Peg366's Blog

Highlights 2010 Fiction Contest vs. Highlights Regular Submission Guidelines.

Posted on: September 29, 2009

There appears to be some confusion about the contest guidelines for the 2010 Fiction Contest at Highlights from a reader. (I have already previously done a post on the contest itself.)

Highlights for Children Magazines is for readers (children)  between the ages of three and twelve years of age. The magazine  features fiction stories, nonfiction articles, rebus, hidden picture activites, crafts, fingerplay and puzzles. The word count limits are  (3-7years of age ) 500 words and (8-12 years of age )800 words.

 However, the guidelines for the contest are different from their regular submission guidelines.  For more clarification, please go to their website at or

Here are their submission guidelines for all submissions. 

Contributor Guidelines

For a printable version of the Editorial Guidelines, click here.

For guidelines for children who would like to submit their work to Highlights, click here.

“This magazine of wholesome fun is dedicated to helping children grow in basic skills and knowledge, in creativeness, in ability to think and reason, in sensitivity to others, in high ideals and worthy ways of living–for children are the world’s most important people.”

Editorial Guidelines

Highlights for Children is a general-interest, advertising-free magazine for children up to age twelve. It was founded in 1946 by Dr. Garry Cleveland Myers and Caroline Clark Myers, and is still owned and run by their family. The magazine has no religious or organizational affiliation. Highlights has a circulation of about two million and is published monthly.

  • We encourage writers to read several recent copies of Highlights before submitting work. A sample copy will be sent on request.
  • We do not accept submissions by e-mail or fax.
  • We pay for all material on acceptance.
  • We buy all rights, including copyright, and do not consider previously published material.
  • Generally we prefer to see a manuscript rather than a query. However, we will review queries regarding nonfiction.
  • We accept material at any time of the year, including seasonal material.
  • Each submission must include a self-addressed stamped envelope.
  • We do not pay writers younger than sixteen years old for their work. Guidelines for young writers will be sent on request.
  • To find a listing of our current needs, guidelines for illustrators, and Fiction Contest guidelines, please scroll down to the bottom of the page.


Send submissions to
Manuscript Coordinator
Highlights for Children
803 Church Street
Honesdale, PA 18431

FICTION should have an engaging plot, strong characterization, a specific setting, and lively language. No series or continuing stories.

  • Stories for younger readers (ages three to seven) should have 500 words or fewer and should not seem babyish to older readers.
  • Stories for older readers (ages eight to twelve) should have 800 words or fewer and should be appealing to younger readers if read aloud.
  • Frequent needs include humor, mystery, sports, holiday, and adventure stories; retellings of traditional tales; stories with urban settings; and stories that feature world cultures.
  • For stories that require research, such as historical fiction, please send photocopies of key pages in references and of any correspondence with experts.
  • We prefer characters that set a positive example.
  • We avoid stories that preach.
  • We avoid suggestions of crime and violence.
  • We seldom buy rhyming stories.
  • Payment: $150 and up.

REBUS STORIES, geared toward beginning readers, should feature a variety of familiar words that can easily be shown as pictures.

  • Rebuses should have 120 words or fewer.
  • Rebuses with a surprise or twist at the end often work best.
  • Payment: $100 and up.

VERSE, which is purchased sparingly, is rarely longer than sixteen lines and should be meaningful for young readers.

Payment: $25 and up.

NONFICTION includes science, arts, biography, autobiography, sports, world cultures, economics, service/self-help, careers, adventure, and history.

  • All articles should have 800 words or fewer.
  • Nonfiction articles geared to our younger readers (ages three to seven) are especially welcome. These should not exceed 500 words.
  • Articles with a tight focus are most successful.
  • We prefer research based on firsthand experience, consultation with experts, or primary sources.
  • Articles about cultural traditions and ways of life should reflect a deep understanding of the subject.
  • Biographies of individuals who have made significant artistic, scientific, or humanitarian contributions are strengthened by the inclusion of formative childhood experiences.
  • We prefer biographies that are rich in quotes and anecdotes and that place the subject in a historical and cultural context.
  • Complete bibliographies as well as photocopies of key pages in references must be included.
  • Color 35mm slides, photos, or art-reference materials are helpful and sometimes crucial in evaluating submissions. Digital images should be no less than 300 dpi.
  • We encourage authors to have their articles reviewed by an expert before submission. Please include the expert’s response.
  • Payment: $150 and up.

CRAFTS should appeal to boys and girls of a wide age range.

