This is the 1st of your 3 free articles

Become a member for unlimited website access and more.

FREE TRIAL Available!

Learn More

Already a member? Sign in to continue reading

Literary Spotlight: Faces

This magazine thrills young readers with stories from around the world.

Add to Favorites

Faces Magazine, part of Cricket Media, attracts readers between 9 and 14 years old with innovative and surprising stories about people, places, and traditions worldwide. Editor Elizabeth Crooker looks for lively, diverse story angles full of what she calls “Megan moments,” named after her niece who was very young when Crooker started editing Faces.

“If I came across a detail in an article for the magazine that was really fun and really interesting, I’d call her up and tell her. I called them ‘Megan moments’ – bits of information we still love to include in every article, in every issue.”

Tone, editorial content

One of these “Megan moments” appears in the January 2022 issue of Faces, focused on Cairo. It’s an article about a motorcycle race through the Egyptian desert. “The finish line is in Cairo,” Crooker explains. “That’s fun because when you think of Cairo, you think pyramids, not motorcycles. I like to surprise readers with our topics. We always have at least one article in every issue that makes them say, ‘Oh, really? I didn’t know about that!’”

She appreciates many moments in Thomas Valenti’s article “The Electric Guitar: How It Changed Music (and the World),” which approached April 2021’s theme of “Rock On! The Power of Music.” “It wasn’t just another profile of a rock musician,” Crooker explains. “It was a profile of an instrument, and we had great visuals – photos of the three main types of electric guitars next to each other so kids could see the difference.”


The issue also looked at the history of rock and roll music in general, and how it’s endured, and why it’s still relevant. Valentini’s piece examined how, when instruments were all acoustic, they’d drown out the guitar. “The arrival of the electric guitar changed the way a band was formed. It became the focus of a rock band, and the music could focus on guitar solos,” Crooker explains. “It was a really neat article.”


Stacey Lane Smith wrote an article on the creation of Gatorade for the February 2021 issue of Faces. Titled “Sports Drinks: Healer or Hype?,” the piece delves into the history of the popular beverage. “The article examined the nuts and bolts of how Gatorade was created because people were losing potassium and salt while exercising,” Crooker explains. “Smith pointed out that you really don’t need to drink it unless you are actively participating in a sport. It was a really well-written article that touched on so many things we want our readers to know.”

The February 2021 issue, themed “Fun for All,” looks at the role games and sports play in civilizations and cultures worldwide. It includes Marcia Amidon Lusted’s piece “Girl Power! Title IX & Women in Sports,” as well as Rani Iyer’s piece “Checkmate,” about a world chess champion who plays a match against a computer. The “Bird is the Word” issue (2/20) features Deepa Jain’s “Caring for Wounded Winged Friends,” about people in New Delhi who help rehabilitate injured birds, as well as Felinda Villamor Bagas’ retelling of the myth “Birds of Philippine.”


Lusted has an article in the “Bird is the Word” issue that particularly impressed Crooker. Titled “Bird of Fire: Looking for the Phoenix,” the piece examines the mythological winged creature across countries. “It was really well-written and well-researched and a lot of fun,” Crooker explains. “The article touched on different cultures in which this bird regenerates.”

Advice for potential contributors

Crooker isn’t looking for straight history submissions. “We do include some history in our articles, but if we’re going to focus on New Zealand, for example, we want pieces on what life is like in New Zealand in the present day,” she explains. “We’re looking for how our readers’ peers are living in other regions of the world.”

Writers can visit the website for upcoming themes and submission deadlines. Crooker accepts queries only – no completed manuscripts. Give a sense of the subject and word count you’re proposing, and include a writing sample and a detailed one-page outline explaining what information you’ll include in the piece. In addition, she wants to see a complete bibliography of materials you’ll use in researching the story or article – primary resources and current scholarly articles.


Authentic voices are key. Interviews and quotes lend more credibility to your subject, Crooker explains. “If you’re writing about a holiday, interview somebody who celebrates the holiday,” she says. “This adds another layer to the story.”

She suggests that writers new to Faces break in with a pitch for a 500-word piece. “We’re more inclined to give new contributors a chance if they’re proposing a shorter article or story,” she says. “Have fun with your ideas,” she adds. “The places we cover in the magazine are so much fun. Imagine yourself as a 10-year-old, then ask what you’d want to know about a particular country, region, or topic.”


Faces at a glance

“Takes young readers around the world and back to get an honest and unbiased view of how children in other countries and world regions live.”


Reading period: Year-round

Genres: Nonfiction, fiction, recipes, hands-on projects

Length: 600-800 words

Submission format:  Email query (no complete manuscripts)

Payment: Varies

Contact: Editor Elizabeth Crooker, [email protected],


—Melissa Hart is the author, most recently, of Better with Books: 500 Diverse Books to Ignite Empathy and Encourage Self-Acceptance in Tweens and Teens (Sasquatch, 2019). Instagram: @writermelissahart