I have been writing for children’s magazines on an occasional basis for about 15 years and have been thrilled to see my work published in magazines like Babybug, Ladybug, Highlights, and High Five. Writing for children’s magazines is a great way for beginning writers to get some experience writing for children, and for more experienced writers to find a market for those ideas that don’t quite work in book format.
Analyzing Magazines – Read Like a Writer
As with any genre, it’s important to READ magazines before trying to write for them. As you read, ask yourself questions about each piece in the magazine, such as:
- what is the genre? topic? POV?
- what age level is this for?
- how long is it?
- how many and what type of illustrations?
- is this a recurring feature?
- does it have a seasonal or holiday tie-in?
I recommend doing this with several different issues of the same magazine. Write down your observations. You will start to see patterns, and also will develop your ability to make your work match the style and editorial requirements of a particular magazine.
Download this FREE Magazine Analysis Worksheet to help you read like a writer, think through questions, and record your observations.
Children's Magazine Writing – Articles & Resources
- SCBWI Blueboard (Magazines and EZines section): Lots of advice on querying, calls for magazine submissions, craft advice, and crowdsourced “response times” from magazines
- Writing for Children’s Magazines – an ezine by Evelyn Christensen: Links to guidelines, magazine overviews, editor interviews
- SCBWI The Book (Free for members to browse online)
- Children’s Writers’ and Illustrators’ Market (Writers’ Digest)
- Magazine Markets for Children’s Writers (Institute for Writers)
- 22 Children’s Magazines that Pay (Updated for 2023) by Jessica Inman
Writing & Submitting Tips
- Writing for Children’s Magazines – Part 1– GROG post by Christy Mihaly
- Writing for Children’s Magazines – Part 2– GROG post by Christy Mihaly
- Writing for the Children’s Magazine Market by Barbara Gowan
- Picture Book or Short Story? by Laura Purdie Salas
- Picture Book Ideas: Picture Book or Short Story by Mary Kole
- How to Write a Rebus by Tina Cho
- Writing Children’s Nonfiction for Magazines: Mistakes to Avoid
- Children’s Poetry for Magazines by Jan Fields, Institute for Writers
- Why Try Writing for Children’s Magazines by Jan Fields, Institute for Writers
- Writing Children’s Magazine Fiction by Jan Fields, Institute for Writers
- Unusual Story Forms: Ways to Get Published Writing for Children’s Magazines by Katie Davis. ICL Podcast
- Nonfiction Articles You Can Write – Part 1 by Katie Davis. ICL Podcast
- Nonfiction Articles You Can Write – Part 2 by Katie Davis. ICL Podcast
- Query Letters: A Personal Journey by Vijaya Bodach
- Doing the Submission Shuffle – Part 1 by Carrie Clickard
- Doing the Submission Shuffle – Part 2 by Carrie Clickard
Articles on writing nonfiction by Kirsten Larson:
- Magazines: Just Starting Out
- Kids’ Magazines: Tip 2: Write the Whole Thing
- Kids Magazines: Writing to Themes
Magazine nonfiction query samples by Kirsten Larson:
- SCBWI Magazine Merit Award – don’t forget to apply!
- “44 Pages” – Documentary about the history of Highlights magazine, available on Netflix
- The Secret History of Cricket Magazine, ‘the New Yorker for Children’ by A.J. O’Connell