  • Crafts should have concise, numbered directions. They typically should have three to five steps.
  • A well-made sample should be included with each craft idea. If this is not feasible, then a photo or detailed illustration would help.
  • Project materials should be inexpensive and easy to obtain.
  • Projects should result in attractive and useful gifts, toys, games, or decorations.
  • Crafts that celebrate holidays or religious traditions are welcome.
  • Frequent needs include crafts that result in games, crafts from world cultures, and crafts that appeal to boys.
  • Payment: $25 and up.

FINGER PLAYS and ACTION RHYMES should have plenty of action and minimal text. They must be easy for very young children to act out, step by step. Include directions for hand, finger, or body movements.

Payment: $25 and up.

PUZZLES should not require readers to write in the magazine; therefore, no crosswords, word searches, and so on. We welcome visual puzzles, math puzzles, and code activities.

Payment: $25 and up.

GALLANT KIDS articles should have 400 words or fewer. They should focus on children who are serving others through unique, interesting, kid-generated projects.

Payment: $150 and up.

PICTURE PUZZLER ideas should be primarily visual and include little text. These puzzles, featured on the inside back cover of the magazine, can include photos, drawings, or detailed art suggestions for a full-page illustration. Original board games that can be played on the page are welcome. Picture Puzzlers should not require readers to write in the magazine. Ideas should be original and should appeal to boys and girls of a wide age range.

Payment: $50 and up.

For more tips and information of interest to writers, visit

Writers may also find it helpful to search the magazine index or peruse the Fun Finder at

Highlights® Editorial
803 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431®


12 Responses to "Highlights 2010 Fiction Contest vs. Highlights Regular Submission Guidelines."

Hey, great blog…but I don’t understand how to add your site in my rss reader. Can you Help me, please 🙂


To tell you the truth, I’m brand new to blogging and guess what I am computer challenged. I just learned how to get the pictures to go into the text. I am learning it on my own, so it is taking a while.

While I check this out, there is a way to be able to get to my blog, by making it one of your Favorites. There are icons on the toolbars that say Favorites. You get a drop down menu which reads Add to favorites. click ok, then all you have to do is click on the Favorites icon and scroll down when you want to check out the blog. click on my blog title and it will take you to my blog.

Here is the link from my end,

I have an email into a friend of mine who is more knowledgeable about computers so he can tell me what to do. When I hear back, I’ll contact you.

Peg 366

There is obviously a lot to know about this. There are some good points here.


Thanks, there is a lot to know but entering a contest sponsored by Highlights and possibly winning it is well worth it for most writers. Highlights has a great reputation. They are well established in the field.

I went and located one of last years winners of their Multicultural Contest/2009, so you could see what type of stories they use. Here is the url to her website, .


Can you tell me more about them getting the copyright to the story? One story I have written I could see printed in Highlights or Ranger Rick. But I could also see it printed after that in a picture book. Getting into a magazine would be great exposure for getting it published as a book, but I wouldn’t want to risk loosing my rights to the story. Do you have any advice in that department?

Hi Jill,

First you should know that Highlights buys all rights when they accept your story.

Do you know if that is typical with magazines?

Yes, it is typical of Highlights, and the Carcus Magazine Groups like LadyBug. They buy all-rights and they pay better than other magazines. The competition for those magazines can be a bit stiff but getting some thing published in them is a real accomplishment. I have heard of instances where you could write and see if they would release your story if you got a publisher interested in your work.

You might find some online magazines that pay less that might work for you.

My suggestion if you don’t already have it is to buy a Market Guide for the magazine info. (I can’t get to mine to get the correct name right this minute.) It will list all the magazines’ names, what they accept, what rights they take, and what they pay, that kind of thing. It tells you the address, the contact name or title. It lists some examples of the type of stories they like to see. It is a wealth of info.

There is also a book called Book Markets for Children’s Writers which does the same thing for the book publishers.

I hope this helps.

It costs around $30 or so. Maybe even less is you have a Half-Price Book Store near where you are from. I consider it one of my most valued reference books.

Did I answer all your questions in the other post?

Peg Finley/peg366


It might be to your benefit to take the chance and give up all-rights. I can’t say what will right for you. You have to decide that for yourself.

The friends I have had took the deal with Highlights because it was such a great writing credit to have.

Sorry, I can’t be of more help.

Peg Finley/peg366

Great Blog!……There’s always something here to make me laugh…Keep doing what ya do 🙂

Thanks Tsquare,

I’m so glad you are enjoying my blog.


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I am an aspiring picturebook writer with some magazine credits just no picture book contract yet. I know it is coming and I am more than willing to work for it.

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