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.
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.
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.
1200–1600 words, with sidebars
Short Profiles of People, Inventions, Events, or the Arts
Commissioned articles should be submitted at Submittable, or emailed to email@example.com. We do not accept hard-copy submissions or queries. Register with Submittable and use the form for ASK. 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.
See our submission guidelines for artists.
2017 Issue Theme Chart
January 2017: Making Books
General Direction: Who invented books, and how do they get made?
Possible Topics: How books are made; history of books; how a writer thinks up stories; how literacy and books changed the world
Queries by: May 1, 2016
February 2017: Inventing on the Cheap
General Direction: Can simple inventions solve big problems?
Possible Topics: Case studies of specific cut-rate innovations and inventors (e.g. bottle lights, used sari water filters); Different approaches to a common problem (water filtering or light); inventions by kids; life hacks; how to set up your home inventor’s lab
Queries By: June 1, 2016
March 2017: Changing with the Climate
General Direction: How are species adapting to climate change?
Possible Topics: Profiles of specific species adapting to shifting climate and/or seasonal patterns (animals, plants, ocean-dwellers); sinking island; scientists studying this; winners and losers
Queries By: July 1, 2016
April 2017: Cats
General Direction: Are they just tigers in disguise?
Possible topics: Domestic history of cats; deciphering cat body language; cats and tigers; why did they adopt us?
Queries By: August 1, 2016
May/June 2017: Mystery of Glass
General Direction: What is glass?
Possible Topics: Glass-making; history of glass; why is glass transparent; modern high-tech glass; making fake gems; fiber optics
Queries By: September 1, 2016
July/August 2017: Bodacious Bikes
General Direction: Are bikes the most perfect machine?
Possible Topics: History of bikes; odd bikes; how to care for your bike; bikes in flight; seeing the world by bike; bike racing
Queries By: October 1, 2016
September 2017: Who’s the Boss?
General Direction: Who makes the rules? And why isn’t it you?
Possible Topics: Hierarchy in people and animals; wolves; how decisions get made; how to win arguments; kings and queens; the truth about queen bees
Queries By: December 15, 2016
October 2017: Making Monsters General direction: If monsters aren’t real, what are they?
General Direction: The mysteries of metamorphosis
Possible Topics: Monster stories around the world; real animals taken for monsters; why do we imagine monsters? how do scientists decide what’s true?
Queries By: February 1, 2017
November/December 2017: Space Travels
General Direction: Will we ever travel to distant stars? What will it take to get there?
Possible Topics: Building faster rockets; planning a Mars colony; Warp, wormholes, other far-out ideas; preparing humans for deep space travel, challenges and possible solutions
Queries By: March 15, 2017