Please note that Boyds Mills Press, Calkins Creek, and WordSong are closed to submissions from December 1, 2018 through January 31, 2019. We will reopen on February 1, 2019. Any submissions received during this time will be automatically deleted. We encourage you to review our submission guidelines below during this time. We look forward to reading your best work starting February 1, 2019.  

To view our full submission guidelines please visit

Boyds Mills Press, Calkins Creek, WordSong

Please note: Boyds Mills Press, Calkins Creek, and WordSong publish books for children, tweens, and teens that focus on excellent storytelling, imaginative illustration, and strong characters. Our exceptionally crafted titles are designed to entertain, inform, and engage children of all ages. Please review our online catalog to see the types of books that we publish before submitting your work.

Boyds Mills Press, the trade book division of Highlights for Children, publishes a wide range of high-quality titles for young readers—fiction and nonfiction picture books, middle grade and young teen fiction, and nonfiction novels.

Calkins Creek publishes both nonfiction and historical fiction picture books and novels that introduce children to the many people, places, and events that have shaped US history. Calkins Creek titles present multiple points of view through original and extensive research, and each innovative and skillfully written book uses primary sources, such as timelines, bibliographies, historical notes, and glossaries.

WordSong is the only children’s imprint in the United States specifically dedicated to poetry. WordSong titles, both picture books and novels in verse, capture the vibrant, unexpected, and emotional connections between poetry of all types and young readers. 

To submit:

  • Please upload only one manuscript per submission. We welcome multiple submissions, but we prefer that each one is submitted separately.
  • We encourage you to review our online catalog before submitting work.
  • We do not consider previously published material. 
  • We do not consider submissions from anyone under the age of sixteen.

Picture Books: We accept submissions from both authors and illustrators. If you are an author and an illustrator, please submit the complete manuscript and a sample reproduction of the final artwork that reflects the intended style and technique. Keep in mind that one well-presented submission will be more attractive than several submissions or a submission in many parts. You do not need to send a query first.

Middle Grade and Young Teen Fiction: Please submit the first three chapters and a plot summary. We will request the balance of the manuscript if we are interested. 

Nonfiction: Include a detailed bibliography with your submission. We highly recommend including an expert's review of your manuscript with a detailed explanation of the books in the marketplace that are similar to the one you propose. Keep in mind that good children's nonfiction has a narrative quality—a story line—that encyclopedias do not; please consider whether both the subject and the language will appeal to children.

*Update 11/14/18: Please read the updated guidelines below before submitting. We are considering manuscripts on specific current needs only, which are listed below and will be updated monthly.

We do not accept work through Submittable (or through e-mail) from writers younger than 16. Young writers and artists may send their work to: Highlights for Children, 803 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431. 

Highlights is a general-interest magazine for children ages 6-12. By publishing stories, puzzles, articles, and activities that are fun and engaging, we aim to inspire kids to be their best selves–creative, curious, caring, and confident. Highlights was founded in 1946 by Dr. Garry Cleveland Myers and Caroline Clark Myers, and is still owned and run by their family. The magazine accepts no outside advertising and has no religious or organizational affiliation. Highlights has a circulation of about a million and is published monthly.

Please upload only one manuscript per submission. We welcome multiple submissions, but we prefer that each be submitted separately.

  • We encourage writers to read several recent copies of Highlights before submitting work.
  • We pay on acceptance, and we buy all rights, including copyright. We do not consider previously published material.
  • We accept material at any time of the year, including seasonal material.
  • For submissions that require research, please include references, interview transcripts or notes, correspondence with experts, and any other pertinent backup.
  • Please submit each manuscript only once, to the most appropriate magazine (Highlights, High Five, or Hello), keeping in mind the different age ranges.
  • Please note that after declining a submission, we delete your manuscript file. In this way, you can be assured that we are not keeping or storing creative work that we have not purchased.  


Instructions should be concise. Playful themes and language are welcome.

Current Needs

  • Math puzzles that are fun and don't feel like schoolwork. For example, they might include a payoff or some enticing tidbit that makes kids want to solve the puzzle.
  • We do not need word puzzles at this time.

Payment: $40 and up

My Sci submissions

Current Needs

Photo-based features

Queries should include the topic, the angle you plan to take, and the credentials of an expert you plan to ask for a review.

Subject should lend itself well to a great photo–science "eye-candy"–to intrigue young readers. Photos do not need to be provided by the author, but the author should consider how the text might drive the choice of photo. (For example, if text about a beehive focuses on what happens inside the hive, we may not be able to find the required strong, quality image of a hive’s interior.)

If the query receives a favorable response, please follow these guidelines:

  • Word limit: 100-175, which includes a short introductory paragraph and four or five full-sentence image labels. Text should have a tight focus. Labels should not merely name parts of a subject but should tell about the science involved.
  • Expert review required. (Tip: You might locate potential reviewers by contacting authors of pertinent peer-reviewed research papers.)
  • We currently need non-animal subjects.

Payment: $75 and up


Crafts should have concise, numbered directions, up to 5 steps. Please submit step-by-step photos of a well-made sample of the craft.

Craft materials should be inexpensive and easy to obtain.

Crafts that celebrate holidays and religious traditions are welcome.

