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:

We accept general submissions not pertaining to our calls for submissions at all times. 


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. 


Calls for Submissions: 

I Made It Myself

Deadline: November 1, 2019

Babybug (for babies and toddlers) seeks your short stories, poetry, nonfiction, and songs about young children’s creations, real and imagined. Finger paintings and clay animals, forts and fairy houses, unexpected inventions, new musical instruments—what will your characters dream up? When reading submissions, the editors look for playfulness, humor, beautiful language, and a childlike point of view.


Let’s Move

Deadline: November 1, 2019

Babybug (for babies and toddlers) is looking for finger plays and action rhymes: energetic poems for children to act out, connecting language with simple, playful movements. Your rhyme might invite children to act out parts of a daily routine (cooking, dressing, riding a bus, etc.), to imagine the life of a community helper, to embody an animal, a construction vehicle, the wind, the ocean—or something else entirely. Please be concise: Babybug poems have an eight-line maximum.


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.

 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, 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: 

I Made It Myself

Deadline: November 1, 2019

Ladybug (for ages 3–6) is looking for short stories, poetry, nonfiction, and songs about young children’s creations, real and imagined. Finger paintings and clay animals, forts and fairy houses, unexpected inventions, new musical instruments—what will your characters dream up? When reading submissions, the editors look for playfulness, humor, beautiful language, and a childlike point of view.


Let’s Move

Deadline: November 1, 2019 

Ladybug (for ages 3–6) is looking for finger plays and action rhymes: energetic poems for children to act out, connecting language with simple, playful movements. Your rhyme might invite children to act out parts of a daily routine (cooking, dressing, riding a bus, etc.), to imagine the life of a community helper, to embody an animal, a construction vehicle, the wind, the ocean—or something else entirely. Please be concise: Ladybug action rhymes are generally no longer than twelve lines.


Winter Stories

Deadline: November 1, 2019 

Ladybug (for ages 3–6) is looking for short stories, retellings of folk tales, rebus stories, and nonfiction for young children to enjoy during the winter season. Send us stories of children playing outside in the snow or celebrating winter holidays, or cozy tales that are just right at the end of a chilly day. Stories for and about children who live in warm places and may sometimes tire of snow-filled seasonal tales are welcome, too. Ladybug accepts fiction and narrative nonfiction up to 800 words and nonfiction up to 400 words.


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.

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).

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: 

Journeys 

Deadline: November 1, 2019

Spider (for ages 6 to 9) is looking for stories, poems, and short plays about going on a journey—whether a quest through an enchanted land, a move to a new home, or simply an afternoon spent traversing one’s own backyard. We’re looking for pieces with humorous or fantastical takes on the concept of journeys, as well as those that take a quieter, more thoughtful look at children’s feelings during times of movement and transition.


Ancient Civilizations

Deadline: November 1, 2019

Spider (for ages 6 to 9) is looking for stories, nonfiction, and activities about ancient civilizations. We want writing that takes us beyond crumbling ruins and shows our readers what it was like to visit a Maya temple, construct an Egyptian pyramid, or live at the height of artistic excellence in Greece. Show us the invention of aqueducts, letters, numbers, and more. We also welcome myths and legends, stories about archaeologists, and fun and quirky things you won’t find in history class. Please provide a list of sources with your submission.


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.

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 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: 

Animals, Animals

Deadline: November 1, 2019

Cricket (for ages 9-14) seeks middle-grade fiction, nonfiction, and poetry featuring an animal. We are looking for dog stories, horse stories, stories about caring for an injured animal, encounters with backyard or more exotic animals—whatever will appeal to our young readers. We particularly welcome contemporary fiction of 1500-1800 words with child characters in the age range of Cricket readers, but we are also interested in historical fiction, myths and legends, and fantasy—e.g., a story about a young medieval falconer, or a humorous fantasy with a troublesome dragon. (Tip: Writing styles differ, but it’s often better to begin middle-grade fiction with dialogue and a scene rather than general observations by an omniscient narrator.)


