Kids Are Facing a Mental Health Crisis. Is Social Media to Blame?

By Haven Hamre-Myers, age 15 and IndyKids staff

The reckoning on how social media is impacting kids’ mental health has begun. Facebook, and Mark Zuckerberg personally, have been called out for knowing about the issues surrounding their platforms and for their failure to take action.

Getting Wild With… The American Bumblebee!

By Charlotte Osoria, age 9

Did you know there are over 255 species of bumblebee around the world, 49 of which live in North America? One such species is the American bumblebee.

Meet an IndyKids Reporter… Aida El-Hajjar, age 12

Twelve-year-old Aida lives in Milwaukee, Wis., and is a seventh-grader at Maryland Montessori School. She strives to help others and to try and make the world we live in a better place. Aida is keeping her options open for future career choices but knows that whatever she does, it will be rooted in writing, art and social justice.

Tuskless Elephants Are Evolving to Evade Poachers

By Mona Delgado, age 10 and IndyKids staff

Researchers at Princeton University have discovered that many African elephants are evolving to not have their signature look: tusks. During the Mozambique Civil War, from 1977 to 1992, humans killed so many elephants that the species has evolved to become tuskless.

Henrietta Lacks Receives Posthumous Award

By Sloan Becker, age 10

Henrietta Lacks received a posthumous award from the World Health Organization (WHO) in October 2021 finally acknowledging her legacy and large contribution to modern medicine.

Noncitizens Granted the Right to Vote in Local Elections in NYC

By Lucia Mejia Cardenas, age 13

The New York City Council passed a bill on Dec. 9 granting noncitizens the right to vote in municipal elections. Starting in 2023, green card holders, Dreamers and lawful permanent residents will be able to vote in local elections.

Men Wrongly Accused of Malcolm X’s Murder Exonerated

By Jessie Mitnick, age 13

Muhammad A. Aziz and Khalil Islam spent 20 years in prison for the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X. Aziz was released from prison in 1985 and Islam in 1987. The case was recently revisited, and the two were subsequently exonerated of the crime.

Benton Harbor’s Lead Water Crisis Painfully Similar to Flint 

By Sami El-Hajjar, age 12

Benton Harbor, Mich., is struggling with contamination of their water caused by lead pipes, and residents are blaming the state of Michigan for ignoring the issue for so long. Since 2018, Benton Harbor’s water failed six consecutive sampling tests, and some critics argue that the lead levels exceed those found in Flint, Mich., in 2014, according to PBS.

States Are Rebranding LGBTQ+ Support in Schools as “Too Political”

By Mila Lemoine, age 10 and IndyKids staff

Some state lawmakers don’t want pride flags in schools. They argue that LGBTQ+ flags are “too political” and “divisive” (something that causes a lot of disagreement and separates people) for classroom use. Several states have already decided to ban pride flags in schools and classrooms, including Oregon, Utah, Missouri, Florida and Texas.

“COP26 Is a Failure”: Greta Thunberg Says COP Is Now a PR Event

By Aida El-Hajjar, age 12

The Conference of the Parties, or COP, is an annual gathering of world leaders to discuss one issue that has occupied billions of minds: climate change. This year’s COP26 was held in Glasgow, Scotland, in November 2021. Currently 197 countries participate in the COP. The conference, which was postponed last year because of the pandemic, was considered “a big check-up” to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

Taliban Still Won’t Allow Girls Back in School

By Zahra Latheef, age 11

Since the Taliban overthrew the Western-backed government on Aug. 15, 2021, only boys, men and younger girls have been allowed to return to school.

Our Diverse Books Are Under Attack!

By Mikhail Razzak, age 13 and IndyKids staff

The number of book challenges in the United States rose from 156 in all of 2020 to 330 in just the fall of 2021, according to a new American Library Association report. Since January 2021, more than 30 states have introduced classroom censorship laws which regulate discussions and literature, according to PEN America.

“Don’t Say Gay” Bill Passes in Florida. What’s Next?

By Jessie Mitnick, age 14

The Parental Rights in Education bill, which aims to restrict teachers’ ability to discuss or teach anything related to sexual orientation and gender identity within classrooms, was signed into law at the end of March by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Supporters of the legislation say that it will improve parents’ ability to control the information that children receive regarding LGBTQ+ topics, therefore giving them increased parental control and authority. However, it has been dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law by critics because it could effectively eliminate people’s right to even mention something related to the LGBTQ+ community within a school environment.

