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: Captivating Cityscapes
Deadline: December 15, 2017

SPIDER (for ages 6-9) and LADYBUG (for ages 3-6) are looking for fiction, non-fiction, poetry, activities, crafts, and recipes for the theme Cityscapes. Cities are unique places where millions of people live. Take us underground to ride the subways, into back alleys and apartments, and up in the world’s tallest skyscrapers. We want stories that travel by railroad and across pavement. We’d like to see quirky nonfiction about the world’s biggest cities in the world and fantastic fictional cities. Works by and about people of color, LGBTQAI+ people, and other marginalized peoples are especially welcome.

Call for Submissions: Let’s Pretend
Deadline: January 15, 2018

LADYBUG (for ages 3-6) is looking for short stories, rebus stories, poems, action rhymes, riddles, and songs about young children at play. Show us imaginative children finding new uses for mud, sticks, and sand, or discovering the possibilities of wands, capes, and toy trucks.  Our readers like simple yet strong plots, memorable characters, and humor. Most of our readers live in the US, and work that reflects our country’s diversity is especially welcome, as is work set in different countries. Stories may be up to 800 words and poetry may be up to 20 lines.


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.


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.



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.



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, crafts, and songs. Please see past issues for models and inspiration.



  • 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.



  • 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.



  • 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.

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