Writer’s Guidelines

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.

Editorial Philosphy

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

January/February 2016

Deadline: 06/01/2015

Priorities

The new year offers a good opportunity to evaluate what is really important. What does the way we live say about what we truly value? What may be getting crowded out? How does what we see and hear in the world around us confuse our priorities? These may seem like adult questions, but advertising has invaded practically every area of our lives and continually tells us what is important. Popular culture inundates us with images that we’re told we should aspire to. Children are at least as susceptible to these influences as we are! How can we help children understand that God’s priorities are different than the world’s priorities? Some areas this issue might touch on include use of time, care of our bodies, attention to important relationships, and, of course, nurturing our spiritual lives.

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March 2016

Deadline: 08/01/2015

Love Your Enemies

Jesus’ commandment to love our enemies has always been challenging, and it certainly remains so as we are confronted daily with news reports of violence and terrorism. While we can’t really tackle complex global issues, we hope to help children find alternatives to seeing people in their daily lives as enemies and to find peaceful and constructive ways to deal with people who treat them unkindly. How do children respond when they are the victims of bullying? How do they respond when they see others being bullied? How do they respond to those who are, for whatever reason, difficult to love? How do the ways we respond to such people make our world a better or a worse place? (Note: This issue will include some special Lenten features, but since Easter falls in March this year we’ll also be leaning into the Easter season with this issue.)

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April 2016

Deadline: 09/01/2015

Grace

“By grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). Children have a strong sense of what is and isn’t fair, what they do and don’t deserve. But the Christian life is not about what we (or others) deserve. Paul’s words to the Ephesians guide us as we consider God’s grace shown to us in the salvation offered through Christ’s resurrection. What are the ways we experience God’s grace on a daily basis? And how do we respond to that gift of grace by extending grace to family members, friends, classmates, strangers, and the world?

 

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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 a 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 a SASE (please send 6 x 9 size envelope) 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.

Send all submissions to:

Pockets Magazine
ATTN: Editor
PO Box 340004
Nashville, TN 37203-0004