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Onceuponascrapers will be a collection of illustrated architectural children’s stories akin to “picture books” that narrate contemporary ideas about architecture and the built environment. We believe that the possibilities for architectural writing for all ages might be amplified by challenging the conventions and tone of voice of “grown-up” behavior.


The protagonists of many children’s books are nonhuman characters, including animals, objects, and even buildings that enact animate agency and active voice. Young children do not question the ostensible absurdity or frivolity that most adults ascribe to such “more-than-human” ways of understanding subjectivity. In this way, the very makeup of children’s literary content prompts a heightened awareness of architecture’s magical condition—that is, the perceptual misalignments between the real and the imaginary and the vital agency of built matter.


When it comes to the intersection of architecture and children’s literature, we’re inspired by books like Crockett Johnson’s Harold and Purple Crayon, Antoinette Portis’s Not a Box, and Virginia Lee Burton’s The Little House for example.


We invite you to riff on all of these literary tropes and narrative possibilities or invent your own! How might you craft a story to be read aloud to children, potentially inviting the adult reader to improvise ad lib embellishments or other performative enhancements?  How can picture books enable us to envision, engage, and entertain new and pleasurable worlds?


Submission Guidelines


Onceuponascrapers invites illustrated short fiction, nonfiction, fables, fairy tales, poetry, and plays, among many other formats borrowed from children’s literature. All submitted contributions must include illustrations or visual content in addition to text; we also welcome illustrated or visual narratives that operate without any text. Please send a complete manuscript, including all text and images/illustrations. Text should not exceed 500 words. We welcome collaborative teams of writers, illustrators, and/or architects or other creative disciplines. While selected manuscripts will go through a round of edits and revision, we will not accept abstracts or substantially incomplete manuscripts for this call for submissions.



Stories included in this issue of SOILED will be accessible to children (target ages 3–8) and equally engaging and entertaining for audiences of all ages. We are interested in “picture book”-style stories designed for children that will also captivate adults to think about and enjoy the built environment. The stories do not necessarily need to be “about” architecture but they must narrate compelling ideas about space, architecture, or the broader built environment.



Onceuponascrapers will be square format pages, approx. 10”x10” pages (20” x 10” spreads). The issue will be printed in two colors—cyan and a reddish hue. Exact Pantone selections TBA. Manuscripts should be submitted as a single, multi-page PDF, composed on square pages. Contributions should range from 10–24 pages (5–12 spreads).


All submissions must ensure that if selected, all image/illustration contents can be provided as individual digital files separated into layers that correspond to the two colors. Vector-based artwork should be submitted as Adobe Illustrator files and pixel-based artwork should be submitted as Photoshop files. All artwork must be high resolution at 300dpi appropriate for up to 10 ”x 10” pages.


For your manuscript PDF, use the file naming convention “LastName_FirstName_MANUSCRIPT.PDF”. If you are submitting as a collaborative team, use the file naming convention “LastName1_FirstName1+LastName2_LastName2_MANUSCRIPT.PDF”


Biographical Info

In addition to your manuscript, please submit the following biographical information as a Word document for each contributor on your team:

—A brief bio (50–75 words).

—Contact information (email address, and if applicable: website and instagram handle).

—How did you learn about SOILED?


For your biographical information, use the file naming convention “LastName_FirstName_BIO.docx”. If you are submitting as a collaborative team, use the file naming convention “LastName1_FirstName1+LastName2_LastName2_BIO.docx”



Please submit your content by Monday, July 8, 2019. Please include the word ‘submission’ in the subject line and attach texts and images as separate files. Submissions should be sent to:


Artists & Photographers

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