Cricket Media 

Thank you for your interest in contributing to our family of award-winning children’s magazines! We seek to publish the finest quality writing and illustration for children of all ages. Our readers share an alert curiosity about the world around them and a delight in artistic expression. Our literary magazines welcome submissions from writers of every level of experience. To learn more about submitting writing and art to our literary magazines, follow the links below. 

Cricket Media is committed to a diverse literary culture, and we welcome works by and about underrepresented groups (people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQAI+ folks, and other marginalized peoples).

We do not accept general submissions from children under the age of 18. Children of all ages can submit stories, poetry, essays, and art to the magazine contests. 

Visit our homepage to learn how to query, submit to, or apply to write for our nonfiction magazines CLICK®, COBBLESTONE, and FACES.  

See our submission guidelines for artists.

We accept general submissions at all times. Please do not submit the same piece to multiple magazines. If a submission to one magazine is more appropriate for another, we will pass it on to that magazine's editor.

More special calls coming soon.

Sign up for our calls on our submission mailing list.

BABYBUG®, a look-and-listen magazine, presents simple poems, stories, nonfiction, and activities that reflect the natural playfulness and curiosity of babies and toddlers. When reviewing submissions, the editors look for manuscripts that please the ear and beg to be read again, as well as those that capture a baby’s ongoing discoveries in a few simple, concrete sentences.

BABYBUG magazine 


We are particularly interested in manuscripts that explore simple concepts, encourage very young children’s imaginative play, and provide opportunities for adult readers and babies to interact. We welcome work that reflects diverse family cultures and traditions. 


Calls for Submissions: 

General submissions are always open. 

New special calls are coming soon!


Guidelines

Before submitting, be sure to familiarize yourself with our magazines. (Sample copies are available for viewing at the Cricket Media Store, or you can order a current issue by calling 800-821-0115.) Issues are also available at many local libraries.

While BABYBUG does not distribute theme lists for upcoming issues, below you will find a list of some (but by no means all) topics of interest to the magazine’s editors and readers.

  • Babies’ and toddlers’ relationships with others (immediate and extended family members, caregivers, other babies and older children)
  • Relationships with animals (pets, wild creatures, imaginary animals, etc.)
  • Learning new things (rolling, crawling, standing, walking, dancing, feeding oneself, talking, joking, singing, holding/using crayons and other art materials)
  • Daily routines
  • Becoming independent and saying no
  • Imitating adults and helping with household chores
  • Young children’s observations of their surroundings (home and childcare settings, neighborhood and city life, the natural world, familiar places like libraries and stores)
  • Favorite games and toys
  • Wordplay and silly situations that babies and toddlers find funny

Poetry

Rhythmic and rhyming, poems may explore a baby’s day, or they may be more whimsical.

Length: Eight-line maximum.

Stories

Although they are simple and clear, successful BABYBUG stories often end with a gentle or humorous surprise.
Length: Six-sentence maximum.

First Concepts

BABYBUG often features a “first concept,” a playful take on a simple idea. Concepts may be expressed through poems, stories, very short nonfiction, or prompts for simple activities. Please see recent issues for examples.

 

Procedure

  • We only accept online submissions, and the Submittable page you're currently on is the only place we accept them. We do not accept hard-copy submissions or email submissions. Submittable accepts international submissions.
  • Please do not email submissions to editors or Customer Service.

Cricket Media’s literary magazines (BABYBUG®, LADYBUG®, SPIDER®, and CRICKET®) will consider all manuscripts that are sent on speculation. We do not accept queries. Please submit a complete manuscript. (Manuscript should be submitted as a .doc, .docx, .txt, or .rtf file.) Fiction and nonfiction manuscripts should include an exact word count; poetry manuscripts should include an exact line count. Include full contact information: phone, email, and mailing address.

 Please allow up to 3–6 months response time.

 Questions may be directed to our email at submissions@cricketmedia.com.


What Happens Next?

The Manuscript Review Process

  • After manuscripts are received, they are reviewed by first readers. First readers consider each submission’s literary potential and whether it might be a good fit for one of our magazines.
  • Promising submissions are then carefully reviewed by several editors, including the magazine’s editor.
  • The magazine editor makes a final decision on whether to reject or accept the manuscript. For manuscripts that show some promise but need further development, the editor may write the author to request revisions on speculation.