Yikes!

Deadline: November 1, 2019

Cricket (for ages 9-14) seeks middle-grade fiction, nonfiction, and poetry about mysterious goings-on, hair-raising adventures, and narrow escapes that make you scream “Yikes!” We are looking for stories about ghosts, haunted houses, creepy monsters, and daring escapades with friends. We also invite stories about more realistic dangers or situations calling upon a character’s determination and courage, or even stories where the danger is more social than physical—e.g., the risk of nearly losing a friend, a place on a team, or of being embarrassed at school. We welcome any genre: contemporary fiction, historical fiction, myth and legend, true adventure, science fiction (with main characters in the age range of Cricket readers), and fantasy. 


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.

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 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: Changing Cars

Is the age of the car over? Or just beginning?
Possible topics: New car technologies; cars of the future; how to go faster; green cars (hydrogen, electric, other ideas to reduce fossil fuel use); self-driving cars; car sharing; building better roads; alternatives to cars (electric bikes, scooters, jetpacks?)

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.

 

2020 Issue Themes

January 2020: MYSTERIES IN THE DEEP SEA

Organizing questions: What’s down there, and how do engineers and scientists collaborate to study the deepest parts of the ocean?

Possible topics: Tech and engineering behind exploration; Deep sea species; Bioluminescence; Underwater volcanoes and hydrothermal vents; Effects on climate.

Queries by: June 17, 2019


February 2020: FOOD: FROM THERE TO HERE

Organizing questions: How does food get from where it’s grown or made to where it’s eaten? What happens along the way?

Possible topics: Innovations in food storage; Successes, failures, and opportunities in food transportation; Urban and vertical farming; The eating local movement/CSAs; Reducing food waste; Solutions for food deserts and ways to serve populations in need.

Queries by: July 15, 2019


March 2020: END OF AN ERA 

Organizing questions: How do geologists think about Earth’s history? What do we know about Earth at the end of the Cretaceous?

Possible topics: How geological eras are defined; Portraits of the planet at the end of the Cretaceous; What animals and plants thrived, and why; What if the meteor hadn’t hit? 

Queries by: August 19, 2019


April 2020: FEET!

Organizing question: What’s the purpose and function of feet—for both humans and other species?

Possible topics: What’s the point of the pinky toe? What do shoes do? Earliest shoes/socks; Big toe evolution; Vestigial feet and missing feet; Feet and habitats; Species such as gecko, tapir, basilisk lizard.

Queries by: September 16, 2019


May/June 2020: THE FUTURE OF CARS

Organizing questions: How is the experience of driving changing? What do engineers need to think about when developing driverless vehicles?

Possible topics: Hybrid and electric vehicles; Inside the development of self-driving cars, including pros and cons and ethics; Car sharing; Ride hailing apps; Electric bicycles and scooters; Flying taxis; Drone deliveries.

Queries by: October 14, 2019


July/August 2020: QUEST FOR PERFECTION

Organizing question: What is perfection (especially in math, architecture, art)? Is perfection obtainable? 

Possible topics: How does the definition of perfection change among different cultures and over time? Psychology of perfection: when is the quest useful, and when harmful? Symmetry and scale; Perfect structures in nature; The golden ratio; Perfect numbers; What to do when you’re not perfect

Queries by: December 2, 2019


September 2020: THE SCIENCE OF READING

Organizing question: What’s going on in the brain during reading—and during the process of learning to read? How does reading affect readers and their community? 

Possible topics: How do people develop this skill, and why does it matter? What happens in the brains of readers? Learning disabilities and evidence-based teaching methods; Reading as social connection; Technology-assisted reading; Libraries over time; How are books made/visit to a book binder

Queries by: January 13, 2020


October 2020: SUPER POWERS 

Organizing question: Where do fictional super powers 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; Super heroes and genetics; Mutations and startling or unique genetic variations; Technology that gives us “super powers” 

Queries by: February 17, 2020


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

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