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 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 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 In His Steps (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 interactions 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 We do not publish stories with religious clichés.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: 200-500 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 issues relating to school. 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



Annual Theme: In His Steps

General submissions and submissions regarding In His Steps will be accepted until January 2018. We are looking for a variety of fiction and non-fiction stories, activities, and sidebars that fit within the In His Steps concept. For a month-to-month schedule of how the theme-related topics will be featured each month, see the deadlines below.

Theme Verse

Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. 1 John 2:6


  • To see Jesus—His character, life, and ways—with as much clarity as possible.
  • To learn how to live by listening to Jesus and acting on what He says.
  • To walk so close to Jesus we live as He did.






Monthly Themes

Each month we will also be focusing on a specific character quality of people who follow Jesus. 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 2017

Deadline: May 8, 2017

Theme: Forgiveness

Jesus taught us to forgive over and over and over again. He knew how restorative forgiveness is for our relationships! This issue will focus on helping girls understand what it means to forgive and how they can work toward forgiveness in their lives.


November 2017

Deadline: June 9, 2017

Theme: Honesty

Honesty is a good choice—even when it’s hard. When we follow Jesus, He invites us to be truthful. This issue will focus on how girls can be honest in the toughest situations.


December 2017

Deadline: July 10, 2017

Theme: Love and Inclusion

Jesus is the ultimate example of love. He taught us how to love and invites us to follow His example by loving everyone. This issue is all about teaching girls how to do just that!


January 2018

Deadline: August 17, 2017

Theme: Compassion/Justice

Jesus lived a life of compassion and He stood up for the people who were marginalized and treated unfairly. This issue will help girls break that down by explaining compassion and giving them instances in their own lives where they can act justly.


February 2018

Deadline: September 7, 2017

Theme: Relationships

Jesus was in constant communication with His Father. He prayed often and taught us to do the same. This issue will focus on relationships at home, school, and in the neighborhood. We will aim to show girls how they can strengthen the relationships they have and foster new ones.


March 2018

Deadline: October 5, 2017

Theme: Don’t Worry

This issue will focus on reminding girls that Jesus taught us not to worry. He invites us to trust Him instead! He promises to always take care of His children—loving then and being present with them. They can trust Him no matter what.





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