After Acceptance

  • If we accept your manuscript, we will send you an acceptance letter detailing payment and rights
    information and any revisions we would like you to make (which acceptance shall only be binding upon your signing a final agreement that embodies agreed-upon rights and terms).
  • Once we’ve received your revisions, we carefully line edit the manuscript. The manuscript is then returned for your review. We work closely with our writers to bring out the best in each story, essay, and poem.
  • Once the manuscript is edited, it will be kept on file until it is assigned to an issue. Because we work 6–8 months ahead of each issue, it can be a year or more before a manuscript is placed.


Rights

  • Stories and poems previously unpublished: Rights vary.
  • Stories and poems previously published: BABYBUG purchases second publication rights. Fees vary, but are generally less than fees for first publication rights.


Rates

  • Stories and articles: up to 25¢ per word
  • Poems: up to $3.00 per line; $25.00 minimum

 

Art Submissions

See our submission guidelines for artists.

LADYBUG magazine 

LADYBUG®, a literary magazine for young children, features original stories, poetry, nonfiction, and activities written by the world’s best children’s authors—both known and new. When reviewing submissions, the editors look for clear and beautiful language, a sense of joy and wonder, and a genuinely childlike point of view.

We have particular interests in stories that explore themes of identity (gender, race and ethnicity, neighborhoods, beliefs and traditions); citizenship and global cultures; scientific and technological exploration; and the creative spirit.


Calls for Submissions:

General submissions are always open. 

New special calls are coming soon! 


Guidelines

Before submitting, be sure to familiarize yourself with our magazines. (Sample copies are available for viewing at the Cricket Media Store, or you can order a current issue by calling 800-821-0115.) Issues are also available at many local libraries. LADYBUG does not distribute theme lists for upcoming issues.

Fiction

LADYBUG publishes finely crafted and imaginative contemporary stories, original retellings of folk and fairy tales, and funny pieces with human characters or anthropomorphic animals. City settings and stories that take place outside the United States are especially welcome, as well as subject matter that appeals to both boys and girls.

Length: Stories may be up to 800 words, but significantly shorter manuscripts are accepted, and are often appropriate for LADYBUG’s young readers. We are also interested in rebus stories up to 200 words.

Poetry

Poems are generally rhythmic/rhyming; the tone may be serious or humorous. While we accept poems about seasons and the natural world, at this time we are actively looking for poetry that explores young children’s daily lives and their emotions and imaginations. We are also interested in action rhymes (energetic poems that call for physical movement).

Length: Poems may be up to 20 lines in length; on rare occasions, longer narrative poems are accepted.

Nonfiction

The editors seek simple explorations of interesting places in a young child's world (such as the library and the post office), different cultures, nature, and science. These articles can be straight nonfiction, or they may include story elements, such as a fictional child narrator.

Length: Nonfiction may be up to 400 words; backup materials and photo references may be requested upon acceptance.

Activities and Games

LADYBUG publishes unusual and imaginative activities, riddles, games, and crafts. Please see past issues for models and inspiration.

Songs

We seek playful, engaging original songs. Songs should be lively and interesting, yet simple and short enough for a young child to sing or play on a keyboard with help from a caregiver with some musical background. Original songs (lyrics and a melody line that may include chords) can be uploaded as PDFs. Please see past issues for examples.

Procedure

  • We only accept online submissions, and the Submittable page you're currently on is the only place we accept them. We do not accept hard-copy submissions or email submissions. Please submit online via Submittable. Submittable accepts international submissions.
  • Please do not email submissions to editors or Customer Service.

Cricket Media’s literary magazines (BABYBUG®, LADYBUG®, SPIDER®, and CRICKET®) will consider all manuscripts that are sent on speculation. We do not accept queries. Please submit a complete manuscript. (Manuscript should be submitted as a .doc, .docx, .txt, or .rtf file.) Fiction and nonfiction manuscripts should include an exact word count; poetry manuscripts should include an exact line count. Include full contact information: phone, email, and mailing address.

Please allow up to 3–6 months response time.

