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, Dig into History, and Faces.  

Click here to see submission guidelines for artists.


Our Active Literary Calls for Submission:


To sign up for our calls for submission mailing list CLICK HERE.

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.

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. 


Call for Submissions: So Silly

Deadline: July 1, 2019

Babybug (for babies and toddlers) seeks your silliest stories, poems, action rhymes, and fingerplays. We welcome pieces about funny games and goofy situations as well as nonsense rhymes and wordplay that elicits little ones’ laughter. We’re looking for rhythmic writing that babies and toddlers will want to hear again and again. Please keep manuscripts short—poems can be up to eight lines and stories up to six sentences. 


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, CRICKET, and CICADA) 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.

 

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, 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.


Call for Submissions: All Aboard

Deadline: July 1, 2019

Ladybug (for ages 3–6) seeks short stories, retellings of folk and fairy tales, rebus stories, poems, action rhymes, nonfiction, and songs about travel. For a young child, a walk to the park, a trip by boat or airplane, or a game of make believe might all seem like voyages. We like playful stories with childlike points of view; they need to be short, too (under 800 words). Most of our readers live in the United States, and sensitive explorations of different cultures are welcome.


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, CRICKET, and CICADA) 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.


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).

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.


Call for Submissions: Hey, Neighbor!

Deadline: July 1, 2019

Spider (for ages 6 to 9) is looking for stories, nonfiction, poems, and short plays about neighbors and neighborhoods: urban or suburban, rural or fantastical. What unique relationships blossom between people (and animals) who live near one another? Who would be neighbors on a space station or in a magical kingdom? How can kids, real or fictional, make an impact in their neighborhoods? Inter-cultural and inter-generational relationships welcome. Humor always encouraged.


Call for Submissions: Arts and Music

Deadline: July 1, 2019

Spider (for ages 6 to 9) is looking for stories, nonfiction, poems, short plays, and activities for the theme Arts and Music. We want pieces that capture the magic, creativity, frustration, and many hours of practice that come with learning an instrument or new art skill. We’re looking for all kinds of stories about kids and their creative outlets, as well as true stories about unusual instruments, strange stories about familiar instruments, odes to artistic practice, and activities to inspire young artists. 


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 to 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, CRICKET, and CICADA) 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.

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 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.


Call for Submissions: Encountering Nature

Deadline: July 1, 2019 

Cricket (for ages 9-14) seeks fiction, nonfiction, and poetry on the theme of an encounter with nature. You might write about a record-setting blizzard or the joy of the first day of spring; conquering Everest or exploring a local cave; meeting a mountain lion while hiking, a squirrel in the backyard, an itsy-bitsy spider in the shower; or about a young nature lover who helps an injured animal or strives to preserve something of wild and natural beauty.


Call for Submissions: A New Beginning
Deadline: July 1, 2019 

Cricket (for ages 9-14) seeks fiction, nonfiction, and poetry on the theme of making a new beginning. Stories might focus on the immigrant experience; on a middle schooler facing up to responsibilities or changes in the family; the end of one friendship and the start of another; try-trying again after a setback; or taking on a new hobby, sport—even a whole new persona. 


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 no more than 6 poems at a time.

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, CRICKET, and CICADA) 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.


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 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

January:  The Secret Life of Pigeons
What do pigeons do all day? And why?
Possible topics: Pigeon intelligence, lab pigeons, art-critic pigeons, homing pigeons, city bird/country bird, pigeons at war, Darwin’s fancy pigeons, flocking, famous pigeons in history. And what’s with the head-bobbing?
Queries by: Apr 15 2019

February:  Feeding the Mayan Empire  
How did the ancient Mayans feed their cities?
Possible topics: Farming Mayan style; life without wheels; calendars for planting; taming plants; harvesting the rainforest; chocolate; numbers and writing; how much food does it take to build a pyramid/city; how we know what they ate; why did their empire fade?; ancient practices still in use; what can we learn from them?
Queries by: May 15 2019

March:  Little Mysteries in the Big Woods
What a lovely day for a walk in the woods. But wait, what’s that?!? 
Possible topics: Any odd thing you’ve ever wondered about in the woods. Why is that tree such a funny shape? Why do trees shed leaves, and where do all the old leaves go? Why do some trees have needles? How does sap flow up? What’s that bumpy lump? What lives at the top? Where do mushrooms come from? What makes spring happen? What if there were no trees?
Queries by: Jun 15 2019

April:  Before the Dinosaurs
Dinosaurs are fun. But what came before them? Creatures even weirder!
Possible topics: Pre-Cambrian creatures (but not all the way back); how dinos evolved; digging for very old fossils; trying out body plans; oceans alive; figuring out what odd fossils are
Queries by: Jul 15 2019

May/June:  Catching Comets
Why is space so full of rocks? And snowballs?
Possible topics: Asteroids, meteors, comets, what’s the difference; Oumuamua; missions to land on comets/asteroids, how and why; get to know the asteroid belt, Kuiper belt, Oort cloud; famous comets and what they taught us; meteor hunting
Queries by: Aug 15 2019

July/August:  I Scream for Ice Cream
What’s the science of everyone’s favorite treat?
Possible topics: Physics of ice-cream making; industrial ice-cream; what’s seaweed doing in there; flavors (how made, why those, regional tastes); how to keep things cold
Queries by: Sept 15 2019

September:  Goodbye, Germs
Why do people get sick? And how can we avoid it?
Possible topics: How your body fights germs; what is a vaccine; new technology to help doctors; good vs. bad bacteria; can you be too clean. 

