Clark. He was a child psychologist, she a school teacher, and their shared views on children’s education led to their marriage, as well as a combined effort to offer their vision of a kid’s magazine that would help kids have “Fun with a Purpose.” They published their first issue in 1946 – and every month since, for more than six decades and counting.
Highlights offered everything from brain-challenging puzzles to moral advice. Regular features included “Ask Arizona” which was a youngster’s version of a Dear Abby column, “Hidden Pictures” which challenged kids to find small objects hidden within a picture, and a cartoon strip featuring a pair of contrasting boys named Goofus and Gallant. Each cartoon showed how each of the boys handled various life problems. Goofus would demonstrate the wrong way and Gallant would offer a more angelic approach. Other longtime recurring comics included The Timbertoes, a family constructed from wood, and The Bear Family, featuring two bear parents and their three cubs, Poozy, Woozy and Piddy.
Garry Myers passed away in 1972, and Caroline in 1980, but Highlights for Children continues to thrive. In 2006, the billionth copy of the magazine was sold, and millions of children still read the same publication that enlightened, entertained and educated so many of us in our childhood years … even if it wasn’t always under the best of circumstances. Still, anything that could keep your mind off of an impending doctor or dentist visit was worth its weight in gold.
If you have fond memories of reading this wonderful children’s magazine, maybe even learned a thing or two from Goofus and Gallant, we’d love to hear all about it in our comments section, as we tip our hats to this staple of childhood waiting rooms for over sixty years.