Questions may be directed to our email at submissions@cricketmedia.com.

What Happens Next? 

The Manuscript Review Process

  • After manuscripts are received, they are reviewed by first readers. First readers consider each submission’s literary potential and whether it might be a good fit for one of our magazines.
  • Promising submissions are then carefully reviewed by several editors, including the magazine’s editor.
  • The magazine editor makes a final decision on whether to reject or accept the manuscript. For manuscripts that show some promise but need further development, the editor may write the author to request revisions on speculation.

After Acceptance 

  • If we accept your manuscript, we will send you an acceptance letter detailing payment and rights information and any revisions we would like you to make (which acceptance shall only be binding upon your signing a final agreement that embodies agreed-upon rights and terms).
  • Once we’ve received your revisions, we carefully line edit the manuscript. The manuscript is then returned for your review. We work closely with our writers to bring out the best in each story, essay, and poem.
  • Once the manuscript is edited, it will be kept on file until it is assigned to an issue. Because we work 6–8 months ahead of each issue, it can be a year or more before a manuscript is placed.

Rights

  • Stories and poems previously unpublished: Rights vary.
  • Stories and poems previously published: LADYBUG purchases second publication rights. Fees vary, but are generally less than fees for first publication rights.

Rates

  • Stories and articles: up to 25¢ per word
  • Poems: up to $3.00 per line; $25.00 minimum

Art Submissions 

See our submission guidelines for artists.

SPIDER®, a literary magazine for children, features fresh and engaging literature, poems, articles, and activities for newly independent readers. Editors seek energetic, beautifully crafted submissions with strong “kid appeal” (an elusive yet recognizable quality, often tied to high-interest elements such as humor, adventure, and suspense).

SPIDER magazine 

We have particular interests in stories that explore themes of identity (gender expression, ability, race and ethnicity, family structure including LGBTQAI+ and single parent homes, neighborhoods, beliefs, and traditions); global cultures and languages (current needs include South American, African, and Middle Eastern countries, island nations, and Native American nations); scientific and technological exploration and innovation; magical or interplanetary landscapes; cities and metropolitan areas; real kids doing real things; weird and sometimes gross stuff; and the creative spirit.


Calls for Submissions: 

General submissions are always open. 

New special calls are coming soon! 


Guidelines

Before submitting, be sure to familiarize yourself with our magazines. (Sample copies are available for viewing at the Cricket Media Store, or you can order a current issue by calling 800-821-0115.)  Issues are also available at many local libraries.

Fiction Stories and Plays

We seek fiction of all kinds: fantasy, folk or fairytale, sci-fi, historical, humorous, or realistic. Whether the setting is long-ago or contemporary, or the protagonist is a shy newcomer, clever trickster, class clown, fantasy creature, or superhero, characters and the worlds they inhabit should be complex and believable. Plays should have 2–6 characters so that a child could feasibly perform the play at home with family or friends.

Length: 300–1000 words

Poetry

Poems should be succinct, imaginative, and accessible; we tend to avoid long narrative poems.

Length: Up to 20 lines

Nonfiction Articles

For nonfiction, SPIDER readers enjoy well-researched articles about animals, kids their own age doing amazing things, women and people of color, and cool scientific discoveries (such as wetsuits for penguins and real-life invisibility cloaks). Nonfiction articles should rise above a simple list of facts; we look for kid-friendly nonfiction shaped into an engaging narrative.

Length: 300–800 words

Crafts and Activities

We also appreciate clever crafts, recipes, games, and puzzles; however, please submit only activities that a reader would be able to perform with minimal parental assistance.

Length: 1–2 pages

Procedure

  • We only accept online submissions, and the Submittable page you're currently on is the only place we accept them. We do not accept hard-copy submissions or email submissions. Submittable accepts international submissions.
  • Please do not email submissions to editors or Customer Service.

Cricket Media’s literary magazines (BABYBUG®, LADYBUG®, SPIDER®, and CRICKET®) will consider all manuscripts that are sent on speculation. We do not accept queries. Please submit a complete manuscript. (Manuscript should be submitted as a .doc, .docx, .txt, or .rtf file.) Fiction and nonfiction manuscripts should include an exact word count; poetry manuscripts should include an exact line count. Include full contact information: phone, email, and mailing address. 

