Knowonder! A Wonderful Opportunity for Parents and Children's Writers

Thursday, September 15, 2011
knowonder! is an online magazine that has been in existence since 2009. Our goal is to provide a quality story daily for children ages 3 to 10.

Jane Johnson is the editor of the magazine, and she had this to say: As the editor at this magnificent children’s magazine, I have the pleasure of working with founder Phillip Chipping as we search through submissions looking for creative stories that will encourage imagination and wonder in children. I’ve always loved reading and telling stories to my own children. As a special education teacher I get to read with amazing kids every day. I love it when a story engages them, holds their attention, provokes conversation. My original bachelor’s degree is in English literature. I love to read; some of my favorite characters include Stanley Yelnats, Silas Marner, a little known Harry and his friends Ron and Hermione, Mr. Bennet, and many other men and all of the women created by Jane Austen.

WOW: Jane, welcome to The Muffin. knowonder! provides a FREE story daily to read aloud or with children ages 3 to 10. How do parents access this story? Are there illustrations with it?

Jane: Stories can easily be accessed at; or if parents join our e-mail list on the “join us” tab, we’ll e-mail the stories to them each day. I hope they’ll have a look around our site. They will find more worthy reading under the “For You by You” tab, and artwork and stories from children under the “By Kids for Kids” section.

Our stories will include one illustration. We’re glad to use illustrations submitted by the author if they are well done like the Tucker the Turtle illustration on day two of September’s issue. We even link to other works by the artist.

WOW: What type of stories are on knowonder!? Are they all different genres?

Jane: Absolutely! We will consider sci-fi, fantasy, realistic fiction, and any other original work of fiction. We are looking for really fun stories with lots of action, humor, suspense, and other elements of quality fiction. We want our writers to create imaginative works of art; stories with plenty of description, imagery, simile, metaphor, alliteration, and my personal favorite-- onomatopoeia. We want to give parents plenty of wonderful words and sensational sentences that flow together smoothly as they read them aloud, plenty of opportunity to really get into the characters in the story and have fun with their children while reading with expression. We will only occasionally print non-fiction. We’ve had a few submissions that treat a non-fiction topic cleverly disguised as fiction, and we are seriously considering including them. We are having a load of fun seeing what comes out of the creative minds of those who submit. We will also print first chapters of books and link to places where the rest of the book can be purchased, just as we did with the story on day eleven this month.

WOW: What a great opportunity for a children's book author! You are looking for writers to write these stories. Please give us some tips on how to get a story accepted at knowonder!.

Jane: Make me smile! Make me cry! Make me laugh! I’m a teacher and a child at heart still. If you have the basics of grammar and composition down, and can incorporate the elements I’ve described above, you’ll hold my interest to the end of the tale. Then, if you’ve really created a good plot that flows well, following the rules of POV and tense, you’re one step further. My favorite thing, though, is when an author creates a character that I absolutely love! One that children can relate to. I have six children, and have spent very few days of my life away from children. Children want to have fun. One of my favorite sounds is the sound of a child’s giggle. Make them giggle, and you’ve got a great story! What we don’t want to see at knowonder! are preachy, didactic works that come completely from the adult who has lost the essence of childhood. Also, if you are going to write about something like relationships or moving or any other possibly overdone topic, please do it with a twist. Add some flair!! Lastly, please show-don’t-tell! If I read, “The boy was sad,” I’m probably going to stop reading. What did he do to show me he was sad? Cry? Turn his head away with a tear in his eye? Show me, don’t tell me.

WOW: Thank you for those specific tips! You are not a paying market, so what benefits do you offer writers?

Jane: A few years ago when I first heard about knowonder! magazine, I was thrilled! I remember thinking: What an innovative fun idea!! Genius! So many of us have stories inside us wriggling to get out! Mr. Phillip Chipping, founder of knowonder!, had the incredible idea to not only provide a story a day to read aloud to children, but also the wonderful idea to provide a place for writers to publish their work. Phillip’s dream is to keep this magazine free so that as many children as possible can have access to it. We hope those who submit will feel as strongly about literacy as we do. Many years ago, parents, children, grandparents, and friends would gather around and tell stories, share experiences, and weave fantastic tales. At knowonder!, we hope to keep this practice alive. Of course, we offer the benefit of two contests to our writers, as well. Hopefully, that will spur them on until the day that knowonder! is making enough money to pay each and every writer for the stories that are published. That is our goal.

WOW: That's a great philosophy. Literacy is the key to life! Please share information about your two writing contests.

Jane: These contests make it even more fun to have a story published on knowonder! Each month, we have a People’s Choice award; the story that receives the most comments and/or links within the first seven days of its printing will be awarded a $100.00 prize. For the Editor’s Choice award, we will choose one story a month also; our favorite or the favorite of a guest editor will be chosen and receive $100.00. We are hoping to hear from authors and editors who would like to serve as guest editor. Our payment to them will be links to their work and websites. All the guidelines and more info on the contests can be found at

WOW: What wonderful opportunities you provide for writers (and readers!). If writers are interested in submitting to you, where can they find submission guidelines? Do you accept e-mail submissions?

Jane: Submission guidelines can be found here, , or by going to and clicking on the submissions tab. We do accept e-mail submissions. I’d like to draw attention again to the "For You by You" and "By Kids for Kids" sections. We’re looking for all kinds of submissions and the guidelines, can be found here at the submissions tab.

WOW: Thank you, Jane, for sharing this information with our readers! Is there anything else you would like to add about knowonder!?

Jane: We hope you will all become daily readers at knowonder! Share our site with the children in your lives, and spread the word to everyone you know who loves to read to children. As a school teacher, I know that many times children are expected to read twenty minutes per night or so. Reading at knowonder! may invoke various emotions, spur conversations, or be so much fun, kids and adults alike will enjoy fulfilling that requirement for homework with us! There are so many agencies, groups, clubs, etc. that talk about the importance of reading twenty minutes each day. We are talking the talk and walking the walk. We are not only talking about it--we are going to the next step by enabling it. We hope you join us.

Also, for writers, you may find a home for your short story at knowonder! We print more stories than any other children’s magazine out there. A story a day! Please submit your best woven work. We’ll be looking forward to reading the stories you’ve masterfully spun!

WOW: Thank you so much, Jane; it has been a pleasure interviewing you. I am so glad you told us about knowonder! I hope some of our readers are already thinking about what stories to e-mail you.

This interview was conducted by Margo L. Dill. If you are interested in writing for children's magazines like knowonder!, Margo teaches an online class on writing for children: short stories, articles, and fillers through WOW!'s classroom. The next start date is September 29, and this fall there is a discounted price of $25 off the regular classroom fee. For more information or to register, please click here:


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