As Climate Disasters Worsen, Communities Mobilize Around Mutual Aid

By Ziggy Gleason, age 12 and IndyKids staff

Last year was one of the most catastrophic and costly years on record for climate disasters in the United States, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in a recent report. During 2021 alone, there were 20 climate disasters which cost the U.S. economy $1 billion or more and killed 688 people.

Someday You Could Be… A Producer Like Nat Geo’s Carla Wills

By Samir Iydroose, age 11

Formerly a senior news producer at Democracy Now!, Carla Wills is the manager of audio production at National Geographic and the executive editor of the Into the Depths podcast. Into the Depths follows a team of Black researchers and divers as they discover and explore many of the thousands of shipwrecks from the transatlantic slave trade.

Personal Report: Should America’s Teachers Have to Crawl on Ice for a Raise?

By Leah Matloff, age 12

During an intermission at a South Dakota hockey game in December last year, an event called “Dash for Cash” took place. Ten local teachers stood in the middle of the hockey rink, and $5,000 in one-dollar bills was dropped in front of them. The teachers quickly got on their knees and scrambled to pick up the money…

Getting Wild With… Tasmanian Devils

By Henry Russell, age 11

Tasmanian devils are rather cute black- or brown-furred mammals that look a little like baby bears. They are the world’s largest meat-eating marsupial, reaching 30 inches in length and weighing up to 26 pounds. They have very sharp teeth that can deliver one of the strongest bites of any mammal. These animals got the name “devil” after early Europeans witnessed their growling, lunging and teeth-bearing characteristics.

Are Passive Greenhouses the Future of Farming?

By Theo Bloom, age 11

Dong Jianyi, an agronomist originally from China, has introduced Alberta, Canada, to large-scale greenhouses that don’t use electricity. Passive greenhouses can allow you to produce vegetables even in freezing temperatures. Dong’s Freshpal Farms is thought to be the largest commercial passive solar greenhouse in Alberta.

Magawa, Beloved Bomb-Sniffing Rat, Passes Away By Flynn Rossman, age 12

Bomb-sniffing African pouched rat, Image from Wikimedia Commons In early 2022, a legend died. That legend was an African pouched rat named Magawa, who was trained to sniff out unexploded landmines in Cambodia.  Magawa, who was born in 2013, was trained for three...

Pentagon Makes Moves to Prevent Extremism Within the Military

By Isha Seth, age 11

The Pentagon is now enforcing new rules targeting far-right extremism and white supremacy within the U.S. military following the Jan. 6 insurrection. NPR analysis found that nearly one out of every five rioters charged for their participation in the riot has a connection to the U.S. military. 

Build Back Better Failure Pushes Nearly 4 Million Kids Back into Poverty By Nala Annes, Age 11 and IndyKids staff

By Nala Annes, Age 11 and IndyKids staff

The expiration of Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) has pushed nearly 4 million children back into poverty. The act, which was introduced in March 2021, increased monthly payments low-income families received, and reportedly kept 6.3 million children out of poverty, reducing overall child poverty in the United States by 43%.

Is Biden Keeping His Promises After COP26?

By Ananya Biederer, age 11

President Joe Biden pledged to address climate change at COP26, a global climate conference held in Scotland in November 2021. Days later, his administration oversaw one of the biggest gas and oil lease sales in U.S. history. The lease goes against Biden’s promises to reduce global pollution and could cause even more environmental harm.

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Someday You Could Be… an Eco-Gardener Like Samuel Pressman

By Esteban Guerra, age 9

Samuel Pressman is an ecological systems designer, food growing educator and climate artist in New York City. He created Samuel’s Food Gardens during the pandemic to educate people about DIY-based home food growing.

Why is Critical Race Theory Under Attack?

By Luca Cantagallo, age 11 and IndyKids staff

CRT is a way of reexamining U.S. history through a lens of racism. The academic framework was developed in the 1970s and ‘80s and predominantly taught in colleges and universities. It centers on the concept that racism in the United States is systemic and ingrained in institutions⁠—like government, education and media⁠—which, it is argued, work to perpetuate white supremacy. CRT is a complex theory, and according to AP News, there is “little to no evidence that [it] is being taught to K-12 public school students.”

