MUSE® Submission Guidelines
MUSE® is a discovery magazine for children and teens. It takes intellectual curiosity seriously, while never taking itself too seriously. The editors seek fresh and entertaining articles from the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Timeliness and trustworthiness are essential, but humor, irreverence, and atypical angles are also hallmarks of MUSE.
Each edition of MUSE focuses on a central theme and open-ended organizing questions about the theme. Although articles will provide different angles and perspectives on a theme, we aim for every article in an issue to help a reader begin to form at least an initial answer to the organizing questions.
Ideal MUSE articles build on and extend the existing knowledge most young people in grades 4–8 have. We value articles that feature innovators, scientists, and engineers who can explain what they’ve done in a clear and understandable way. Articles that explore new developments related to the organizing questions are especially welcome.
We seek articles that describe how things and processes work, and we look for claims or assertions to be backed up with evidence.
Cricket Media, Inc. is committed to a diverse literary culture, and we welcome works by writers from underrepresented groups (people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQAI+ folks, and other marginalized peoples).
Interested writers should familiarize themselves with MUSE’s style and content, particularly in recent issues. (Sample copies are available for viewing at the Cricket Store where you can also purchase a current issue.) Issues are also available at many local libraries. Authors are expected to ensure accuracy in both conception and detail. MUSE purchases all rights to materials.
- Feature Articles (800–2,000 words, including sidebars)
- Profiles and Interviews, particularly of underrepresented STEM professionals (500–800 words)
- Activities and Experiments (500–800 words)
- Photo Essays (100–300 words)
- Science Fiction or Science-Focused Fiction (800–1,200 words)
Articles are commissioned. We invite detailed queries for articles related to upcoming themes (see below). Detailed queries include a cover letter, an outline of the proposed article, including scope and treatment, and proposed resources. Writers new to MUSE should also provide a résumé and writing sample. Authors wishing to write an article that belongs in MUSE but doesn’t fit posted themes may submit an abbreviated pitch that conveys the idea in a paragraph or two. No unsolicited manuscripts please.
See our submission guidelines for artists.
2022 Issue Themes
Questions and ideas: How do animals see in the dark? Why can jumping spiders see the moon and other spiders can’t? How to evolve an eye. Optical illusions; how the brain fills in the gaps to make the image look whole; how to trick the eye into seeing something that’s not there. Are all eyeballs round? Bionic eyes—can we make a computer that can “see” like a human? Can we engineer vision for blind people?
(Please avoid pitches about color vision, as our November/December issue is all about color)
Queries by: June 15, 2021
How do you find one particular whale in the whole wide ocean? What’s a day in the life of a whale like? Why do whales and dolphins jump out of the water? How far do whales travel in the ocean? Where do they migrate? How—and where—do whales sleep without drowning? Scientists studying whale snot/whale poop. Can humans communicate with whales or dolphins? Who’s in a pod? How whales evolved. Caring for whales who have been injured or beached.
Queries by: July 15, 2021
How pepper conquered the world; where spices come from; weird delicacies through history (ex: Roman cuisine, with parrot’s tongues, garum, etc.). The science of taste—how do scientists engineer flavor? Why does cooking change food and the way it tastes? How do chefs invent new dishes? Can you cook food without heat? Does how food looks influence how it tastes? Why are picky eaters so picky?
Queries by: August 16, 2021
April: LOST AND FOUND
What are the weirdest things in a lost and found office? Animals that were thought to be lost or extinct but surprised scientists; lost cities—finding Mayan cities in the jungle with radar, a comic legend for Atlantis; ships and planes that disappeared; people who disappear and suddenly reappear years later; searching for lost treasure; did pirates really bury their gold? Using forensics and technology on treasure hunts. Saxon hoards buried in fields; reconstructing things that have been lost with computer imagery. The first detectives. How to get found if you are lost in the woods.
Queries by: September 15, 2021
May/June: AMONG THE STARS
The life cycle of a star. New insights about stellar nurseries. Spectroscopy—and how we gather information about stars. Cutting-edge telescopes and their technologies. Recent and upcoming space missions to study our Sun. A movie or movies with the most accurate portrayals of astronomy or astrophysics. Mythology: How did different cultures explain what stars are? How does a star go supernova and what have we learned recently about black holes? Current research into the nature of dark matter.
Queries by: October 15, 2021
Why big animals get small and small animals get big on islands. The fabulous birds of paradise—why living on an island gave them incredible plumage. How delicate are island ecosystems?—explore Hawaii’s struggle with invasive species. How does an island form? The disappearing island—why some islands can simply vanish. Life on an island—would be great if we could talk to a kid who lives on a small island. How do island communities get supplies, weather storms, etc. How to make an artificial island.
Queries by: November 15, 2021
Modern-day extinction wave. How many animals on the planet are threatened? How about plants? Danger zones for animals: why certain habitats are disappearing faster than others. Helping threatened animals that aren’t cute and cuddly (why pandas get the big bucks and blobfish don’t). The ugliest animals that need the most help. How does the current extinction wave compare with extinctions of the past? A success story in conservation. Possibly story of conservation that didn’t work, as well. The technology of conservation: how do you replicate delicate ecosystems? Why is cloning NOT the answer?
Queries by: December 15, 2021
October: SKEPTICISM/SPOTTING FAKES
What is skepticism? Why is it an important part of science? Why do people believe what they believe? Why people believe propaganda and pseudoscience. How to be a skeptic. Houdini and his crew of medium-busting magicians. How stories spread through the internet. What makes a story believable? What makes us doubt that a nonfiction piece is actually true? Why do urban legends or interests in cryptids last throughout time? Possibly the story of an urban legend.
Queries by: January 15, 2022
November/December: SHOW ME HOW
How babies learn by mimicking older people. Zoos that use dogs to help teach young cheetahs. How animals teach tool use to their babies. STEAM professionals tell stories about mentors who made a difference in their lives/careers. History of how-to and self-help manuals (possibly some funny ancient ones). What have people need instructions on throughout history (farming, cooking, fishing, navigation, medicine, fashion)? People who write instructions for Ikea or some odd thing (IRS? nuclear missile launching?), what they have to include.
Queries by: February 15, 2022