Current Needs

  • Crafts from various cultures
  • Games kids can make
  • STEM activities

Payment: $40 and up

Nonfiction Articles

We are accepting only detailed queries at this time. Queries should include the proposed topic and focus as well as a list of sources and potential interview subjects.

If the query receives a favorable response, please follow these guidelines:

  • Articles for beginning readers should have fewer than 400 words. 
  • Articles for independent readers should have fewer than 700 words.
  • We prefer research based on firsthand experience, consultation with experts, and primary sources.
  • Articles about cultural traditions and ways of life should reflect a deep understanding of the subject.
  • We prefer biographies that are rich in quotes and anecdotes and that place the subject in a historical or cultural context.
  • Digital images, if included, should be no less than 300 dpi.

Payment: $175 and up


Stories should have an engaging plot, strong characterization, a specific setting, and lively language.

Stories for beginning readers should have fewer than 475 words and should not seem babyish to older readers.

Stories for independent readers should have fewer than 750 words and should be appealing to younger readers if read aloud.

Graphic (comic-book format) stories should have fewer than 400 words. In addition, they might include ideas for panel breaks and basic art notes.

Current Needs

  • historical fiction set during periods other than World War II
  • mystery stories featuring boy protagonists
  • humorous stories featuring girl protagonists
  • sports stories for younger readers featuring girl protagonists
  • science fiction
  • graphic (comic-book format) stories
  • stories set in countries outside the United States. (We currently do not need stories that focus on food traditions.)
  • We welcome holiday stories. We do not need Christmas or Halloween stories at this time.

Payment: $175 and up

Please note: Highlights magazine is not currently holding fiction contests. Any manuscripts we receive for that purpose will be reviewed as regular submissions to Highlights.


Current Needs

  • We are currently in need of short verse (up to 10 lines), especially non-rhyming and/or humorous poetry.
  • We are not accepting poems with nature or seasonal themes or poems about dogs at this time.

Payment: $40 and up


Cartoons can be single-panel or multiple-panel, black-and-white or full-color, with or without a caption, and with either human or animal characters.

Current Needs

  • Cartoons that are fresh, original, and geared to kids
  • We do not need cartoons with adult characters at this time.

Payment: $40 and up for black-and-white; $50 and up for full-color

For more tips and information of interest to writers, visit

High Five publishes stories, nonfiction, crafts, recipes, and science activities that support the curiosity and social and emotional development of children ages 2-6. At this time we are especially interested in nonfiction stories or articles appropriate for our readers.  

Stories should not exceed 170 words. The topics should be age-appropriate, with settings, characters, and plots that will be familiar to young children. Rhyme, repetition, and patterned texts are particularly welcome. Remember that illustrations can provide many descriptive details, giving you room in the text for dialogue and four scenes.  

We are not currently seeking poems for our verse page or action rhymes, but we are accepting short poems for the poem puzzle page and My First Hidden Pictures page.

Crafts, recipes, and nonfiction activities should be designed so that most children can do all the steps with limited help from an adult. Materials or ingredients should be easy to find. 

We accept only one manuscript per submission. On the first page of each manuscript, please include your name as you would like it to appear in your byline. We welcome multiple works, but each one needs to be submitted separately. We do not accept previously published works or simultaneous submissions. 

Please submit each manuscript only once, to the most appropriate Highlights magazine, keeping in mind the different age ranges. The editors work together closely and will share a manuscript if they feel it's better suited to a different magazine. 

Please note that after declining a submission, we delete your manuscript file. In this way, you can be assured that we are not keeping or storing creative work that we have not purchased.

Please note: We do not accept work through Submittable (or through e-mail) from writers younger than 16. Learn more about the Highlights guidelines for young writers and artists at:

Updated: 10.27.2017

Highlights Hello is a magazine for loving adults to share with infants and toddlers ages 0-2. The majority of our subscribers are ages 1-2. Texts must be developmentally appropriate for the child yet fun for the read-aloud adult as well. We love simple humor, wordplay, or a gentle surprise on a level the toddler can grasp.

Hello manuscripts occasionally go up to 50 words, but we strongly prefer shorter texts for our very young audience. We like to average about 2 to 3 short lines of text per page.

Issue contents have been tentatively assigned through 2019. We have not yet set issue themes for 2020 but we are still accepting a limited number of manuscripts that we find irresistible. 

We accept only text through Submittable. Please do NOT send art samples.

Please note that if we decline a submission, we delete your manuscript file. You can be assured that we never keep copies of creative work that we have not purchased.

Moratorium on Highlights Hidden Pictures® Submissions

Updated: 5.15.2017

Dear Illustrators,

Thank you to everyone who has contributed Hidden Pictures puzzles to Highlights through Submittable. Because of your great work, we now have enough Hidden Pictures puzzles in our files to fill all our currently planned projects.

Therefore, for the time being, we are placing a moratorium on new submissions. We are still in the process of reviewing all submissions sent prior to the moratorium, and we appreciate your patience as we continue to respond to these submissions.

Thank you again for your interest in Highlights and in our Hidden Pictures puzzles. When we open submissions again, we will place a notice here.

Best wishes,

The Highlights Hidden Pictures Team