Please allow up to 3–6 months response time.

Questions may be directed to our email at submissions@cricketmedia.com. 

What Happens Next?

The Manuscript Review Process

  • After manuscripts are received, they are reviewed by first readers. First readers consider each submission’s literary potential and whether it might be a good fit for one of our magazines.
  • Promising submissions are then carefully reviewed by several editors, including the magazine’s editor.
  • The magazine editor makes a final decision on whether to reject or accept the manuscript. For manuscripts that show some promise but need further development, the editor may write the author to request revisions on speculation.

After Acceptance

  • If we accept your manuscript, we will send you an acceptance letter detailing payment and rights information and any revisions we would like you to make (which acceptance shall only be binding upon your signing a final agreement that embodies agreed-upon rights and terms).
  • Once we’ve received your revisions, we carefully line edit the manuscript. The manuscript is then returned for your review. We work closely with our writers to bring out the best in each story, essay, and poem.
  • Once the manuscript is edited, it will be kept on file until it is assigned to an issue. Because we work 6–8 months ahead of each issue, it can be a year or more before a manuscript is placed.

Rights

  • Stories and poems previously unpublished: Rights vary.
  • Stories and poems previously published: SPIDER purchases second publication rights. Fees vary, but are generally less than fees for first publication rights.

Rates

  • Stories and articles: up to 25¢ per word
  • Poems: up to $3.00 per line; $25.00 minimum
  • Activities, games, and recipes: $75.00 flat rate

Art Submissions

See our submission guidelines for artists.

CRICKET® magazine seeks to publish the highest quality fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction to engage our audience of enthusiastic young readers. Editors consider unsolicited submissions from writers of every level of experience. Since its founding in 1973, CRICKET has published some of the most respected writers of children’s literature. It is also a wonderful opportunity for promising new writers to showcase their best work.

CRICKET magazine 

CRICKET does not distribute theme lists for upcoming issues. However, we have particular interests in stories that explore themes of identity (gender, race and ethnicity, neighborhoods, beliefs and traditions); citizenship and global cultures; scientific and technological exploration; and the creative spirit.


Calls for Submissions: 


General submissions are always open. 

New special calls are coming soon! 


Guidelines

Before submitting, be sure to familiarize yourself with our magazines. (Sample copies are available for viewing at the Cricket Media Store, or you can order a current issue by calling 800-821-0115.) Issues are also available at many local libraries.

Fiction

CRICKET is interested in realistic contemporary fiction, historical fiction, science fiction and fantasy, folk tales, myths and legends, and humor. No matter what genre, the author should first and foremost tell a good story that is well plotted, character-driven, and has a satisfying conclusion.

Folk tales, myths, and legends, especially lesser known ones from non-Western cultures, are always welcome in CRICKET. Retold tales need to be re-imagined with the same liveliness and detail of character as original stories. Please include a bibliography of sources for retold tales.

Sci-fi and fantasy manuscripts, besides being clever and imaginative, should tell a solid story with well-drawn characters. Stories featuring adventurous main characters in the age-range of CRICKET readers are most likely to succeed. CRICKET is enthusiastic about sci-fi and fantasy with a human touch, but is not a venue for excessively dystopian or warlike fantasy stories.

Historical fiction, a mainstay of CRICKET, should recreate a world accurately but with a primary focus on an energetic plot and robust characters. While modern kids no longer attend one-room schoolhouses, plow fields, or resist Roman invasions, your story should transport them across the historical divide to identify with timeless challenges of growing up and taking on responsibilities.

Contemporary realistic fiction may be light-hearted or serious. Stories typically feature lively and sympathetic main characters within the age range of our subscribers. Protagonists tend to be curious and sincere, functioning mainly within a kid’s world as they struggle to find a path through the sometimes-hilarious challenges of everyday life.

Keep in mind that CRICKET is aimed at middle-grade readers, a somewhat more protected stage than young adult. Innocent romance is welcome, but not sexual situations. Families in CRICKET can reflect the realities of contemporary life (e.g., latchkey kids, divorced parents) but not seriously disturbing situations or abuse.

