Submission Guidelines for ASK magazine for children ages 6-9
ASK is a nonfiction magazine for children 6-9 years old who are curious about science and the world they live in. Each edition of ASK is built around a central theme on some question or concept in the natural, physical, or social sciences, technology, mathematics, history, or the arts. ASK introduces kids to the joys of thinking, writing, and observing scientifically, and presumes them to be active participants in the ongoing search for better knowledge about the world.
ASK articles should read as engaging nonfiction, not like school textbook or encyclopedia material. Intended to be accessible and appealing to newly independent readers (grades 2-5), the ideal ASK article should also be interesting to any general adult reader. ASK looks for articles that are concrete, specific, and relevant to this age group. They should tell a good story, with an emphasis on ideas rather than just facts. ASK encourages the use of humor as a teaching strategy, and believes that no topic is beyond the grasp of an intelligent young person if explained well in plain terms.
ASK encourages writers to stretch the boundaries of topic themes and come up with interesting perspectives and unexpected connections. For example, for an edition on size, good articles topics might include “Why do we stop growing?” or “How do clothing makers decide how many of each size pants to make?” But we would not be interested in a worlds-records style list of biggest and smallest insects, animals, etc., with no discussion of why they are that size.
Writing for ASK
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. 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. Feature articles are usually 1200-1600 words, with sidebars. ASK also occasionally commissions photo essays (400-600 words), humor pieces (200-400 words), short profiles of people, inventions, events, or the arts (200-400 words), and theme-appropriate experiments.
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.
Queries and questions should be directed to:
Editor, ASK Magazine
70 East Lake Street
Chicago, IL 60601
Or by e-mail to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=Submissions
Authors are also encouraged to check the ASK author’s page at http://askauthorpage.blogspot.com/ for current edition status, needs, and updates from the editor.
||Ticket To Mars
||It’s a whole new world on the red planet. Is it time for a visit?
||What Curiosity has discovered; Was there life on Mars? And how will they know?; Watery Mars?; What will it take to send human astronauts to Mars?; Robot rovers; Martians of the popular imagination.
||After the Dinosaurs
||What was the world like after the dinosaurs went extinct? Exploring the post-apocalyptic world of the Cenozoic, when our modern world began to emerge.
||The rise of mammals; Evolution of whales; continents on the move; Ice Age giants; the race to be top predator; The Last Dinosaurs; who survived the mass extinction and why; what would the world look like if the dinosaurs hadn’t gone extinct?
||It may not be polite to talk about them, but where would we be without toilets and underwear?
||History of toilets and bathrooms; History of underwear; Gates Foundation challenge to build efficient toilets for the developing world; famous sewers in history; Cloacina, goddess of the sewer; reinventing the toilet to make fuel, compost, generate electricity; urea and the textile industry (both toilets and underwear!)
||Living Together, Totally
||There’s friends, and then there are animals that actually can’t live without each other. What’s the secret of symbionts?
||The human microbiome and its surprising role in everything from digestion and health to mood and metabolism; Portuguese men-of-war; giant clams; photosynthetic slugs; corals; lichen; bioluminescence with bacteria; Symbiosis vs. mutualism||August 1
||In the Mountains
||Up where the air is bracing (if thin), the fauna are agile, and at a certain point, the trees just stop. Where did all these big rocks come from?
||Challenging climbs; Why do animals live in the mountains; Different kinds of mountains; Oldest/youngest mountains; Mountains under the sea; Mining metals; Mountaintop science .
||Who were the Vikings, and how did they manage to get all over the world in open boats? They must have had some pretty impressive technology…or was it the hats?
||Vikings in North America; Secrets of Viking navigation; The Perfect Ship; The Viking city of York; story of the Ulfberht swords, made with iron from Iran; myths and truths of the Vikings
||What happens when you drop things? Science! All thanks to gravity.
||What craters can tell us about what dropped there; dropping a magnet through a copper pipe; Dropping for fun—why do we like roller coasters and bungee jumps?; Newton and the Moon; Prince Rupert’s drops; not dropping things in space, how is life different where things (and water) don’t drop as expected?
||Fairy Tale Science
||We’ve all secretly wondered—if I kiss this frog, will it really turn into a prince? Fairy tales are full of improbable things, but what does science have to say?
||Could someone fall asleep for 100 years? (In an encephalitis epidemic?); Is hair strong enough to hold a prince?; Under what conditions could a carpet fly? How did mermaid stories get started? Could modern technology actually make a glass slipper strong enough to dance in, maybe out of gorilla glass?; Fairy-tale party poopers: the troublesome laws of conservation of mass & energy
||Chemist in My Kitchen
||Every night, a new chemistry experiment ends up on your plate. Just what’s going on when we make food?
||What happens when food cooks; The kitchen laboratory cupboard (acids, bases, fats, proteins, starches); A chemist looks at baking bread; science tips for better cooking; experiments you can do in the kitchen; where did your dinner come from, and what did they do to it?