Write For Us

Thanks to all the wonderful writers who entered the 2017 Pockets Fiction-Writing Contest! The winner of this year’s contest is… Karen Troncale of Tombstone, AZ. Her story “The Purple Tag” will appear in the September 2018 issue of Pockets on the theme of Courage. In addition to the winning story, 11 other manuscripts are being held for further consideration. Those authors should receive notification by December 1. Contest entries that were accompanied by SASE’s will be returned. We are not able to return manuscripts that were not accompanied by SASE’s.

 

We will begin receiving entries for the 2018 contest on March 15, 2018. The rules and final deadline (August 15) will be the same as for our previous contests.

What is Pockets?

Designed for 6- to 12-year-olds, Pockets magazine teaches about God’s love and presence in life. The content includes fiction, scripture stories, puzzles and games, poems, recipes, colorful art, activities, and scripture readings. Freelance submissions of stories, poems, recipes, puzzles and games, and activities are welcome. The magazine is published monthly (except in February).

The purpose of Pockets is to help children grow in their relationship with God and live as Christian disciples. It is designed to help children pray and to see their faith as an integral part of their everyday lives. The magazine emphasizes that God loves us and that God’s grace calls us into community. It is through the community of God’s people that we experience that love in our daily lives.

What should I write about?

Each issue is built around a specific theme with material that can be used by children in a variety of ways. Submissions should support the purpose of the magazine to help children grow in their faith, though all submissions do not need to be overtly religious. They should help children experience a Christian lifestyle that is not always a neatly wrapped moral package but is open to the continuing revelation of God’s will. Seasonal material, both secular and liturgical, is appropriate. Most of the magazine’s content is written by adults, but we also welcome submissions from children.

Pockets is inter-denominational, and our readers include children of many cultures and ethnic backgrounds. These differences should be reflected in the references that are made to lifestyles, living environments (suburban, urban, rural, reservation), families (extended families, single-parent families, and blended families as well as more “traditional” families), and individual names. Stories should show appreciation of cultural differences.

What ages are Pockets readers?

The magazine is for children ages six through twelve, with a target reading age of eight through twelve. Though some children may share it with their families and some churches use it with groups of children, Pockets is designed primarily for children’s personal use.

What type of material should I write?

Fiction and scripture stories should be 600 to 1000 words. Our primary interest is in stories that can help children deal with real-life situations. We do not accept stories about talking animals or inanimate objects. Fictional characters and some elaboration may be included in scripture stories, but the writer must remain faithful to the story.

Stories should contain action, use believable dialogue and characters, be simply written, and be relevant to the problems faced by this age group in everyday life. Children need to be able to see themselves in the pages of the magazine. It is important that the tone not be “preachy” or didactic. Use short sentences and paragraphs. When possible, use concrete words instead of abstractions. However, do not “write down” to children.

Poems should be short, not more than 16 lines. Both seasonal and theme-related poems are needed.

Non-fiction articles should be 400 to 1,000 words. We particularly seek articles about children involved in environmental, community, and peace/justice issues. These do not need to relate directly to an issue theme, but a natural tie-in to the theme is a plus. Please include photos of these children involved in their activities and supply a statement of parent’s permission to use the photos.

How should I submit my writing?

Contributions should be typed, double-spaced, on 8 1/2″x 11″ paper, accompanied by a SASE for return. Writers who wish to save postage and are concerned about paper conservation may send a SASP for notification of unaccepted manuscripts, and we will recycle the manuscript. Please list the name of the submission(s) on the card. We do not currently accept manuscripts sent by FAX or e-mail.

How will I know if my meditation will be used?

If we choose to use your meditation, we will notify you before publication. Along with your letter of acceptance, you will receive a contributor agreement and a W-9 (IRS form) that must be completed, signed and returned before you will receive payment. Meditations not chosen for publication will be returned only if you have sent a SASE. Because of the number of meditations we receive, we are unable to check the status of submissions.

Will Pockets pay to use my writing?

Payment will be made at the time of acceptance. We sometimes place manuscripts on long-term hold for specific issues. Authors are free to request the return of their manuscripts at any time during the long-term hold.

Stories and articles: 14 cents a word

Poetry: $25 and up

Activities, games, recipes: $25 and up

How do I submit my manuscript?

Mail manuscripts to:

Lynn W. Gilliam, Editor

Pockets

P.O. Box 340004

Nashville, TN 37203-0004

USA

July 2018                                              Joyful Living                                                       Due: 12/1/17

Jesus said that he came so that we may “have life and have it abundantly” (see John 10:10).  This issue should celebrate the sheer joy of being alive and living in the world as a child of God. What does it mean to live joyfully? What is the source of our joy? What is the difference between ignoring or denying problems and living with deep joy? How does our abundant living impact those around us? These are some of the questions we want to explore in this issue. Elements of summer fun are also appropriate here.

 

August 2018                              Good Sports                                                   Due:  1/5/18

Participation in sports is a huge factor in many children’s lives, and we definitely want to include athletics in this issue. But we also want this issue to go beyond the playing field. Graceful losing, graceful winning, fairness, thinking of the good of the group, keeping competition in perspective—these are lessons that extend to all sorts of relationships. How do we learn and apply the lessons of good sportsmanship (whether athletics are part of our lives or not)? How do these lessons intersect with the way we live as followers of Christ every day?

 

September 2018                                Courage                                                         Due: 2/1/18

While we often think of extraordinary acts of heroism as examples of courage (and, of course, they are), many everyday acts demonstrate courage as well. It takes courage to overcome our everyday fears. It takes courage to live hopefully in a fearful (and often fearsome) world. It takes courage to live the way Jesus taught us to live when others may question or ridicule our choices. Courage, of course, does not mean an absence of fear, and we want to help children understand that everyone has fears. This issue should help them realize, however, that they have a reservoir of courage that comes from God and that this courage is available to them at any time and in any circumstance.

 

October 2018                               The Golden Rule                                            Due: 3/1/18

“Do to others as you would have them do to you,” is so basic and familiar that we sometimes overlook how difficult it can be to live out. Often it’s hard enough to consistently treat those we love with the kindness and compassion we’d like to receive. How much more difficult is it to extend that kindness and compassion to a crabby neighbor or a rude clerk? A bully or someone who has spread a nasty rumor about us? A person who mocks our beliefs or challenges our worldview? This issue should help children see how the Golden Rule applies to their everyday lives and invites us to think about what the world might be like if every single person followed that rule.

 

November 2018                                 Hospitality                                                   Due: 4/1/18

Themes of welcoming and hospitality seem perfect for November, a month when many of us give thanks for our blessings and feel prompted to share with others. How are Christians called to be hospitable? What does it mean to “welcome the stranger”? How can we welcome others in our communities, churches, and schools and make them feel that they are wanted and special? How can we “entertain angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2 nrsv)? How does the spirit of hospitality that Thanksgiving engenders remain with us throughout the year?

 

December 2018                          Welcoming Jesus                                             Due: 5/1/18

Advent, the four weeks before Christmas, is a time of great excitement. This issue should help children understand that there is a much greater reason for excitement than the activities of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The focus of this issue is on helping children understand what Jesus’ birth means for them and for the world. This issue definitely includes many elements of the celebrative fun of Christmas and Epiphany, but we also want to help children remember that Advent is about preparing our hearts to receive the gift of God’s son. It is this gift that we hope children receive over and over again each year to shape their lives.

 

Send Us Your Stuff!

Your Bible verse, joke or pet photo could be chosen for the Pockets website! What would you like to send us?