Institute of Children's Literature presents



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Time to Inspire the Next Generation!

STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) is a big part of elementary school curriculum today. As such, teachers and parents are looking for resources to engage kids with those topics.

This contest is your chance to write a nonfiction STEAM article suitable for a children's magazine such as Ask, Fun for Kidz, or Spider.

Appeal to kids who are curious about how the world works when you craft your 500-word article that will capture a child's imagination. Your article should combine or integrate two or more of these disciplines. Your audience is ages seven to nine and your article should be previously unpublished.

EXTENDED DEADLINE: August 31, 2020

What's STEAM?

STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. As the website We Are Teachers explains, the science and math parts of the abbreviation might be easy to figure out, but the arts, technology and engineering parts might be less clear. (Science: biology, chemistry, etc., and math is algebra, calculus, etc.)  But technology? That includes topics such as computer programming, analytics, and design. Engineering can include topics like electronics, robots, and civil engineering. The arts include creative designs and allows students to connect their learning in these critical areas together with arts practices, elements, design principles, and standards. The key term, when talking about STEAM, is integration. STEAM curriculum intentionally melds these disciplines. It’s a blended approach that encourages hands-on experience and gives students the chance to gain and apply relevant, “real-world” knowledge in their education.

The Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM explains, "STEAM education results in students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process."

Why Enter?

 $1,300 Cash Prizes 

  • 1st prize = $1,000 
  • 2nd prize = $200 
  • 3rd prize = $100 

Online Workshop

All entrants are invited to a FREE instructional online workshop with our esteemed judge and the Director of the Institute of Children's Literature and Institute for Writers.

Free Critique

Winning entries will be workshopped by our judge to help writers understand what worked and what could be improved to make it submission-ready.

I'm In, Let's Do This >>

What's our judge looking for?

Content = something worth saying: a fresh topic or fresh perspective (not the same old butterfly migration or moon eclipse that we’ve seen a thousand times)

Organization = logical flow from an enticing first sentence to a satisfying conclusion; sidebars acceptable if appropriate and not just filler

Execution = language, tone, age-appropriateness, respect for the reader

Here's what you need to know...

  • Entries should be no more 500 words.
  • Entries should be nonfiction and combine two or more STEAM topics.
  • Entries should be a complete magazine article suitable for a children's magazine, such as Ask, Fun for Kidz, or Spider.
  • No illustrations or photographs should be submitted with your entry.
  • Entries should be aimed at readers between seven- and nine-years-old.
  • Include a list of sources you used for information. Your sources could be books, articles, videos, personal interviews with experts, and best of all, primary sources in your subject area. Online sources are acceptable if they are from credible authorities, so check out who created that website. No encyclopedias or crowd-sourced references in your list (Remember, editors don’t want to see those!) There is no word limit on citations and they should not be included in your word count for the article.
  • Formatting for citations should be as follows:
  • For magazine sources: Author, “Article Title.” Magazine Title, exact issue date. [If accessed online, add exact URL.]
  • For book or Ebook sources: Author. Book Title. Publisher, year. [If accessed online, add exact URL.]
  • For interviews: Name of person interviewed. Person’s title or qualification. Interviewed on [date] by [your name].
  • For anything else, just a one-sentence description such as “personal experience scuba diving in the Cayman Islands, 2016.”
  • Proofread your entry to ensure it matches standard manuscript format (double spacing, clear contact information, no creative use of fonts).
  • Entries must follow manuscript submission guidelines as stated on our Contest Rules page HERE.
  • Entries must be submitted via our online form by midnight Pacific Time on August 31, 2020.
  • There is a $19 reading fee per manuscript to enter the contest.
  • You may enter more than one manuscript but each entry requires a $19 reading fee.
  • Add our email address ( to your list of contacts and/or safe senders so you can receive the email with the free entry information to our online workshop where we announce the winners. (Non-entrants pay $7.)
  • Minimum age to enter the contest is 18 years of age.

Submissions will be judged on clarity, originality, completeness of the article, potential in the market, and appropriateness for the age range.

The winning entries in this Nonfiction STEAM Article Contest will be announced at a live online workshop within 90 days after the contest closes. All contest entrants will be notified of the event details by email and be invited free of charge. (Non-entrants may attend for a nominal fee of $7.)

This is a great opportunity to build your writing and submitting skills!