Writing for Children's Magazines
Want to have a manuscript waiting when you get tired of writing on a big story, say a book? I like to have several things going at once. When I wear out on one, I go to another.
Secret about me? I don’t like to create first drafts of anything. They’re hard, I don’t always know what the “thread” is yet, and doing first drafts makes my head hurt. So, if I have an article that’s past the first draft stage, I can move away from the brain-draining work of a first draft and relax into something more fun for a few moments.
A Bridge and Kite for Cricket "Old Cricket Says"
Sep 2012. pp 44.
A construction company had a contract to build the first suspension bridge over Niagara Falls. They were ready to start but could not figure out how to get the first cable across the deep, roaring rapids. A kite contest was held during Canada/New York's freezing winter of 1848 to see whose kite could carry the cable across. Homan Walsh and the kite he built won the contest, and the construction company completed the bridge on time.
A Home for Home on the Range for Cricket magazine.
Jul/Aug 2012. pp 24-27
Webster Higley wrote a poem called "My Western Home". His friend added a tune and changed the title to "Home on the Range". It become the most famous cowboy song, known by music lovers all over the world.
Sunflowers for Hopscotch for Girls magazine.
Jun/Jul 2011. pp 22-23.
I used a “thread” of Kansas sunflowers for this article. It has information about the history of sunflowers and the many ways they have been used over the years, but the focus is on the state flower of Kansas—sunflowers.
Gordon Parks: Bigger than LIFE for Cricket magazine.
Feb 2008. pp 34-39.
This shadows Gordon Parks’s life from his birth in small town Kansas to his joining the photographic staff at LIFE magazine. He overcame racial barriers and artificial obstacles meant to stop him to become a world-famous photographer, film maker, and writer.
Neon Artist for Boys’ Quest magazine.
Dec/Jan 2006. pp 2-3.
Fred Elliott turned a neon-sign business into art. He tells how he used gases, glass sticks, and heat to make his own profile, a neon guitar, and a slinky made of 40, 36-inch circles of yellow lights.
The Fall of a President for Boys’ Quest magazine.
Aug/Sep 2005. pp 10-11.
This is the story of President Richard Nixon’s resignation, what led up to it, and what he did while president. “I have never been a quitter,” he said. He wished his job could have ended another way.
Secret Career for Hopscotch for Girls magazine.
Jun/Jul 2005. pp 10-11
Emma Edmonds wanted to serve in the Civil War. She cut her hair, put on boy’s clothes, and as Franklin Thompson, became a Union soldier. She asked to be a spy and disguised herself again—first as a Confederate slave and then as a Mr. Charles Mayberry in a suit and tie. She completed eleven spy missions before she became ill with malaria. She ran away to get treatment. Franklin Thompson was declared a deserter, which upset her terribly. She told her secret and asked the War Department to review her case. In the end, she was given an honorable discharge.
Overalls for Aprons for Highlights magazine.
This is the story of women going to work during World War II when many of America’s men were sent to the military. Thelma Baldock joined them by going to Portland, Oregon, to take training to be a welder. She welded tanker ships that were sent overseas.
Articles I'm working on
Swedish communities celebrate the life and story of St. Lucia each December 13. Beginning about 250 A.D. and several times throughout the years, she mysteriously arrived on ships in Italy and Sweden. Dressed in white with a wreath of candles on her head, she delivered food to hungry people. This article tells about fourth-grader Elise Nelson being chosen as St. Lucia for an annual celebration in the Swedish community Lindsborg, Kansas.
Writing for newspapers
Seal Sitters for Lindsborg News-Record.
May 18, 2017. p 5.
Karin Cumming joined SSMMSM (Seal Sitters Marine Mammal Stranding Network) in 2012. The organization schedules a network of volunteers who agree to be on call for a few hours at a time. When a seal in Seattle’s Puget Sound “hauls out” (leaves the water) for some reason, and they are found on the shore, a rescuer is alerted until further help arrives. The rescuer keeps onlookers at a safe distance, assesses the situation, and calls for help if needed. Karin loves the cute little fellows—”big eyes, charming personalities, 12 to 18 pounds,” she says. The SSMMSM goal is to provide protection if they are sunning, aid if they are injured, and prepare them for their way to adulthood. West Seattle has become a hot spot for seal pups to snooze and sun themselves. More than 200 sightings per year are reported. Karin is grateful for SSMMSM, their rescue goals, and their chance to educate the public about seals’ habits.
Healing with Compassion for Smoky Hills Currents
Fall, 2018. pp 5-11.
David Atherton, veterinarian, realizes that his work is about people as much as it is about animals. “When a special pet dies, the owner often grieves as much as if a family member had passes on,” he says. “It’s hard for us, too, going through the steps to do an euthanasia procedure, even if the animals had been suffering for some time. It’s an emotional ride for all of us.” Another side is seeing pets grieve the loss of their owners. The Athertons, Dave and his wife, Anne, match an abandoned pet with new owners when they can. “We have one woman who adopts only older animals. She picks up the slack, and we appreciate her,” Anne says. People have become more important members of their families and are cared for more extensively than in the past. Dave does more surgeries, more prevention, and gives more support when a pet has fulfilled its life. “I think I can make my goal of being in business for 45 years,” he says.