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

August 2015

Deadline: 01/01/2015

Loneliness

One of the paradoxes of our age is that we are, arguably, both more connected and more isolated than ever. One of our Kids’ Advisory Board members reported that other children she encountered in an on-line game (with the benefit of anonymity) made comments questioning whether anyone truly cares about them and expressing the wish that someone would love them. Sad as this is, it’s perhaps not surprising. In our highly mobile, extremely busy, increasingly impersonal society, many people are lonely. Many of us live far from extended family and may not even know our neighbors. Technology encourages us to interact with others through devices instead of face-to-face. Violence causes us to spend more time behind locked doors, and even then we may be suspicious of others. Consequently, we find ourselves increasingly isolated from one another. Children do not escape this phenomenon. Perhaps they have difficulty making friends. Perhaps their families are too busy or in too much turmoil to offer comfort and companionship. Perhaps the families themselves are isolated from the larger community. Through this issue we want to help children understand that they are never truly alone, that God is with them always. We want to offer them comfort as well as creative ways to deal with their loneliness.

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September 2015

Deadline: 02/01/2015

Choices

Just as it is for us, life for children is full of choices and temptations. To do homework or spend an extra hour watching YouTube videos? To ignore a shy newcomer or go out of your way to include him or her? To cheat on a test or risk being grounded for getting a bad grade? To experiment, just this once, with alcohol to impress daring friends or risk being ostracized? To speak up for what you believe or remain silent and let others assume you agree with them? So how do we choose? And how do our choices impact our lives and our relationships with others? How do we find the strength to avoid temptations and make the right choices? How do we help others to make good choices? And where do we find grace and forgiveness when we’ve made the wrong choice?

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October 2015

Deadline: 03/01/2015

Role Models

We’ve all heard of the poorly behaved sports or entertainment star who says that it’s not his or her job to be a role model for children. And we ourselves tend to forget that we are role models—whether of good traits or bad ones—in all that we do. Children are always looking up to someone. But how often do they think of themselves as role models? This issue should help children understand that they too are called to be role models of the Christian life to those around them, to both adults and other children. Paul’s words to Timothy inspire us here: “Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12, NRSV).

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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