kid scoop news founder launches educational activity books for kids

January 2020


Lancaster, PA —Curious questions from her third-grade students sparked Vicki Whiting to create Kid Scoop News, newspaper content created specifically for kids that appears in more than 300 newspapers with a combined circulation of 7.5 million, nationally and internationally. 

Thirty years after the inauguration of Kid Scoop, Vicki is now the author of Happy Fox Book’s new “Totally Awesome Activity Books” A Kid’s Guide to Drawing Cartoon Animals and Mind-Boggling Animal Puzzles, created with her illustrator for 20 years, Jeff Schinkel. These books grew out of a long history of creating exciting learning activity materials for children through Kid Scoop, originally published in hundreds of newspapers. 

“I’m a curious kid at heart,” she admits.  “I love doing new and unusual things.”  As a young teacher years ago, Vicki discovered that standard reading materials weren’t helping her struggling readers. So she created fun puzzles with “secret codes” that that helped them decode words.  She turned dry textbook information into a game, a word search, fun facts, mazes or a puzzle, and the children began to love reading.

“I’m a curious kid at heart. I love doing new and unusual things. My greatest joy is writing. I love it when adults tell me they learned some ‘factoid’ from the page, and when teachers tell me ‘this was written by a teacher’ – because I always imbed ‘teachable moments’ in the fun activities.” “ 
~Vicki Whiting, found of Kid Scoop News

The key moment that led to professional publishing happened when she was teaching the required unit on “Community.” Vicki found the required textbook boring and generic.  She asked her students, “How can we learn about our community?”  The kids responded:  our community newspaper! So, one day after school, she sat down at her kitchen table and created a newspaper-size page of puzzles and games on the theme of “our community.”  She took her prototype to her local newspaper, the Sonoma Index-Tribune in California.  She explained to the editor that her school children were part of the Sonoma community, and a page in the weekly would help them find out about it. 

The newspaper editor loved the idea of children reading the weekly newspaper for their page titled “Kid Scoop.”  The initial weekly page featured puzzles, games, plus reading and writing activities on the “community” theme and a scavenger hunt guide the young readers ages 7-12 to other parts of their hometown newspaper.   

Vicki’s materials for children are informed by educational standards for each subject area, including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), fact and opinion, history, and geography activities. Her mother was also a teacher, and her late father was chief scientist at NASA. Her passion for learning all subjects infuses each page of her work. 

Now Vicki and illustrator Jeff Schinkel have brought their creativity to Happy Fox Books. Mind-Boggling Animal Puzzles activity book gives children 72 pages of fun facts, puzzles, games, mazes, and word searches. A Kid’s Guide to Drawing Cartoon Animals activity book shows children step-by-step how to draw 28 animals.

The books include updated pages from the thousands of Kid Scoop pages in the archive created by Vicki and Jeff over the years. David Miller, Fox Chapel president, says Fox Chapel’s mission is to help children learn by doing and have fun at the same time. And there are more activity books from Vicki and Jeff to come!

A Kid’s Guide to Drawing Cartoon Animals includes:

  • Tips on how to draw 28 cartoon animals, from crocodiles and cats to sea horses and sharks!
  • Step-by-step, trace-and-draw instructions and plenty of room to practice.
  • Exciting and engaging illustrations perfect for kids aged 5-10.

Mind-Boggling Animal Puzzles includes:

  • Fun facts about children’s favorite animals, from kangaroos and polar bears to tarantulas and snakes.
  • Crazy cool codes, puzzles, word searches, and so much more, all aligned with STEM curricula.
  • Exciting and engaging illustrations perfect for kids aged 5-10.
  • Hundreds of activities perfect for kids aged 5-10