CRICKET readers want to read about characters who are actively meeting their own challenges—not passively relying on the intervention of adults to solve problems of friends, family, and school. Even if not fully successful, characters in CRICKET at least progress in coming to terms with themselves and life.

Tips: A story should be a fully realized sequence of scenes and action – not just a sketch or vignette or image—with tension and dynamism between characters. Most CRICKET stories present a balance of dialogue and description. Dialogue should be natural and interesting, and avoid speechifying. Stories should “show, not tell”—that is, present scenes and reveal character through dialogue and action, not summary narration.

Stories giving our mostly American audience insight into diverse cultures are especially welcome.

Length: Most CRICKET stories are 1200–1800 words in length; however, we occasionally serialize compelling longer stories of up to 6,000 words. Submissions above this length will not be read. Authors of longer works are encouraged to submit excerpts, provided that these excerpts are under 6,000 words. We also need shorter pieces of 600–900 words.

Nonfiction

CRICKET publishes thought-provoking nonfiction articles on a wide range of subjects: history, biography, true adventure, science and technology, sports, inventors and explorers, architecture and engineering, archaeology, dance, music, theater, and art. Articles should be carefully researched and include a solid bibliography that shows that research has gone beyond reviewing websites.

Tips: Unlike a textbook or encyclopedia, CRICKET articles humanize history and discovery by telling a story clarifying how inventors and pioneers solved their problems and overcame difficulties. Including childhood anecdotes often helps our readers identify with people of great accomplishment.

Length: 1200–1800 words 

Poetry

CRICKET publishes both serious and humorous poetry. Poems should be well-crafted, with precise and vivid language and images. Poems can explore a variety of themes, from nature, to family and friendships, to whatever you can imagine that will delight our readers and invite their wonder and emotional response.

Tips: Keep in mind that CRICKET is for pre-teen and early teens, young but thoughtful, curious readers. Poetry should feel contemporary, never singsong or moralizing.

Length: Most CRICKET poems are 8–15 lines, but can be as short as 3 lines or up to 35 lines. Please submit each poem individually. Do not combine them.

Puzzles, Crafts, Activities

CRICKET readers enjoy logic and math puzzles, crafts, recipes, science experiments, as well as games and activities from different historical times and cultures.

Procedure

  • We only accept online submissions, and the Submittable page you're currently on is the only place we accept them. We do not accept hard-copy submissions or email submissions. Submittable accepts international submissions.
  • Please do not email submissions to editors or Customer Service.

Cricket Media's literary magazines (BABYBUG®, LADYBUG®, SPIDER®, and CRICKET®) will consider all manuscripts that are sent on speculation. We do not accept queries. Please submit a complete manuscript. (Manuscript should be submitted as a .doc, .docx, .txt, or .rtf file.) Fiction and nonfiction manuscripts should include an exact word count; poetry manuscripts should include an exact line count. Include full contact information: phone, email, and mailing address.

Please allow up to 3–6 months response time.

Questions may be directed to our email at submissions@cricketmedia.com.

What Happens Next?

The Manuscript Review Process

  • After manuscripts are received, they are reviewed by first readers. First readers consider each submission’s literary potential and whether it might be a good fit for one of our magazines.
  • Promising submissions are then carefully reviewed by several editors, including the magazine’s editor.
  • The magazine editor makes a final decision on whether to reject or accept the manuscript. For manuscripts that show some promise but need further development, the editor may write the author to request revisions on speculation.

After Acceptance

  • If we accept your manuscript, we will send you an acceptance letter detailing payment and rights information and any revisions we would like you to make (which acceptance shall only be binding upon your signing a final agreement that embodies agreed-upon rights and terms).
  • Once we’ve received your revisions, we carefully line edit the manuscript. The manuscript is then returned for your review. We work closely with our writers to bring out the best in each story, essay, and poem.
  • Once the manuscript is edited, it will be kept on file until it is assigned to an issue. Because we work 6–8 months ahead of each issue, it can be a year or more before a manuscript is placed.

Rights

  • Stories and poems previously unpublished: Rights vary.
  • Stories and poems previously published: CRICKET purchases second publication rights. Fees vary, but are generally less than fees for first publication rights.

