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.
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)
Science panel cartoons (2–6 pages)
Story pitches should be submitted on the Submittable page you're currently on, or emailed to email@example.com. We do not accept hard-copy submissions or queries. Submittable accepts international submissions.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Authors are also encouraged to check the ASK author’s page for current edition status, needs, and updates from the editor.
We are looking for pitches for interesting, current, particular stories in the following topics, that will be particularly thrilling to kid readers who are curious about everything.
January 2024:Crazy Colors
Where do colors come from? Can we find more?
Possible story ideas: Interview with pigment scientist, cartoon colorist, or other color-involved profession; designing better LEDs; how color-changing lights work; inventing a new color; tour of paint or crayon factory; other fun color stories?
Queries by: Apr 30, 2023
February 2024: Wolf in the House
How did people become friends with dogs?
Possible story ideas: Domestication experiments; canid family tree; breed vs. species; making dog food; jobs for dogs; return of the wolves; what about the coyotes; how to speak dog
Queries by: May 15, 2023
Coming April 8 to a continent near you! What are eclipses, and how can you see one?
Possible story ideas: Interview with solar physicist; past eclipse stories; how did ancient civilizations predict eclipses?; puzzle of the solar corona; safe eclipse viewing; solar telescopes
Queries by: Jun 15, 2023
April 2024: Fancy Feet
How much joy can your feet give you?
Possible story ideas: Interview with a dancer of any style; interview with shoe engineer/designer; shoes for different jobs; anthropology of running; psychology/sociology of dance; animal dancing; other stories about dancing and feet?
Queries by: Jul 15, 2023
May/June 2024: Wild in the City
Can wild animals make a home in the big city?
Possible story ideas: profile of a species adapting in a city; parks as refuges; cities and bird migration; why do some species do better in cities; problem species; and let's not forget plants and invertebrates!
Queries by: Aug 15, 2023
July/August 2024: Two of Us
What's special about twins?
Possible story ideas: Biology of twinship; profile/interview of a famous or interesting set of twins; animal twins; twins and clones; dopplegangers; epigenetics
Queries by: Sept 15, 2023
September 2024: Secrets of Lunch
Is there amazing science inside your favorite treats?
Possible story ideas: Cooking for a crowd (restaurant/cafeteria); how something is made in a factory or farm (cereal, cheese, pretzels, etc.); lunch around the world; food advertising; food chemistry, other surprising stories about lunch?
Queries by: Nov 30, 2023
October 2024: Shipwrecked
Why do big ships sink? And what happens then?
Possible story ideas: Finding Endurance or other shipwreck that is not Titanic; science of undersea salvage or profile of salvage scientist; what historians learn from old cargo; shipworms; robot ships; how big ships get through small canals (or, don't)
Queries by: Jan 15, 2024
November/December 2024: Make It Yourself
What's better than a present you make yourself?
Possible story ideas: Quirky or interesting DIY inventors; how a 3D printer works, and what it can do; 3D printed, mail order, and flat-pack houses; projects 8 year old kids can make and give to friends and family.
Queries by: Feb 29, 2024
We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.