What is Pockets?
Designed for 6- to 12-year-olds, Pockets magazine offers wholesome devotional readings that teach about God’s love and presence in life. The content includes fiction, scripture stories, puzzles and games, poems, recipes, colorful pictures, 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 written and produced for children and 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.
The primary purpose of POCKETS is to help children grow in their relationship with God and to claim the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ by applying it to their daily lives. POCKETS espouses respect for all human beings and for God’s creation. It regards a child’s faith journey as an integral part of all of life and sees prayer as undergirding that journey.
Upcoming Writing Deadlines
“If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” –2 Corinthians 5:17. A new year provides a natural time to think about new beginnings. How many of us begin the new year with lofty (and often unrealistic) expectations that this is the year we’ll finally begin eating healthier, exercising regularly, reading great books, and generally becoming nicer, smarter, healthier people? While these good intentions usually end in disappointment, we can make a new beginning any time—not just on January 1. How do we know when it’s time for a new beginning? What helps us make better choices? What priorities should we adopt when considering change? How do we live each day into the possibility of becoming a “new creation” in Christ? We want to help children see that with God’s help, genuine change is possible for them. We also want to encourage them to give others who are trying to make a positive change a chance to do so.More Info
Do you ever verbally lash out in anger? Over-indulge in unhealthy food? Buy things you don’t need and can’t really afford? Spend way too much time on your computer or smartphone? Of course! If we as adults find it difficult to exercise self-control, how much harder must it be for our children? In truth, self-control doesn’t seem to be valued much by our culture. We are constantly surrounded by messages that our slightest whims should be indulged. But self-control is one of the “fruits of the spirit” and is something we seek to cultivate in our own lives and encourage in other believers. The Christian season of Lent, a traditional time of self-examination and self-denial, offers an opportunity to help children see self-control as a positive attribute and one that God wants to be part of our lives.More Info
By the time most children reach middle-school age, they will have experienced some significant loss: a move that leaves old friends behind, the death of a beloved pet or perhaps a grandparent, a divorce in the family or some other disruptive event. The good news of Easter—Christ is alive!—is that out of sadness, disappointment, and brokenness God can bring new life. We never want to gloss over or trivialize the real pain children experience with loss, but we want to help them recognize and even celebrate that even in loss and endings there is opportunity for growth and new direction. We also want children to understand that God’s will for all of creation is shalom, the well-being of all. (Please note that this theme tends to generate a flurry of stories about the death of a grandparent. This is certainly something children deal with, and we can use one such story in the issue. But we will need stories that deal with other kinds of loss as well.)More Info
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. 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.
Copies of our themes are also available by mail with an SASE. Please note deadlines for each issue; late manuscripts cannot be considered.
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 6–12. Though some children may share it with their families or use it in church group settings, 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 lots of action, use believable dialogue, 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 20 lines. Both seasonal and theme-related poems are needed.
Non-fiction articles that are open for submissions include: theme-related quizzes; Kids with a Mission profiles of children involved in charitable, environmental, community, and peace/justice issues; biographical sketches of persons, famous or unknown, whose lives reflect their Christian commitments and values; and Family Time activities for families to do together (seasonal or theme-related). The length of these features varies greatly, and we strongly suggest sending an SASE to receive a sample copy of the magazine if you are interested in submitting any of these.
Special note: In addition to receiving regular submissions, Pockets sponsors a fiction contest each year.
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. Because of the volume of manuscripts we receive, we do not accept manuscripts sent by FAX or e-mail.
How will I know if my submission will be used?
If we use your submission, we will notify you before publication. Along with your letter of acceptance, you will receive a contract and a W-9 (IRS form) that must be completed, signed and returned in order for us to process your payment.
Submissions not chosen for publication will be returned only if they are accompanied by a SASE. Because of the number of submissions we receive, we are unable to check the status of submissions.