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Ancient legend tells of a Persian farmer who set off to find a field of diamonds that would make him rich. The farmer searched the world in vain, grew despondent and died before he could return home. Eventually, acres of diamonds were found on his own farmland.

Borrowing from that legend, Temple University's School of Communications and Theater this fall introduced the Acres of Diamonds Award to identify the newest gems of the magazine business. The award will be presented annually to the most outstanding new magazine (five years or younger), as judged by a panel of editors, publishers and other magazine professionals. The first Acres of Diamonds Award was handed out on Oct. 26 in New York City. The winner: SPORTS ILLUSTRATED FOR KIDS, our monthly sister publication for boys and girls ages eight and up.

We were thrilled—but not surprised—to hear that there's a diamond in our backyard. In its four years of existence, SI FOR KIDS has hooked millions of kids on reading and earned acclaim from parents and educators. "We're now getting nearly 2,000 letters a month," says managing editor Craig Neff, who in October 1990 succeeded the magazine's first managing editor, John Papanek, now director of new media for Time Inc. "Kids send us drawings, poems, jokes and even free-lance manuscripts. They thank us for putting out a magazine that's just for them."

The fresh voice and funky look of SI FOR KIDS helped it earn Magazine Week's 1991 Magazine of the Year Award and 10 editorial-excellence awards from the Educational Press Association of America. Circulation has grown from 500,000 to nearly one million in the past four years, and total readership is now more than nine million.

In an effort to promote literacy, 250,000 copies of every issue of the magazine are donated for use in the classrooms of poverty-level schools with disadvantaged students. SI FOR KIDS also has published 53 books, produced five radio shows for a New York City educational station and put together two network television specials, one of which was nominated for an Emmy. Not bad for a four-year-old.

The Sports Illustrated 1993 Sports Almanac arrived at bookstores and newsstands last week. This edition of our annual review of sports is 784 pages, 96 pages more than last year's book, and packed with more essays, more pictures and more details. There are extensive statistics from 1992, including World Series stats, plus lists of past champions and record holders in almost every sport. It's just $9.95, and we think you'll find it an indispensable armchair companion.



Neff has a gem in the award-winning "SI For Kids."