Queries by: Nov 30 2019

October:  Alchemy  
What did the alchemists do, and how did they turn into chemists?
Possible topics: How can all these different creatures be made from just four elements?; alchemy in modern life; making new elements.
Queries by: Jan 15 2020

November/December:  Sneaky Art Tricks
Wait—is that a camera?
Possible topics: Camera Obscura, the painter’s friend; profile of a particularly tricky painter (Vermeer? Leonardo?); how to draw perspective; why Michelangelo’s David has a big head; how to make a billboard so it looks right from below; “side view” pictures; golden ratio; conservation tricks; trompe l’oeil; how to make gray paint look like metal; animation
Queries by: Feb 30 2020

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.

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.

 

2019 Issue Themes

January 2019: DEEP FREEZE

Organizing questions: What are scientists/engineers exploring in our planet’s coldest ecosystems? Who’s there and why? What changes are occurring—and what will happen next?

Possible topics: Life in the arctic and Antarctic; Scientists who study ice and glaciers and the technology and tools engineers have designed to help them; Effects of climate change in cold ecosystems; Bacteria and viruses trapped in glaciers; Frozen prehistoric life forms; Animal adaptations and human gear/structures for thriving in freezing temps; Astronomy at the South Pole

Queries by: June 15, 2018


February 2019: WHAT'S YOUR BRIGHT IDEA?

Organizing questions: Who can be an inventor? How does it work? 

Possible topics: How and why the process is inclusive; Inventing on a shoestring; Unsung or underrepresented inventors; Inventions around the world; Unique inventions by and for kids; Applying scientific principles to the inventing process (I know this . . . so maybe I can do that)

Queries by: July 13, 2018


March 2019: BODIES IN SPACE   

Organizing questions: What makes space travel safe and accessible to humans? What challenges and questions do scientists, engineers, and doctors face . . . and how are they exploring solutions?

Possible topics: Medical and biological research in space; Daily lives of astronauts and improvements from engineers; Weird changes to bodies in space—especially those we can learn from or act on; Studies of animals and other living creatures in space; Companies launching spacecraft and aiming for travel/tourism/colonization

Queries by: August 10, 2018


April 2019: ON THE MONEY

Organizing question: How are people using and managing money in new ways? 

Possible topics: Comparing cash, credit, and digital currency; Security in digital finance; How banks work and how money moves; Kids’ bank accounts and finance apps; Gaming and money, e.g. in-game purchases; Microfinance as philanthropic strategy; Mobile banking for under-banked communities in US and elsewhere; Designing secure physical currency; Is a cash-less society possible?

Queries by: September 14, 2018


May/June 2019: LET'S MAP IT

Organizing questions: What good is a map? Who makes them, and how? 

Possible topics: How maps and mapping have changed over time; Blind spots or problems with maps; Improvements in maps of Earth, airspace, outer space, the human body; GPS; How Global Information Systems help people; Navigation systems for self-driving cars; Geocaching 

Queries by: October 12, 2018


July/August 2019: FIRE ALERT

Organizing questions: How and why do wildfires burn? And what can we do about them?

Possible topics: Natural v. human caused and trends over time (such as increasing occurrences of drought); How to manage conflicts between human development and natural disasters; Warning systems and emergency responses; Detection and fire-fighting tech, including robot firefighters, drones, satellites; Effects on pets and wildlife; Unexpected consequences

Queries by: November 16, 2018


September 2019: SO...MUCH...STUFF

Organizing questions: What is the life cycle of everyday objects? How are we succeeding or failing at recycling, and what opportunities exist?

Possible topics: Things that are hard to recycle (synthetic clothes, electronics, batteries) and what to do about them; Scientific/engineering advances in recycling; Reuse and upcycling, Making things last longer (e.g. light bulbs); Innovations in packaging; How plastic has changed our lives and landscapes; Fresh insight into the Pacific garbage patch; Microplastics; Artwork made with and about trash

Queries by: January 4, 2019


October 2019: THE BIRDS

Organizing questions: Why do birds capture the attention of scientists and citizens alike? What do we learn from observing them closely? How do human actions affect birds?

Possible topics: The Big Year; Ways to get involved—everyday observation, citizen science projects, careers; Birds and conservation and/or impact of climate change; Birdsong; Migration; The why and how of building bird-safe structures and cities; What scientists can learn from birds in museums; Possible Halloween angles: Hitchcock’s famous film; Dark folklore about crows, ravens, vultures

Queries by: February 8, 2019


November/December 2019: MARVELOUS MAKERS

Organizing question: How are maker labs changing the world? How are 3D printers making serious inventing widely accessible? 

Possible topics: The design process, step by step; Maker labs in libraries and schools; 3D printers and other digital fabrication tech; Open Source, defined; Why keep “dying” arts like handwriting/weaving/knitting/letterpress alive; Programming Raspberry Pi etc.; Cool projects from young makers

Queries by: March 8, 2019

Cricket Media