Open Call for K-3 Nonfiction Submissions

K-3 nonfiction submissions

By Carol Hinz, Editorial Director of Millbrook Press and Carolrhoda Books

One of my favorite things about children is their sense of wonder. My own kids regularly ask me questions about things I take for granted (“Why does it get dark at night?”) and prompt me to think about familiar things in new ways (“My cheese looks like Minnesota!”)

And what does this have to do with an open call for submissions? I am currently looking for manuscripts for children in grades K-3 that tap into that sense of wonder. Manuscripts should focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) topics and should present those topics in playful or unconventional ways. And finally, these books should be able to be illustrated with photographs, though the author will not expected to do photo research. That said, authors who are also photographers and can provide images are welcome to submit.

More Details

Word Count: 1,000 max.

Back matter: Yes! (the back matter doesn’t need to be complete; a list of proposed back matter will suffice)

Page count: 32 (manuscripts aren’t required to be paginated)

How to submit: In the body of the email, please briefly describe your background/qualifications and note any previous publications; include your submission attached as a Word document (.doc or .docx). If you’re submitting text and photographs together, you may submit a PDF.

Send your submission to:

Deadline: Submissions will be accepted until May 1, 2018.

To get a sense of topics and writing styles that have worked well for the imprint, I recommend taking a look at the following books. (Three of the four of these are picture books, but this particular call is not for books with art; the focus is solely on photographs.)

Handle with Care by Loree Griffin Burns, photos by Ellen Harasimowicz

Water Can Be . . . by Laura Purdie Salas

Plants Can’t Sit Still by Rebecca E. Hirsch

Bone by Bone by Sara Levine

Questions? Please leave a comment on this post, and I’ll respond!

For more posts by Carol Hinz, click here.

42 thoughts on “Open Call for K-3 Nonfiction Submissions

  1. Margaret Albertson

    Are you limiting this call for submissions to STEM? Would you consider STEAM? Thank you. Dr. Margaret E. Albertson.

    1. carolhinz

      Hi, Margaret! I’m open to STEAM as well. The key thing for me is that the manuscript needs to incorporate some element of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics along with a playful or unusual approach.

  2. Lisa Gerin

    Hi, Carol. I have a ms. that tells about different species of dinos in a playful, rhymed way for grades K to 3. It’s 315 words. Does this sound like something you’d be interested in? Thank you.

    1. carolhinz

      Hi, Lisa! This ms. sounds better suited to artwork than to photos, so I’d say it’s not the right for this particular open call. Thanks for asking!

  3. rochellegwrites

    Hi, Carol. My jaw dropped when I saw photos of mounds that termites build…it is a feat that combines science with engineering, as many architects have used the termite model to improve a building’s ventilation. Anyway, I’ve been working on a “This is the House that Jack Built” approach that relays this info. Does this sound like a potential fit for your needs? Thanks for your time and consideration!

    1. carolhinz

      Hi, Rochelle! As long as it would work well with photos accompanying the text, you’re welcome to send it my way. (I’d say if there’s a “main character” termite akin to Jack, that might be tough with photos. Additionally, photos showing the details of termite mound construction you describe in the text also need to exist.)

      1. rochellegwrites

        Great–thanks for your speedy reply! It is photo-based without a character, as the pics are what makes the info crawl off the page (couldn’t help myself:) ).

    1. carolhinz

      Sure! If you have 2 or 3 manuscripts you think are well suited, that’s fine by me. Please submit each manuscript in a separate email.

    1. carolhinz

      I’m checking in with our IT department and will report back; it was working earlier today.

      1. Suzanne Alexander

        Thank you, Carol, for having your IT department fix the email problem. I re-sent my query and manuscript, and all seems well now.

  4. nationaldogweekbook

    Hi Carol – I sent in a ms titled “Our Secret Cenote Adventure” (Please change that My to Our) about a day and evening spent in a special “swimming hole” called a cenote and its unique eco-system. If you’ve ever seen a photograph of a cenote, you’ll understand how mysterious and intriguing they are. I was fortunate to experience one several years ago in Mexico. I’ve included a Spanish Glossary for the species and sites experienced during the Cenote Adventure. Don’t know if it suits your needs, but it would be in the genre of Earth Science.

  5. Connie Anne Hellyer

    Carol, Are you open to narrative non-fiction? Mine is a 530 wd. true-to-life story, plus ample back matter.

    1. carolhinz

      Any nonfiction text structure (including narrative) is fair game. Just as long as the text can be accompanied by photos!

  6. Freda Lewkowicz

    Hi Ms. Hinz. Would you consider a PB biography on Leonard Cohen that focuses on adversity, failing and overcoming obstacles, being bold, and pretty much embracing the old Timex watch motto of ” takes a licking and keeps on ticking” as STEAM? Thank you.

    1. carolhinz

      Hi Freda, what you describe doesn’t sound like a good fit for this particular call for submissions. Thanks you for your interest!

  7. Meline Scheidel

    Hello, I have a manuscript about an insect nymph (dragonfly) and I have kept her identity a surprise until the end and want to know if that is something that would be of interest? Nonfiction/mystery. Also, I feel this life cycle and survivial story can be used in early elementary possibly to assist teachers in lessons dealing with the difference between complete metamorphosis and incomplete.

    1. carolhinz

      Hi, Meline! As long as the manuscript you describe could potentially be illustrated with photographs, you’re welcome to submit it for this open call. Thank you!

  8. Lindsey

    Hi Carol, I submitted one of my books, but I do have a second. Do you accept multiple submissions?

    1. carolhinz

      Hi, Lindsey. Yes, that’s fine. I just ask that you submit each manuscript in a separate message.

  9. Bonni

    Hi Carol, When you say “back matter doesn’t need to be complete; a list of proposed back matter will suffice,” would you be a bit more specific? Do you mean something like a bullet list of topics to be included; or a bibliography; or something else? What do you consider a suitable/sufficient list? Thanks!

    1. carolhinz

      Hi Bonni, thanks for your question! A bullet point list of what would be in the back matter (e.g. additional facts, glossary, further reading, and selected bibliography) would do the trick.

    1. carolhinz

      Hi Brigitte, as long as the photos meet our quality specs, it’s fine if they’ve been posted on a website. Thanks for asking!

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