Writing for Children's Magazines
An Ezine

  Lisa Glover, Crafts and Activities Editor
        for Highlights and High Five



We are so pleased to have Lisa Glover here this month to give us some information and tips about submitting crafts and activities to High Five and Highlights.

Welcome, Lisa!
Would you please begin by sharing a little about yourself with us, what your responsibilities are at Highlights, and how long you've been there?

I've been working at Highlights for four months, though I've been instructing kids on how to make crafts since I was 10 years old. I've always had a passion for helping others discover their own power to make things! My formal background is in art, architecture, and engineering. I select, develop, and edit the "how-to" content that comes out of Highlights.

What do you love most about your new editor job? What do you find challenging about it?

I love testing crafts, recipes, and activities that will spark the imagination of children. If a craft distracts my coworkers and gets them to play like a kid, I know I've found an especially good one. My biggest challenge (and biggest opportunity) is taking our craft content to the next level.

Most of us are familiar with Highlights for Children and High Five, but can you give us a little background about them? How did they get their start? What sets them apart from other children's magazines?

Highlights for Children magazine was started in 1946 when Dr. Garry Cleveland Myers and his wife, Caroline Clark Myers, decided to start their own publication where they could directly address children in the way they believed was best.

High Five began in 2007 as a magazine that would help parents and young children bond through fun and meaningful stories and activities each month.

Since the beginning, our magazines have been general interest and advertisement-free.

The submission guidelines posted online for Highlights and High Five are very helpful. Are there any parts of those that you'd like to emphasize or elaborate on?

Receiving commonly seen content is one of the biggest issues we face in crafts submissions. It's not that people are intentionally publishing the work of others—it's more that good minds think alike, and good crafts tend to look similar. Before submitting a craft, check to see if something very similar exists online. If it does, see if you can push the idea further or add a unique twist, and turn it from a good craft into a great one.

The guidelines for crafts request step-by-step photos. Do those need to be of publishable quality or do you request those only so you yourself can see the process?

The photos do not need to be of publishable quality; our photographer takes all photos that are printed in the magazine. If it's difficult to see how something is put together, I'd recommend step-by-step photos. Otherwise, a completed craft photo is fine.

What sorts of things in a submission get you excited?

I love seeing conventional materials being used in novel, interesting ways. I'm especially fascinated by new takes on common creations. A recent favorite was a transformable paper shadow puppet—it was really impressive how the author took a conventional idea and made it magical.

What things turn you off to a submission? Any pet peeves?

Although they may bring back fond memories, it's unlikely I would publish the same crafts that my classmates and I did in preschool or elementary school. I also receive a lot of poems in a category that specifically calls for crafts and activities. Attention to submission categories and guidelines is important.

Any tips for writers who might want to break into Highlights and High Five with a craft or activity? Are there certain categories of crafts or activities that you'd welcome more of?

High Five: Focus on the process more than the product—the end product should look nice, but if the children can't participate or explore the materials themselves, it's not a good fit for our audience.

Highlights: Go beyond paper, and reach beyond the traditional for holidays and seasons. Think about incorporating STEM.

Newsstand/Seasonal Fun: These issues tend to be based around a theme, so if you submit a spider craft for Halloween, you're going to be competing against every other spider craft that we receive. Again, reach beyond the traditional.

We also have a newsletter where you can find out about special calls for submissions, tips on how to make crafts we're especially excited about, and creativity techniques to help you make even cooler creations!

Any other information about activities and crafts for Highlights and High Five you'd like to share with us?

Just that we love seeing the creativity of our writers and crafters, and the passion they have in creating works that help children be their best selves!

Thank you so much, Lisa, for taking the time to share all this helpful information with us and for being a part of creating such wonderful magazines for kids.

For you writers who are now inspired to submit a craft or activity to Highlights or High Five, the guidelines are here.

Writing for Children's Magazines, February 2018


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