Writer's Guidelines

Sparkle is an exciting magazine designed especially for girls in the first through third grades. Sparkle is published by GEMS Girls’ Clubs (Girls Everywhere Meeting the Savior), an international ministry that starts Bible-based club programs in churches and Christian organizations. The mission of GEMS is to help bring girls everywhere into a living, dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ.

Sparkle Mission

Sparkle’s Mission is to help girls discover who God is and how He works in His world and their lives. We strive to give girls the building blocks to create a living and dynamic faith in Jesus Christ. The tagline is ‘Sparkling Jesus’ light into the world’.

Looking for the SHINE brightly guidelines?



Included in Sparkle

We are looking for stories, articles, quizzes, poems, games, puzzles, and crafts that are fresh, that present a realistic look at Christian life, and that cause young readers to see how God’s Word—His Truth—applies to their daily lives.

Each season, Sparkle dedicates its pages to the exploration of an Annual Theme. The next theme is Love Overflows (see below).

 Sparkle fills up quickly, so get your manuscripts in early. We read manuscripts each week. You can expect to hear from us within eight weeks.


Fiction: Our readers like stories with adventure, fantasy, and mystery—stories about animals or situations they can relate to in their daily interaction with family and friends. Stories should be realistic and need not always have a happily-ever-after ending. We do not publish stories with religious clichés. Length: 100-400 words

Nonfiction: Nonfiction articles about topics that interest our readers include: animals, activities, games, sports, music, famous people, interaction with family/friends/siblings, cross-cultural experiences, exciting service projects, and dealing with school work. Length: 100-400 words

Poetry: Sparkle publishes a limited number of poems per year. We prefer rhyming poems since they are convenient for early readers. Length: 5-15 lines



Introduction to the Theme

Each season Sparkle dedicates its pages to the exploration of an Annual Theme. The next theme is Love Overflows. Below you will find a summary of the theme as well as needs for each issue.

Theme Concept – Love Overflows

God loves you. It’s who He is. It’s what He does. He is love and the Source of all love! And when we accept His love and absorb its width, length, height, and depth, it radically changes the way we love. Knowing and seeing God’s love is the key to loving Him, each other, and everyone else. From the overflow of His love we love.

General submissions and submissions regarding Love Overflows will be accepted until January 2017. We are looking for a variety of fiction and non-fiction stories, activities, and sidebars that fit within the Love Overflows concept. For a month-to-month schedule of how the theme-related topics will be featured each month, check out the deadlines below.

Theme Verse

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and everyone else, just as ours does for you. 1 Thessalonians 3:12


  • To receive God’s lavish, personal, overflowing love for us. He calls us friend!
  • To live from the overflow of God’s love—loving God, family, friends, and everyone else.
  • To demonstrate an infectious love for one another through words, attitude, and actions.






Monthly Themes

Each month we will also be focusing on a specific quality good friends have. Submissions are not limited to these ideas—each issue will highlight a variety of fun, engaging truths—but we will be looking for articles that can touch on these ideas in subtle ways. We look forward to your creativity!

October 2016

Deadline: March 11, 2016

Theme: Friends Are Patient

Patient friends are good listeners, they wait their turn, and they think about what they are going to say before they say it. This issue will help girls see what patience looks like in friendship.


November 2016

Deadline: June 10, 2016

Theme: Friends Celebrate Together

We often save parties for holidays or birthday celebrations—but friends know how to celebrate when someone does well on a test or overcomes a big fear. This issue will help girls understand that friends find joy worth celebrating together!


December 2016

Deadline: July 11, 2016

Theme: Friends Encourage

In life there are ups and downs, but it’s the people closest to us that help us ride the waves. This issue will help girls understand how they can encourage their friends in hard times but also as they discover who God created them to be.


January 2017

Deadline: August 18, 2016

Theme: Friends Forgive

Relationships grow through shared experiences. Sometimes those experiences are happy and other times a friend might feel let down or betrayed. In this issue girls will learn that a good friend forgives but knows how to set healthy boundaries if a friendship isn’t mutually loving and respectful.


February 2017

Deadline: September 8, 2016

Theme: Friends Love

The Bible tells us a friend loves at all times. This issue will break down what that looks like in the lives of 1st through 3rd graders and give tips for helping girls love their friends.


March 2017

Deadline: October 6, 2016

Theme: Friends Are Inclusive/Accepting

Good friends understand how important it is to feel accepted and loved—that’s why they don’t turn people away from their friend groups. This issue will help girls see the joy in including others in their friend groups and activities.





Criteria for Selection of Manuscripts:

Submissions to Sparkle are selected based upon the following criteria:

  • The manuscript must fit within the Sparkle
  • The submission applies Scripture to everyday life.
  • The ability to incorporate cultural issues while still holding to Biblical truths.
  • The ability to relate to the reader and encourage her to apply concepts, life lessons, skills, and experiences to her own life.
Preparing Your Manuscript
  • On the first page put your name, address, phone number, word count, the issue and topic you are submitting, as well as the rights offered.
  • Indicate fiction or nonfiction.
  • Include desired byline.
  • Give sources for all statistical information or quoted material.
Basis for Rejection of Material
  1. Does not show girls how God is at work in their lives and the world around them.
  2. Too young or too old for readers in grades 1-3.
  3. Simplistic, unrealistic, too predictable, or the theological perspective differs too greatly from our own.
  4. Does not fit our themes.
  5. Duplication of material already published or submitted.
  6. Editorial needs filled.
  7. Limited need for poetry.
  8. Inept writing—poor opening, transitions, grammar. Lacks the drama or crisis that appeals to our readers.
Submitting Your Manuscript

To honor God by being responsible stewards of His creation, we are no longer accepting mailed submissions. Thank you for helping us reduce unnecessary paper waste. Together we can make a difference!

Please place your manuscript within the body of an email. Do not send attachments. Email: sparkle@gemsgc.org

Query: We do not accept queries. Please submit a completed manuscript for consideration.

Compensation: Compensation for all pieces published in Sparkle is made upon publication. Fiction and nonfiction writers receive 3-5¢ per word up to $35.00 depending on length, quality, and rights. (See below for the list of rights.) Poetry receives $5.00 to $15.00 depending on length, quality, and rights. Games and puzzles are paid from $5.00 to $15.00. All published writers receive two copies of the issue in which their piece is published.

Editing Privileges: The editorial staff of Sparkle reserves the right to edit any accepted manuscript. This is done with a conscious effort to preserve both the writer’s style and the intent of material. If editing is extensive, the edited manuscript will be submitted to the author prior to publication.

Rights: We purchase the following rights:

  • First North American Rights—The author retains copyright, and may submit the manuscript for publication elsewhere after it appears in Sparkle. Sparkle has first time printing rights.
  • Second Rights—Rates are for a previously published article. Author must own copyright, or submit proof of permission to resell from the copyright owner.
  • Simultaneous Rights—The author must notify publisher that the submitted article is being offered in another market that should not overlap our readership.



For a Sample Copy of Sparkle

You may write for a sample copy of Sparkle.
Please enclose $1.00 and a 9 x 12 inch self-addressed stamped envelope.

Mail to: Sparkle
Attn: Hannah/Sample Copy Request
1333 Alger St. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49507