 

Rates

  • Stories and articles: up to 25¢ per word
  • Poems: up to $3.00 per line; $25.00 minimum
  • Activities and recipes: $75.00 flat rate

Art Submissions

See our submission guidelines for artists.

ASK® is a nonfiction magazine for children 7–10 years old who are curious about science and the world they live in. Each edition of ASK is built around a central theme or question. 

ASK magazine 

ASK introduces kids to the joys of thinking and questioning scientifically, and presumes them to be active members of the international community of knowledge-seekers. The ideal ASK article is an engaging nonfiction story (or cartoon) that is concrete, specific, and appealing to newly independent readers (grades 3–5), but that an adult reader might also find interesting. Above all, it should tell a good story, with an emphasis on ideas and problem-solving rather than just facts. ASK encourages humor, and believes that no topic is beyond the grasp of an intelligent young person if explained well in lively terms.

ASK encourages writers to stretch the boundaries of topic themes and look for interesting perspectives and unexpected connections. We also love science cartoons.

We particularly welcome writers from traditionally underrepresented communities and diverse life experiences.

Guidelines

All articles in ASK are commissioned; ASK welcomes queries for articles for upcoming themes (see table below). Queries should give an overview of the proposed article, including scope and treatment, resources, and a draft opening paragraph. For cartoons, please provide a rough script, sketches for the first few panels, and one finished or a link to your finished work. Writers new to ASK should also provide a resume and two writing samples, including at least 200 words of unedited copy on any nonfiction topic.

Authors are expected to ensure that all content is scientifically correct in both conception and detail, and drafts should include a full list of references and sources consulted. Authors wishing to write for ASK should consult any past copy to get a sense of the tone, style, and range of articles. (Sample copies are available for viewing at the Cricket Media Store, where you can also purchase a current issue.) Issues are also available at many local libraries.

  • Feature Articles (400–1200 words, with sidebars)
  • Photo Essays (400–800 words)
  • Humor Pieces (200–400 words)
  • Profiles/Interviews of Scientists, Inventors, Engineers, Artists (200–1000 words)
  • Theme-appropriate experiments
  • Science panel cartoons (2–6 pages)

Procedure

Story pitches should be submitted on the Submittable page you're currently on, or emailed to ask@cricketmedia.com. We do not accept hard-copy submissions or queries. Submittable accepts international submissions.

Rights

  • Articles previously unpublished: Rights vary, with option for authors to retain copyright.
  • Articles previously published: ASK purchases second publication rights.

Queries and Questions

Queries and questions should be submitted through our Submittable page. Pitches can also be directed to ask@cricketmedia.com. Authors are also encouraged to check the ASK author’s page for current edition status, needs, and updates from the editor.

Art Submissions

See our submission guidelines for artists


2020 Issue Themes

February 2021: MAKING BETTER GAMES  
Why do we love games, and what makes a good one? 

Possible  stories: How to make sports more fair; profile of an athlete using VR to  train; instant replay or other tech innovations that are changing how  games are played and refereed; Olympics then and now; That’s  cheating!--inventions to get an edge that prompted changes in the rules  (cork bats, big tennis rackets, etc); what makes a good rule; inventing a  new sport; innovations to make sports more accessible  

Pitches by: May 20 2020


March 2021: POLE TO POLE
What is life like at the top and bottom of the earth?   

Possible  stories: Similarities and differences between North and South Poles  (geology, animals, climate); living in the dark;  South Pole Telescope;  First to reach the North/South Poles, why was the North first?; how to  survive in arctic conditions; pole-to-pole migration of arctic terns or  other species; magnetic vs. geographic poles; the quest for the  Northwest Passage; how what happens at the poles gives us our weather 

Pitches by: June 15 2020


April 2021: SMALL BUT MIGHTY
Each one is tiny—but together, what can they do? 


Possible stories:  How to split an atom; diatoms and plankton in the ocean food web; ants,  bees; mouse models for human medicine; microbiome; nanoengineering,  swarms of tiny robots to do big jobs.   

Pitches by: July 15 2020


May/June 2021: BUILDING ROME
What did the ancient Romans know? 