Line 3 Pipeline Causes Controversy

By Dayanara Hernandez, age 16

Enbridge, a Canadian pipeline corporation, has recently faced an increase in protests from Indigenous, environmental and citizen groups in northern Minnesota opposing the replacement of the Line 3 pipeline.

Argentina Officially Recognizes Non-Binary People 

By Josey Law, age 10 and IndyKids Staff

Argentina has become the first Latin American country to officially recognize non-binary people. The country is now allowing people to put an “X” on national identity documents if they do not identify as male or female.

Proposed Abolition Amendment to Address Modern-Day Slavery

By Jessie Mitnick, age 13

The Abolition Amendment aims to revise the 13th Constitutional Amendment, which abolished slavery in the United States. These representatives are fighting a so-called loophole in the 13th Amendment, which allows for involuntary servitude to continue as a form of criminal punishment.

Science Brief: Flex Those Filtration Mussels

By Melina Cantagallo, age 13

Mussels are most often thought of as just a food, but they could potentially be used to free our oceans of toxic microplastics.

How Much Does the U.S. Really Recycle?

By Melina Cantagallo, age 13 and IndyKids Staff

The United States produces the most waste per capita, with each person contributing 102 metric tons of garbage in their lifetime. But how much of this waste is successfully recycled?

An Interview With… The Brennan Center For Justice

IndyKids reporter Neena Sapkota, age 12 interviews Sean Morales-Doyle regarding the recent slew of voting rights restrictions across the United States. Sean is the Acting Director of the Voting Rights & Elections Program at the Brennan Center for Justice.

Meet an IndyKids Reporter: Neena Sapkota, age 12

Neena has big dreams for the future, including becoming an author, singer, lawyer or even president of the United States! As long as she changes the world for the better, she says she will be happy.

Quiz: Who Am I?

By June Fink, age 10 and IndyKids Staff

Getting Wild With… Gray Wolves

By Esteban Guerra, age 9

Wolves play a big role in keeping our ecosystems healthy. Gray wolves are found in many parts of the United States, including Alaska, northern Michigan, northern Wisconsin, western Montana, northern Idaho, northeast Oregon and the Yellowstone area of Wyoming.

Center Spread: The State of U.S. Immigration

There are many reasons people choose or are forced to leave their home countries, including lack of resources, food insecurity, frequent natural disasters caused by climate change, or violence like war and gang violence. They come to the United States with hopes to start a new life with better jobs, opportunities and more safety.

Cover Story: Our Voting Rights Are Under Attack: the Time to Fight For Democracy is Now

By Neena Sapkota, age 12

Voting rights in the United States have come under attack since the 2020 presidential election. Eighteen states have already made voting more difficult by enacting 30 new voting laws. Many of these laws give legislators more control over how elections are run, and can make it easier for them to challenge the results.

Someday You Could Be… Sara Saedi

Interview By Raya El-Hajjar, age 13

Sara Saedi was born in Tehran, Iran, during wartime and an Islamic Revolution. Her parents fled to the United States, where they lived undocumented until Saedi was in her twenties. Saedi is the author of the memoir, Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card, which explores her experiences as an undocumented teen growing up in the United States.

The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act Hits Back at Police Brutality

By Samaria Bunburry, age 14 Following nationwide protests after the murder of unarmed Black man, George Floyd, the House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in March this year. The legislation aims to reduce the number of Black victims...

Breaking News: Federal Judge Rules DACA “Illegal”

By IndyKids Staff The Dreamers’ future is once again under threat this month after Andrew Hanen, a Texas federal judge, ruled  the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program unconstitutional. DACA, an initiative created in 2012 by then-President Obama,...

Breaking News: Bootleg Fire Becomes Nation’s Largest Wildfire

By IndyKids Staff Having already scorched over 350,000 acres⁠—an area larger than Los Angeles⁠—the Oregon wildfire has now become the largest burning in the United States this year. Named after the nearby Bootleg Spring, the fire began on July 6 and has now forced...

Meet an IndyKids Reporter: Arnay Agarwal, age 12

By Aida El-Hajjar, age 11 Arnay Agarwal is a 12-year-old published author, radio host, founder of the Storytelling Society of India and IndyKids journalist from Bangalore, India. Aida: How and when did you develop your passion for writing? Arnay: I think I was born...

