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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Six Tips to Help You Break Into the Children’s Magazine Markets With Your Non-Fiction For Kids!

by Suzanne Lieurance

Stories for Children magazine

It’s no secret that one of the best ways to break into the children’s magazine markets is with nonfiction. So follow these 6 tips to have the best chance of acceptance with your short articles for children:

1. Study the markets - Each children’s magazine is different, with a different style, voice, and variety of subject matter. Take time to study the markets you wish to submit to and you’ll know which ones are the most appropriate for the articles that you wish to write.

2. Study Past Issues - Besides studying current issues of each publication you wish to write for, look at several past issues of each publication. Make a list of the various nonfiction article titles in each issue to get a “feel” for the way various authors narrowed their focus for each topic they wrote about. One of the big mistakes most beginning children’s writers make with their nonfiction articles is that they don’t narrow the focus of the article enough. If you want to write about camels, for example, don’t propose an article that tells anything and everything about camels. Instead, focus on just ONE aspect about camels and develop your article around that.

3. Include subtopic headings when writing your article - These will break up your article into “chunks” which are easier for young readers to read. These subtopic headings will also “lead” the reader through your article. They will also make your article “look” more like nonfiction instead of fiction.

4. Give your topic an unusual slant that will appeal to kids and editors alike - When you do this, your article won’t sound so much like a textbook. And articles that sound too much like textbook material are NOT in big demand with magazine editors.

5. Consider topics that will relate to themed publications - Many children’s magazines have themes for each issue. And, even for publications that do not have themed issues, editors still look for topics that can be used for holiday issues as well as other seasonal issues. For example, most publications feature some sort of back-to-school articles in their August or September issues. In the summer months, these same publications tend to feature articles that give vacation tips or crafts ideas and games to keep kids occupied during the summer. So, be sure to include some of these types of article ideas in your queries.

6. Look for lesser known publications - Competition is fierce for Highlights, Spider, Cricket, and most of the very popular publications for children. You’ll automatically increase your chances for acceptance if you query publications that don’t receive so many queries.

Try these 6 tips and it shouldn’t take you long to start receiving acceptances from the children’s magazines that you query.

For more tips and articles about writing for children, visit the National Writing for Children Center and join the Children’s Writers’ Coaching Club. Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Balloon Buddies

Time: 1-1 ½ Hours
Grade Level: Pre-K & up

What you Need:

1-piece of construction paper or poster board.
Blunt end scissors
Magic markers
Scotch tape
Double-stick tape

What to Do:

1. Place the construction paper on the floor or a hard surface.

2. Stand on the construction paper with both heels together in a “V” shape.

3. Use the pencil to trace around both feet leaving a space between the feet. (grown-ups are great tracing helpers)

4. Color or outline the toe nails with markers.

5. Cut out the feet with scissors leaving them together at the heels.

6. Hole-punch or poke a hole in the space between the heels with a pencil.

7. Reinforce by placing a piece of tape around the front side and back of the hole.

8. Blow up the balloon and tie a knot in the neck of the balloon.

9. Gently pull the knot of the balloon through the hole.

10. Fasten the balloon to the feet with a piece of tape.

11. Draw with markers a face and hair or ears. Or for ears tape a half circle cut from left over paper to the sides of the balloon. Or for hair cut stripes in the paper and double stick tape the hair to the top of the balloon.

12.Use double stick tape to stabilize or hold the balloon onto the table.

Jewel Of A Book

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

By Amy M. O’Quinn

Have you tried this old classic recently? If not, you should! Because when you combine chocolate, oatmeal, and peanut butter all into one yummy confection—you have a winner! Plus, it’s an extremely easy recipe with ingredients that you probably already have in the pantry. And because the goodies don’t have to be baked, you’ll have a delicious treat in no time at all. Give it a try!


2 cups sugar
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 cups oats


In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except peanut butter and oats. Cook over medium heat. Let boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and oats. Spoon out quickly onto wax paper or aluminum foil. Cookies will harden as they set.

Visit Amy M. O'Quinn

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Homemade Play Putty

By Amy M. O’Quinn

Everyone loves playing with Silly Putty! But did you know you can make a ‘homemade’ version—in a single serving, no less? Experiment with different food colorings, and create play putty in a rainbow of colors! It’s easy and inexpensive.

Here’s how:

1. Into a glass bowl, add 2 T. white glue, 2 drops food coloring, and 2 T. liquid
starch on top.

2. Scrape the sides of the bowl to incorporate all of the glue.

3. Let the mixture stand for at least five minutes.

4. Knead the play putty until all the ingredients are blended well.

In about 24 hours, the putty will bounce and stretch! Store in a plastic zipper bag and HAVE FUN!

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What Makes a Hero - a Review

Reviewed by Christian (3-years-old) and his grandmother, Karen Cioffi

Title: What Makes a Hero
Written by: Irene Trimble
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: RH/Disney (June 24, 2003)
ISBN-10: 0736421599
ISBN-13: 978-0736421591

Grandma: Did you like the book?

Christian: I like it.

Grandma: Who are some of the characters the book?

Christian: Buzz Lightyear, Tarzan, Hercules.

Grandma: Were all those characters heroes?

Christian: Yes.

Grandma: What was your favorite part?

Christian: Hercules lifting the big rock.

Grandma: What other part did you really like?

Christian: Buzz shoots the asteroid with his lazar gun. It comes out of his glove.

Grandma: What makes a hero?

Christian: They help.

For more information about Karen Cioffi visit her at Karen Cioffi-Ventrice

Co-Author of Day's End Lullaby