Possible stories: 1001 uses  for cement; water engineering; city life (apartment buildings, take-out  food, street life, etc.); day in the life of a soldier-engineer; how to  put up a town in a week; building the Colosseum; excavating layers under  modern Rome built up over the centuries; Roman ruins under other modern  cities; making swords; shopping in Rome (trade networks). 

Pitches by: August 15 2020


July/August 2021: SHELL, SWEET SHELL
What’s it like inside a shell?


Possible stories: Why is the ocean  full of shelled animals? Why do birds lay eggs that are hard to get out  of? How (and why) did cephalopods lose their shells? different kinds of  shells and who grows them; how to grow a shell; humans using shells;  hermit crab house swapping   

Pitches by: September 30 2020


September 2021: PLANTS IN LOVE
If they’re stuck in the dirt, how do plants get together? 

Possible stories: A pollinator for every plant; the first flowers; the oddness of apples; Darwin’s 

moth;  Sneaky plant tricks, how plants get animals to spread their seeds; Boy,  girl, or clone? How to tell if a tree is male or female, or both, or  neither; genetic engineering for better plants; plants that need humans  (how does the corn grow?) 

Pitches by: November 15 2020


October 2021: MAKING MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
What shapes your sound? 

Possible stories: Profile of how an  instrument maker makes an instrument (any kind); Evolution of the shape  of (trumpet, violin?); secrets of a Stradivarius; variations on a theme  across the world (blowing into a tube or plucking strings); not for me  (why do some people find bagpipes or organ music a delight or torment?);  unusual orchestras (vegetables, trash, one-man bands) 

Pitches by: January 15 2021 


November/December 2021: COLLECTING COLLECTIONS
Why do we love to collect things? And who has the best? 

Possible  stories: Museum collections: Why do you need 30,000 beetles?; Darwin’s  collections; stories of particular odd or interesting collections (e.g.,  collection of old cars rented out to films that need a vintage car);  collector who went to extremes to complete a collection?; things not on  display in museums; online museums; how many ways to organize your  collection? 

Pitches by: February 15 2021

MUSE® is a discovery magazine for children and teens. It takes intellectual curiosity seriously, while never taking itself too seriously. The editors seek fresh and entertaining articles from the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Timeliness and trustworthiness is essential, but humor, irreverence, and atypical angles are also hallmarks of MUSE.

MUSE magazine 

Each edition of MUSE focuses on a central theme and open-ended organizing questions about the theme. Although articles will provide different angles and perspectives on a theme, we aim for every article in an issue to help a reader begin to form at least an initial answer to the organizing questions.

Ideal MUSE articles build on and extend the existing knowledge most young people in grades 4–8 have. We value articles that feature innovators, scientists, and engineers who can explain what they’ve done in a clear and understandable way. Articles that explore new developments related to the organizing questions are especially welcome.

We seek articles that describe how things and processes work, and we look for claims or assertions to be backed up with evidence.  

 

Guidelines

Interested writers should familiarize themselves with MUSE’s style and content, particularly in recent issues. (Sample copies are available for viewing at the Cricket Media Store where you can also purchase a current issue.) Issues are also available at many local libraries. Authors are expected to ensure accuracy in both conception and detail. MUSE purchases all rights to materials. 

  • Feature Articles (800–2,000 words, including sidebars)
  • Profiles and Interviews, particularly of underrepresented STEM professionals (500–800 words)
  • Activities and Experiments (500–800 words)
  • Photo Essays (100–300 words)
  • Science Fiction or Science-Focused Fiction (800–1,200 words )
  • Infographics 

 

Procedure

Articles are commissioned. We invite detailed queries for articles related to upcoming themes (see below). Detailed queries include a cover letter, an outline of the proposed article, including scope and treatment, and proposed resources. Writers new to MUSE should also provide a resume and writing sample. Authors wishing to write an article that belongs in MUSE but doesn’t fit posted themes may submit an abbreviated pitch that conveys the idea in a paragraph or less. No unsolicited manuscripts please.

Pitch here on this Submittable page (the editors’ preference) or via email to muse@cricketmedia.com. If emailing, include the word “QUERY” and the issue’s month/theme in the subject line.

 

Art Submissions

See our submission guidelines for artists.