Science Brief: New Ozzy Dino Discovery Breaks Record

By Amelie Kokolios aged 10 and Siena Kokolios aged 8 Palaeontologists, scientists who study dinosaurs, have recently recognized a new species of dinosaur that’s the largest in Australia and one of the largest in the world. Australotitan cooperensis, nicknamed Cooper,...

News Brief: House Votes to Restrict Travel Bans

By Stella Tomasello, age 10 The House of Representatives passed the National Origin-Based Antidiscrimination for Nonimmigrants (NO BAN) Act in April by a vote of 218 to 208. The aim was to limit the power the president could exercise over immigration on the basis of...

News Brief: India Endures Another COVID Crisis

By Aida El-Hajjar, age 11 India reported 4,529 deaths in 24 hours, setting a new world record for daily coronavirus deaths on May 19, 2021. When the first wave of the COVID-19 virus hit, the Indian government responded quickly and strictly, putting India among...

Quiz: Who Am I?

By Esteban Guerra, age 9 I was born on May 26, 1951, in Los Angeles, California.  I graduated from Stanford University in California, with a degree in physics.  In 1978, I was one of six women to work for NASA. In 1983, I became the first American woman to fly in...

Getting Wild With… Seahorses!

By IndyKids Staff There are 46 different species of seahorses around the world. These strange looking creatures range in size from 0.6 inches up to 14 inches long. Although they live in the sea, seahorses are poor swimmers. They live in shallow ocean areas,...

States Move to Ban Trans Kids From Sports

By Sami El-Hajjar, age 11 Republicans in Idaho, and others in primarily conservative states, have been targeting trans youth. Idaho and several other states have been pushing bills and legislation that prohibit trans youth athletes from competing on teams that...

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Center Spread: Climate Change, Should We Be Afraid?

Angel Guzman, age 10 and IndyKids staff Have you noticed a change in the weather, the oceans rising and melting glaciers? This is all because of climate change.  The recent results of the biggest climate poll ever conducted by the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP)...

Center Spread: Humanity Is Killing Its Co-tenants

By Orik Ehren, age 15 Climate change is one of the most intimidating beasts that humanity has ever faced. Its multifaceted nature combined with a lack of human attention results in a force that spells the demise of an ignorant race and the species with which it shares...

Center Spread: Climate Change Is Going to Cost Us Big Time

By Nicolle Berroa, age 13 and IndyKids Staff Winter Storm Uri hit Texas in February and caught everyone off guard. The unusually bitter cold weather put a massive strain on energy demand and available electricity as the infrastructure around natural gas, coal, nuclear...

Who Am I?

By Zaynab Latheef , age 8 I was born on April 9, 1921, in Hampton, Virginia. I graduated from Hampton Institute with a dual degree in mathematics and physical science. I became a teacher and helped kids to build their own wind tunnels to conduct experiments. In 1951,...

Getting Wild With… The Endangered Blakiston’s Fish Owl

By Mila Lemoine, age 9 The Blakiston’s fish owl measures 60 to 72 centimeters in length, making it the largest owl in the world. The Blakiston’s fish owl lives in the riparian woodlands of Asia and Russia. These owls nest in large, old trees near rivers, lakes and...

New York City Mayoral Races

Hudson Mu, age 14 In 2021, New York City will elect a new comptroller, at least four new borough presidents, and because of term limits, there will be an almost entirely new City Council. But the most competitive, expensive and crowded race will surely be for mayor....

Why Youth Activism Cannot End with a Biden Presidency

By Nicolle Berroa, age 14 and IndyKids staff Trump is out and Biden is the new president, but the activism that got us here shouldn’t be over. After George Floyd’s death at the hands of police in May 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement gained considerable momentum....

Science Brief: World’s First Underwater Youth Climate Protest

Zahra Latheef, age 11 In early March, Shaama Sandooyea took a deep breath and plunged into the western Indian Ocean in the first-ever underwater youth climate protest. Holding a “Youth Strike for Climate” placard right above the world’s largest seagrass meadow, the...

News Brief: Hate Crimes Still Plaguing Asian American Communities

Jessie Mitnick, age 13 On March 16, 2021, a devastating shooting took place in Atlanta. The attack left eight people dead, six of them women of Asian descent. Since the onset of the pandemic, there has been a sharp rise in anti-Asian attacks, largely fueled by former...

