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 is 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 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 Media 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 less. No unsolicited manuscripts please.
See our submission guidelines for artists.
2021 Issue Themes
January 2021: SUPERPOWERS
Organizing questions: Where do fictional superpowers intersect with real fields of science?
Possible topics: The magic and science of psychic abilities; Animals’ special senses and amazing abilities; Real inspirations behind fictional comic book characters; Superheroes and genetics; Mutations and startling or unique genetic variations; Technology that gives us “superpowers”
[Note: This topic has been held over from 2020; queries on file will still be considered, should they remain available.]
Queries by: June 15, 2020
February 2021: GOOD SPORTS
Organizing questions: How do inventors, athletes, and tech professionals work together to develop new sports or games—and improve existing ones?
Possible topics: Profiles of under-recognized sports-adjacent inventors, past and present; Gear and games that increase inclusion, especially for differently abled athletes; Competitive advantages such as improved footwear: OK or against the rules?; The future of e-sports; Interactive game design activities
Queries by: July 15, 2020
March 2021: ON THE HUNT FOR EXOPLANETS
Organizing questions: What are exoplanets, and how and why do we learn about them?
Possible topics: Habitable zone and implications for alien life, space colonization; Exoplanet discoveries, breakthroughs, and unanswered questions; Astronomer profiles; Deep dives into Kepler mission, telescopes; History of “human computers” in astronomy
Queries by: August 17, 2020
April 2021: HONEYBEES AND POLLINATORS
Organizing questions: How does pollination relate to the health of ecosystems, people, and the planet?
Possible topics: Wild and domesticated bees; The latest on colony collapse disorder; Beekeeping pros and cons; Process of pollination from plant to plate; Lesser known but essential pollinators; Effects of climate change on plants and pollinators; Ways to aid and protect pollinators
Queries by: September 15, 2020
May/June 2021: THE EARS HAVE IT
Organizing questions: Where does sound meet art, engineering, and science? How does hearing actually work?
Possible topics: Ear anatomy and function, Audiologists and hearing impairment; Music engineering, History of headphones; Acoustics in design and architecture; Auditory sensitivities; Animals with extraordinary hearing
Queries by: October 15, 2020
July/August 2021: MAKING PREDICTIONS
Organizing questions: How do scientists (especially meteorologists) make predictions, and what makes predictions more or less accurate?
Possible topics: Tools, tech, and analysis in meteorology; Daily weather forecasts vs weather emergencies; Tracking weather patterns over time; How often are meteorologists right?; Historical predictions; Climate and public health models; Coping with uncertainty
Queries by: December 1, 2020
September 2021: LAYERS OF MEANING
Organizing questions: Which places and things reveal overwritten histories, and what stories do they tell?
Possible topics: Specific places/cities as the layered text of history; Urban archaeology; Myths and languages that build on one another; medieval palimpsests; Artwork overlaid on earlier works or drafts, and how discovered/restored; 20th anniversary of Wikipedia
Queries by: January 15, 2021
October 2021: SCIENCE OF FEAR
Organizing questions: When is fear normal, and when is it problematic? Why do we feel scared?
Possible topics: Evolutionary role of fear; Physiology and psychology of fear; “Fun” kinds of fear, especially in entertainment and Halloween events; Developmental stages: what’s scary when; Do animals get scared?; Passing fears vs anxiety disorders, PTSD, phobias
Queries by: February 15, 2021
November/December 2021: COLORS AND ART THERAPY
Organizing questions: How can science help us see—and feel—colors in a new way?
Possible topics: Discovering the rainbow: Newton’s prisms; Ingredients of modern vs historical art materials; Combining colors; Illusions and vision tricks; How animals see color; Colorblindness; How colors affect emotions; Therapeutic artmaking; Color’s role in various cultures and rituals
Queries by: March 15, 2021