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.

While general submissions are accepted year-round, we are also seeking submissions on the following topics at this time:

Over the Rainbow
Deadline: April 15, 2018

Spider (for ages 6-9) and Ladybug (for ages 3-6) are looking for LGBTQAI+ inclusive fiction, poetry, and non-fiction manuscripts. We would like to see warm family stories, an entire story without gender pronouns, children with different gender expressions, and gentle realistic or metaphorical coming out stories. We are especially interested in matter-of-fact stories where being different isn’t the heart of the story, but part of the character’s identity.

It’s Magic
Deadline: April 15, 2018

Ladybug (for ages 3-6) is looking for magical short stories, retellings of folk and fairy tales, rebus stories, action rhymes, riddles, and songs. Tell us about enchanted keys, magicians, and talking animals, or share strange-but-true stories that would seem magical to a young child. Stories should have childlike points of view and simple yet strong plots; they need to be short, too (under 800 words). When reading submissions, we look for playfulness, humor, and a sense of wonder.

Tell Me More
Deadline: May 15, 2018

Ladybug (for ages 3-6) seeks simple, compelling explorations of the young child’s world. Introduce our readers to a kid who lives in an unusual home, share a cultural tradition you know well, explore a new city with them, describe a cool invention, or tell them a story about an intriguing animal or ecosystem. We’re looking for writing attuned to a young child’s interests and capacity for joy and wonder. We accept narrative nonfiction (to 800 words), nonfiction (to 400 words) poetry (to 20 lines), and activities. Please include a source list.

My Friend
Deadline: June 15, 2018

Ladybug (for ages 3-6) and Babybug (for babies and toddlers) are looking for short stories, poetry, action rhymes, riddles, and songs about friendship. How do young children make friends, and what roles can friends play in their lives? Does a friend have to be another child? When reading submissions, we look for playfulness, humor, and a sense of wonder. Works by and about people of color, LGBTQAI+ people, people with disabilities, and other marginalized peoples are especially welcome.

Our Diverse World
Deadline: July 15, 2018

Spider (for ages 6-9) and Ladybug (for ages 3-6) are looking for fiction, non-fiction, activities, and poetry for the theme Our Diverse World. We want stories about real or imaginary people with interesting hobbies, jobs, traditions, or inventions. We would like to see Black, Latinx, First Nations, East Asian, South Asian, and Middle Eastern children from first, second, or third generation families. Tell us quirky, funny, heartfelt, and lesser-known stories where race, ethnicity, class, culture, and ability might intersect.


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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