Submission Guidelines for ASK magazine for children ages 7-10

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 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

Queries and questions should be submitted through our Submittable page. Pitches can also be directed to:

Editor, ASK Magazine
Carus Publishing
70 East Lake Street
Suite 800
Chicago, IL 60601

Or by e-mail to

Authors are also encouraged to check the ASK author’s page at for current edition status, needs, and updates from the editor.

2016 Issue Theme General Direction Possible Topics Queries By
January Finding Your Way

How do animals and people get where they want to go?

Magnetic sense in animals, how GPS works, self-driving cars, lost travelers

May 1, 2015

The Best Defense

Armor, wits, or trickery? What's the best defense?

Animal defenses, armor, castles, how to deal with bullies, nonviolence

June 1, 2015


Someone just like me? Really?

How twins happen, DNA, why identical twins differ, Mark and Scott Kelly and the astronaut twin study, doppelgangers, mistaken identity

July 1, 2015

In the Clouds

What are clouds and what’s it like to live in one?

Cloudspotting, cloud forests, microbes in clouds, where does the atmosphere end, clouds on other planets (or that are the planet)

August 1, 2015

Wild Medicine

How do wild animals stay healthy?

What animals do to treat themselves in the wild, regenerative powers, zoos, can we learn better medicine from themSept 1, 2015


Things that blow up, and why

Imploding a building, how explosives work, Alfred Nobel, bomb detecting, the Big Bang, problem of exploding sewers, how to make puffed rice

Oct 1, 2015


Why do we have brains? How do they work?

Mapping the brain, how thought happens, exercising your brains, distributed intelligence, learning to see by clicks, how the brain makes color?Dec 15, 2015

Shape Changers

The mysteries of metamorphosis

Metamorphic creatures, why amphibians change, what happens inside the cocoon, fossil confusion, plankton, embryology

Feb 1, 2016

Sweet Tooth

Sugar—why do we love it so? Will it kill us?

Sugar debate, sugar as a force in history, how plants use sugar to bend us to their will, chocolate, diabetes, sugar substitutes

Mar 15, 2016

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