Write For Us

Thanks to all the wonderful writers who entered the 2018 Pockets Fiction-Writing Contest! The winner of this year’s contest is Monica Pataki of Sahuarita, AZ. Her story “Locking Down Prayer” will appear in the October 2019 issue of Pockets on the theme of Let Your Light Shine. In addition to the winning story, several 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 2019 contest on March 15, 2019. 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?

We accept manuscripts submitted by email or post. You can email your contribution to us at pockets@upperroom.org. Your contribution should come attached as a Microsoft Word document, double-spaced with page numbers. You should include your name, mailing address, phone number, and email address within the body of the email as well as on your manuscript. In the subject line, please describe the manuscript type (fiction, poem, game, etc.) as well as the intended issue and theme, for example “Fiction for September/Courage.”

If you submit by post, contributions should be typed, double-spaced, on 8 1/2″x 11″ paper, accompanied by a SASE (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope) for return. Writers who wish to save postage and are concerned about paper conservation may send a SASP (Self-Addressed Stamped Postcard) for notification of unaccepted manuscripts, and we will recycle the manuscript. Please list the name of the submission(s) on the card.

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 (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope). 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

 

Or email manuscripts to:

pockets@upperroom.org

2019 Themes

July 2019                                                   Friendship                                                           Due: 12/1/18

It’s hard to overestimate the importance of friendships in children’s lives. True friends are one of God’s great gifts. But making and keeping friends can be difficult for children to negotiate, and questions abound. How do I choose my friends? What qualities are and aren’t important in a friend? How do I know I’m being a good friend? How do friends deal with disagreements and disappointment with one another? What happens when my friend wants me to do something I know is wrong? What happens when my best friend makes a new friend and I feel left out? How do I know if someone is a true friend? Can I be a friend to someone who seems really different than me? This issue will explore what it means to be a friend and how our faith shapes our friendships.

August 2019                                       Peace                                                                Due:  1/5/19

“If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all”—Romans 12:18. Those seemingly simple instructions are sometimes hard to live out! No matter how much we desire peace, it seems to elude us—certainly in our world, but also on the smaller scale of neighborhood, school, church, or family. But peace begins with each of us. This issue should help children understand that peace can begin with them in the ordinary situations of their lives. Careful listening, cooperation, being respectful of others, calmly explaining our own position, negotiating compromise, praying for calmness and understanding—these are among the everyday strategies which can help us as we seek to “live peaceably with all.” As we actually experience this kind of living, one person at a time, we can begin to hope for peace.

September 2019                                 Change                                                                    Due: 2/1/19

Change is unsettling, and few of us really enjoy it. Moving means getting used to a new home and leaving friends and neighbors behind. Going to a new school requires learning new rules and new surroundings and finding new friends. A new person coming into a family shifts our roles and responsibilities. Even when we think we’re prepared for it, change is hard. But over time, we often discover blessings from change. The new house has advantages the old one didn’t. The new school has great activities, and we find a wonderful friend. The new person adds something we didn’t know we were missing. We want this issue to help children draw on the experience of past changes to face new ones. We hope to encourage them to begin a lifelong habit of looking for the opportunities and blessings change may bring.

October 2019                               Let Your Light Shine                                               Due: 3/1/19

In October, as we anticipate the celebration of All Saints’ Day on November 1, we often focus on saints, heroes, and role models. This issue is slightly different as we encourage kids to consider how they, by living as Christian disciples, may act as role models and faith heroes for others. The emphasis is on faithful living in our everyday lives and how that way of life has the possibility of bringing the light of Christ to those around us.

November 2019                                   Little Things                                                       Due: 4/1/19

Have you ever prayed or wished fervently for something that you didn’t get? How did you feel? Disappointed? Discontent? Sometimes when we focus on the big things we want but don’t have, we overlook the little gifts and blessings that come our way. Children often do the same. If God is all-loving and all-powerful, why doesn’t God, like a genie in a bottle, grant them their desires? But the truth is, God blesses us more than we know. Those blessings usually appear in simple ways: a hug or smile when we’re sad, a beautiful day, enough food to eat, a warm home, a family member who loves us unconditionally, a faithful friend—all things to be thankful for. We want to help children realize that all these things added up reveal how truly blessed they are—even when they don’t get exactly what they’ve wished for.

December 2019                                  Behold!                                                              Due: 5/1/19

In truth, the December issue of Pockets hardly needs an assigned theme. The Advent themes of waiting, hope, welcoming, joy, peace, and love are all we need to guide us through the season. Beholding is about noticing, in an intentional way, Emmanuel, God with us. We want this issue to help children begin to understand how Jesus’ birth, God’s incarnation, is made new to us each Advent and Christmas and how this sense of God with us guides our lives throughout the year.

 

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?