Cricket Media (the company that publishes Cricket) is currently looking for a clever, cunning, talented Editor in Chief. See the full listing at Indeed.com; spread the word!
Themes for 2019 Ask are here! This year we're wondering about soccer, inventing, why we need clothes, and what lives in the deep dark ocean. And if we can invent some cool clothes to go play soccer down there. Look down in the right corner for the full list—and if you have a great idea for a story that isn't on the list, send it anyway! We're always looking for cool stories, and our sister magazines Spider and Cricket are too.
A big, thrilled, !!!!!!!!! shout out to our old friend and fellow editor Elizabeth Preston, who has won the Kavli Science Journalism Gold Award in the Children's Writing category for her story "A New Way to See," from in the September 2016 (Meet Your Brain) issue of Ask. Elizabeth writes for the Atlantic, Wired, and National Geographic, among others, and you can also find her at Inkfish on Discover. You Rock, Elizabeth! And at last, the AAAS agrees!
Good tips on science writing for kids! Check out the latest post from Elizabeth Preston, science writer and former editor of MUSE, at the Open Notebook:
I'm often asked if there's anything in particular I'm looking for—usually the answer is just "good stories." But I am looking for more narrative nonfiction, telling true stories like fiction—this approach has great appeal for younger readers, and I'd like to get more of it in Ask. It could be the unfolding of a moment in science history, or a Flatland-type math adventure, or a classmate of Newton telling what it was like to go to school with him, or an apprentice blacksmith taking us on a tour around a Viking blacksmith shop. So if you've got an idea for a neat narrative nonfiction piece, or want to give it a try, pitch it! I'd love to see new approaches to old (or new) subjects.
Those Big Words
Learning impressive new words is one of the joys of reading. At the same time, when you meet a bunch in a row that you don’t know, it can be discouraging. So don’t be afraid of of using technical words where they are the clearest way of naming something, or that give kids a badge into a new field that will make them feel clever. When you are talking about amphibians, say amphibians. But use them with care and purpose.
Some general guidelines for Ask:
When you introduce a new term, define it in place when you first use it. We don’t do “vocabulary words” like a textbook, so define it when you use it, in the natural flow of the text.
Like this: "they found many microbes, tiny living things so small you can only see them with a microscope."
Then use the word again several times throughout the article, so kids will get to know it. Microbes here, microbes there, multiplying microbes everywhere.
Generally, try to introduce not more than two or three big words per 1000 word article, if that.
And if you find yourself using a big word only once, consider finding an alternative. If you only use it once, is it really that important?
Under this same general heading, simplify titles and leave out institutions, degrees, funding agencies, etc. I know they always want their full names in articles, but really, kids don’t care and their eyes will glaze over. So, “She teaches robotics,” not “She is an Associate Professor of Machine Learning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology School Media Lab.”