2017 Changes to Friend Magazine Aim to Strengthen Children

Contributed By Marian Spencer, Church News staff writer

  • 17 November 2016

Starting in 2017, the Friend will be printed on thicker, textured paper that’s perfect for coloring and paper-and-pencil activities.

Article Highlights

  • Changes include thicker paper for easier coloring and an expanded section for preteens.
  • Children are invited to send in cutout hearts telling how they’ve shown love.

It’s time to break out the crayons! In 2017, new paper and new features are coming to the Friend. Here are five new things to look for in next year’s magazine.

1. New child-friendly paper

If you’ve ever watched a child write or color on glossy magazine pages, you know how tricky it can be—especially with crayons. That’s why, starting in 2017, the Friend will be printed on thicker, textured paper that’s perfect for coloring and paper-and-pencil activities. This change is designed to help children have a better experience with the activities in the Friend.

2. “Share a Heart!” invitation

In 2017, the Friend is inviting children to fill the world with love—and then send in cutout hearts telling about their experiences. This invitation echoes President Thomas S. Monson’s plea: “May we begin now, this very day, to show love to all of God’s children” (Ensign, May 2014, 94). Each month the magazine will publish a photo story featuring “Friends with Heart”—children around world who serve and show kindness.

The Friend magazine invites children to send in a heart with their story and photo. Lucy Herold sent in a cutout
heart telling how she’s filled the world with love: “I help my teacher grade papers.”

3.  Monthly CTR stories

To support the 2017 Primary sharing time theme, “Choose the Right,” the Friend will publish a monthly CTR story. “We are striving to raise a sin-resistant generation unto the Lord, promise by promise and covenant by covenant,” said Primary General President Sister Joy D. Jones. Each CTR story teaches about a principle from My Gospel Standards, and each is paired with a CTR challenge card. Kids can cut out the cards and complete challenges to apply protective and empowering gospel truths in their daily lives.

CTR challenge card


4.  Church history figures and scripture reading chart

“Reading the scriptures as a family is one way parents can raise their children in light and truth,” said Sister Jones. The January Friend will include a reading chart to help families read from the Doctrine and Covenants, which they will be studying in Primary and Sunday School. Families can mark their progress by filling in sections of the coloring page.

The Friend will also include monthly Church history figures that families and Primary teachers can use to tell Church history stories.

Church history reading chart

5.  Expanded preteen section

Preteen children are at a stage of important transitions—and they also face serious challenges such as profanity, pornography, drug use, technology, and mental health issues. To help older children strengthen their faith to meet these challenges, the Friend’s “For Older Kids” section has been redesigned and expanded from four pages to eight. Stories will cover gospel topics geared to older readers and also stories about children dealing with challenging situations.

Page from the Friend magazine's expanded pre-teen section

Plus: monthly “Friend Connection” page in the Ensign

To help parents and families even more, the Ensign will contain a monthly “Friend Connection” page. Parents will find help for using that month’s Friend to talk to children about challenging issues such as gender, pornography, family conflict, bullies, good language, and more.

Friend Connection page found in the Ensign magazine

Visit friend.ChurchofJesusChrist.org for past and current issues of the Friend.