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

May 2015

Deadline: 10/01/2014

Family Challenges

Family is the basic community in which faith is lived out and passed on, and each year our May issue focuses on some aspect of family life. This year we want to look at some of the challenges faced by families. Some possibilities: economic circumstances that add stress to family life, the encroachment of technology into family time, demands on both parents and children in our fast-paced world, as well as the more familiar topics such as changing family configurations, sibling rivalry, family rules, and living respectfully with one another. One of our overall goals in Pockets is to show children that faith is part of our everyday lives, so we are particularly interested here in the ways faith equips us to face the challenges we face each day.

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June 2015

Deadline: 11/01/2014

Caring for Creation

Being good stewards of God’s creation is not only a matter of our self-interest or good intentions. It is a basic way of honoring our Creator. The aim of this issue is two-fold: a celebration of the wonder of creation and a challenge to look at practical ways we can address the earth’s problems. Typically this theme draws many stories on recycling and litter pick-up. While these are certainly important efforts (and we may feature one such story), we encourage writers to think more broadly about realistic ways children can have a positive impact on the environment. The tone should be hopeful and show that we can accomplish great things when we open ourselves to God’s power working through us.

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July 2015

Deadline: 12/01/2014

Competition

Competition for Pockets readers could be many things: striving to make the best grades, wanting to have the coolest clothes, trying to be the best player on the soccer team or in the school orchestra, or consistently vying to be the center of attention. Competition can be healthy when it encourages us to do our best, but it is unhealthy when it causes us to make “winning” too important. We want this issue to help children examine their motives for competing and the role of competition in their lives. Does competing make them feel energetic and excited? Do they like to be with other competitors because of their shared interest? Or does competition make them anxious or cause them to dislike those with whom they are competing? Do they find themselves thinking that being first or best is more important than anything else? We want to invite children to view the competitive arenas of their lives (as we want them to view all of their lives) in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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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
PO Box 340004
Nashville, TN 37203-0004