Class of COVID-19: The Pandemic of Missing Students

By Khadija Hasan, age 12 Thousands of students have been missing from school in the United States, attending neither in-person nor online classes, according to ABC News. Students are facing countless issues with their virtual classrooms. Many have been completely...

Hotels for the Unhoused

By Zahra Latheef, age 11 The Austin City Council voted in January to buy rundown hotels to house the Texas city’s unhoused population. Many people were unhoused in Austin even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The vote to purchase the first hotel was unanimously...

The Insurrection: A Turning Point for the U.S.? 

By Raya ElHajjar, age 13 and IndyKids staff The morning of Jan. 6 began with crowds of Trump supporters flooding Washington, D.C., in anticipation of the then-president's speech. During the rally, Trump urged his followers to “fight like h***” against what he called a...

Someday You Could Be… Amy Goodman

By Lucia Mejia Cardenas, age 13 Amy Goodman is an award-winning journalist, investigative reporter, human rights activist and host of Democracy Now! for the last 25 years. IndyKid reporter Lucia met with Amy to discuss her career and legacy as a social justice...

Rise of the “She-cession”: Women Hit Hardest by COVID Job Losses

By Sira Basse, age 15 The fight for gender equality in the workplace is an ongoing battle in the United States, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made the struggle more dire. In the first 10 months of the pandemic, 5.5 million women around the country lost their...

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Someday You Could Be… Jabari Brisport

By Vienne Linsalata age 9 Jabari Brisport is a socialist politician, middle school math teacher, actor and the first Black openly gay state senator-elect for New York’s 25th District. He is fighting for equal access to quality education, combating climate change,...

Puzzle: Who Am I?

By Linnea Quammen, age 10 I was born on July 30, 1924, in Boonville, Missouri. I led my first sit-in, which sought to desegregate Barton’s Cafeteria in Peoria, Illinois, in 1947. I dropped out of college to become a minister and was an inspiring leader in the civil...

Science Brief: World Isn’t Meeting Biodiversity Targets

By Sloan Becker, age 10  Mother Earth has been losing many of her diverse plants and animals. In 2010 the Convention on Biological Diversity, made up of 150 countries, pledged to complete 20 targets by 2020 in order to help protect Earth’s biodiversity. However,...

The Beneficial BioBus

By Becca Jene Uss, age 10 BioBus is a moving science lab that is open for schools to expand their learning program of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and educate kids that have limited access to a high-quality science education.  Typically, the...

Personal Report: The Challenges of Educating During a Pandemic

By Arnay Agarwal, Age 12 Teachers are great problem solvers, but the coronavirus pandemic has presented challenges unlike any other. From technical glitches to exposing the socioeconomic inequities of education to dealing with overstretched parents, teachers are now...

Meet an IndyKids Reporter: Raya El-Hajjar

Q. How did you first hear about IndyKids and how long have you written with them? A. My mom always got IndyKids for her classroom, and I always remember reading it. When I was in 5th grade, I started wanting to write for IndyKids, so I filled out the survey on their...

News Brief: Lower the Voting Age? The Discussion Has Begun

By Oscar Tomasello, age 12 The minimum age required to vote was lowered from 21 to 18 in 1970. Now 50 years later, activists around the country are pushing to lower the voting age again.  Tyler Okeke, a 19-year-old organizer with the nonprofit Power California, told...

News Brief: U.K. and Europe Pesticide Scandal

Oscar Tomasello, age 12 Around 81,000 tonnes of illegal pesticides were shipped from the EU in 2018 to smaller countries including South Africa, Ukraine and Brazil. These pesticides contain paraquat, a toxic chemical which is fatal if ingested and has been banned from...

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: An Equality Superhero

By Mia Silverman, age 11 Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the legendary Supreme Court justice, passed away in September after serving 27 years on the Supreme Court and a lifetime of fighting for equal rights for people of all races, genders and sexual orientations. With her seat...

A Boon to Billionaires, a Bust for Average Americans

By Sami El-Hajjar, age 11     Carlos Rodriguez Herrera was a barista at a Mediterranean restaurant in New York City. But on March 14, right after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, he was told not to come back to work. “I don’t know how I’m going to pay the...

From School Closures to Child Labor

By Hudson Mu, age 14 The pandemic has robbed millions of their jobs, and now with prolonged school closures across the world, many children in impoverished countries have been forced into backbreaking and often illegal work in an effort to make money for their...