 

2021 Issue Themes

November/December 2020: KIDS IN CHARGE

Organizing question: What happens when kids raise their voices and take leadership roles in STEAM organizations? 

Possible topics: Citizen science projects led by kids; High-stakes student elections; Young activists; Advisory boards composed of tweens and teens; Unschooling and free-range kids; Scouts, 4-H, and other youth leadership development orgs

Queries by: March 16, 2020


January 2021: SUPERPOWERS

Organizing question: Where do fictional superpowers intersect with real fields of science? 

Possible  topics: The magic and science of psychic abilities; Animals’ special  senses and amazing abilities; Real inspirations behind fictional comic  book characters; Superheroes and genetics; Mutations and startling or  unique genetic variations; Technology that gives us “superpowers”  

[Note: This topic has been held over from 2020; queries on file will still be considered, should they remain available.] 

Queries by: June 15, 2020 


February 2021: GOOD SPORTS

Organizing question: How do inventors, athletes, and tech  professionals work together to develop new sports or games—and improve  existing ones? 

Possible topics: Profiles of under-recognized  sports-adjacent inventors, past and present; Gear and games that  increase inclusion, especially for differently abled athletes;  Competitive advantages such as improved footwear: OK or against the  rules?; The future of e-sports; Interactive game design activities 

Queries by: July 15, 2020


March 2021: ON THE HUNT FOR EXOPLANETS

Organizing questions: What are exoplanets, and how and why do we learn about them? 

Possible  topics: Habitable zone and implications for alien life, space  colonization; Exoplanet discoveries, breakthroughs, and unanswered  questions; Astronomer profiles; Deep dives into Kepler mission,  telescopes; History of “human computers” in astronomy 

Queries by: August 17, 2020 


April 2021: HONEYBEES AND POLLINATORS

Organizing questions: How does pollination relate to the health of ecosystems, people, and the planet? 

Possible  topics: Wild and domesticated bees; The latest on colony collapse  disorder; Beekeeping pros and cons; Process of pollination from plant to  plate; Lesser known but essential pollinators; Effects of climate  change on plants and pollinators; Ways to aid and protect pollinators 

Queries by: September 15, 2020


May/June 2021: THE EARS HAVE IT

Organizing questions: Where does sound meet art, engineering, and science? How does hearing actually work? 

Possible  topics: Ear anatomy and function, Audiologists and hearing impairment;  Music engineering, History of headphones; Acoustics in design and  architecture; Auditory sensitivities; Animals with extraordinary hearing  

Queries by: October 15, 2020 


July/August 2021: MAKING PREDICTIONS

Organizing questions: How do scientists (especially meteorologists)  make predictions, and what makes predictions more or less accurate? 

Possible  topics: Tools, tech, and analysis in meteorology; Daily weather  forecasts vs weather emergencies; Tracking weather patterns over time;  How often are meteorologists right?; Historical predictions; Climate and  public health models; Coping with uncertainty 

Queries by: December 1, 2020


September 2021: LAYERS OF MEANING

Organizing questions: Which places and things reveal overwritten histories, and what stories do they tell? 

Possible  topics: Specific places/cities as the layered text of history; Urban  archaeology; Myths and languages that build on one another; medieval  palimpsests; Artwork overlaid on earlier works or drafts, and how  discovered/restored; 20th anniversary of Wikipedia 

Queries by: January 15, 2021


October 2021: SCIENCE OF FEAR

Organizing questions: When is fear normal, and when is it problematic? Why do we feel scared? 

Possible  topics: Evolutionary role of fear; Physiology and psychology of fear;  “Fun” kinds of fear, especially in entertainment and Halloween events;  Developmental stages: what’s scary when; Do animals get scared?; Passing  fears vs anxiety disorders, PTSD, phobias 

Queries by: February 15, 2021


November/December 2021: COLORS AND ART THERAPY

Organizing question: How can science help us see—and feel—colors in a new way? 

Possible  topics: Discovering the rainbow: Newton’s prisms; Ingredients of modern  vs historical art materials; Combining colors; Illusions and vision  tricks; How animals see color; Colorblindness; How colors affect  emotions; Therapeutic artmaking; Color’s role in various cultures and  rituals;  

Queries by: March 15, 2021