The day after war broke out in the Middle East, editors of the Weekly Reader began creating the publication's first extra edition since President Kennedy was assassinated.

Along with words, editors of the nation's largest classroom newspaper assembled maps, photographs and a timeline."If you look at TV (news reports) from the mind of a 7-year-old, it's total gibberish," Terry Borton, editor in chief, said Tuesday.

"He knows what is happening is big. He knows it's bad. He knows there are missiles in it," Borton said. "But it's very, very difficult for him to make any sense of it."

Weekly Reader's special issue is designed to both educate and reassure its young readers. Copies will reach classrooms Friday.

There are two editions: one for children in kindergarten through third grade, the other for students in grades four through six.

Maps help tell the story. One map shows the distance between the United States and Iraq. A computer-created map based on satellite photos shows how the desert dominates the Middle East.

"America has gone to war many times before," reads one section. "All the other wars ended. This war will end someday, too."