Are you an independent author looking for the best children’s book publishers to submit your work to?
Of all the types of book out there, children’s books are never going away. There will always be a demand for fresh books aimed at youngsters in schools, libraries, and homes.
Related: How to Write a Children’s Book
Finding the right book publisher for your book requires research. Do you like the company’s background and values? Does the publisher have a good reputation for publishing books similar to your own? When you browse their catalog, can you imagine your book alongside the others you see?
To help you find the best children’s book publisher for your work, we’ve gathered together a list of 33 publishers open to submissions from unagented authors.
Abdo Publishing started as a small, family-based company based in Minnesota back in 1985. Since then, Abdo has evolved to become one of the biggest providers of educational publishing in America. Abdo Publishing features a wide range of books including picture books, graphic novels, and young adult fiction.
To submit to Abdo, you need to be a fiction author as the publisher isn’t interested in nonfiction at this time. Abdo is looking for proposals related to fiction series consisting of four books. You should send an overview of the series, outlines for the four books, and a few sample chapters from book one.
Albert Whitman & Company
Albert Whitman states that its mission is to offer books that are not only worthy of winning an award, but also treat readers with care and respect. The ultimate aim of an Albert Whitman & Company book is to help young readers develop their intellect and emotional maturity.
You can submit to Albert Whitman if you have a manuscript or proposal for a picture book, middle-grade fiction, or a young adult novel.
Annick Press started out back in 1975. They are an indie publisher based in Toronto, Canada. Some of the titles published by Annick include The Paper Bag Princess which has sold over 7 million copies across the globe. If you’re interested in children’s book publishers with a track record of publishing successful books, this is one of them. Books offered by Annick have the ultimate aim of helping a child develop their inner resources and encouraging them to contribute to their community.
Annick welcomes submissions from authors of picture books, middle-grade fiction, young adult fiction, and non-fiction for young readers of any age. The company is inclusive and particularly welcomes submissions from authors of color, authors with disabilities, and authors who identify as LGBTQ2SIA+.
Arbordale Publishing offers young people books that are both educational and fun. Their educational focus is on encouraging a love of STEM topics in their readers. Books published by Arbordale combine a fun but educational story with a practical exercise section at the end to help consolidate learning.
Arbordale is looking for submissions that are in harmony with its STEM focus. If you’re interested in publishing with Arbordale, read their guidelines carefully, as they break down exactly what they do and don’t want. If you are accepted by Arbordale, you will receive a small advance against your future royalties.
August House has a unique angle on children’s book publishing. Their focus is on books based around the folk and oral storytelling traditions of the world. August champions diversity and proudly features writers from every corner of the globe. Over three decades of experience and a large number of prestigious publishing awards are testament to their success.
You can submit to August House if you have a book for young people that fits with their focus on folklore and oral tradition. Illustrators are also invited to submit to August House.
Boyds Mills Press
Boyds Mills has over thirty years of experience offering books of various types to young readers. The children’s book publishing company doesn’t have a particular philosophical focus and offers a wide mixture of different titles. However, they state that all their books have the fundamental focus of providing information and entertainment, no matter the age of the reader.
You can see the submissions page for Boyds Mills here. They only open up for submissions periodically, so be sure to check back if they aren’t accepting new books when you check them out.
Candlewick Press started back in the early 90s, originally offering top-quality picture books before expanding to offer many different genres for young readers. It is one of the more commonly known children’s book publishers today. Candlewick are proud of their commitment to truly independent publishing and helping their authors and illustrators to produce books that young readers love.
Candlewick accepts submissions from both authors and illustrators. Sometimes, the company states that they aren’t interested in manuscript or art submissions at a particular time, so be sure to check back if you notice that.
Cardinal Rule Press
Cardinal Rule Press is a traditional publisher based out of Southeast Michigan. The company has a strong ethical focus, stating that their titles aim to inspire children to be hopeful and courageous as well as promoting the Golden Rule.
If you want to submit to Cardinal Rule Press, they have a window open until February 1st, 2021. It is unknown when their next submission period will be after the current one ends.
Charlesbridge aims to serve young readers through books that focus on positivity, wonder, and fun. Titles from Charlesbridge aim to engage young readers by encouraging lifelong learning and further activities within the classroom and home.
If you are interested in publishing with Charlesbridge, you need to submit a digital manuscript as they are not interested in receiving hard copies.
Chicago Review Press
Chicago Review Press has been active in the independent publishing world for almost 50 years. The company currently has over 1000 titles in print and aims to encourage diversity and inclusivity by championing minority authors of various racial, gender, and disability backgrounds.
If you have a children’s book that is not a picture book, you are eligible to submit to Chicago Review Press. They suggest sending a query rather than a manuscript initially.
Chronicle is an independent publisher focusing on a wide range of products including books but also journals, desk accessories, and calendars. Chronicle Books offers titles to readers of all ages but also has a dedicated kids and teens imprint. They are a San Francisco publisher that also has a base in London.
To submit to Chronicle, you need to send a physical paper submission. The company isn’t interested in receiving digital submissions, unlike many of the other children’s book publishers.
David Fickling Books
David Fickling Books used to be part of Scholastic and later Random House but is now a fully independent book publisher. The company’s values are based around freedom, flexibility, and a commitment to embracing new technology. David Fickling Books offers titles from major authors including Philip Pullman.
Sometimes, David Fickling Books closes their submissions process to authors without agents. Check out their guidelines and reach out to them to make sure.
Flashlight Press is based around the simple mission of providing books shining a light on family and social situations aimed at young readers. The company has a small core team of six people but offers a wide catalog of books, including many award winners.
Flashlight Press welcomes submissions from both authors and artists. If you have a fictional children’s picture book, reach out to Flashlight and see if it’s a good fit.
Flying Eye Books
Flying Eye Books is an imprint of Nobrow aimed at younger readers. The publisher’s main objective is to offer beautifully designed reads based on visual content for children. Flying Eye not only translates their own books into international languages to serve young readers across the globe but also translates the work of international authors to be enjoyed by the Anglosphere.
If you think your book is a good fit for the Flying Eye and Nobrow approach to publishing, you should check out their submission guidelines. Unlike a lot of other children’s book publishers, Flying Eye promises they will get in touch even if you are rejected.
Free Spirit Publishing
Free Spirit Publishing is a children’s book company with a purpose. They aim to do more than entertain young readers with their books – they also want to equip them with the information and skills they need to navigate the difficult moments in life, such as facing bullying and building self-esteem. Former teacher Judy Galbraith founded Free Spirit in 1983 to fill the gap she noticed for books that aimed to nurture young people.
Free Spirit Publishing is open for submissions for both educator resources and children’s and teen books. Check out their guidelines to see if your book is a good fit.
Hogs Back Books
Hogs Back Books is based out of Wiltshire, England, and offers a mixture of books for younger readers of various ages. At this time, Hogs Back features picture books for the youngest readers out there, books for readers up to the age of 14, and fiction for teenagers. It is a children’s book publisher that caters to various age levels.
If you have a suitable book aimed at readers of 10 years old or younger, you can check out Hogs Back Books’ submissions guidelines PDF here.
Holiday House has a special place on this list as it is the oldest publisher in America to focus solely on books for younger readers. The company started offering children’s books back in 1935 and hasn’t looked back since. As well as offering books for children and young adults, Holiday House publishes a series of books for people just learning to read titled I Like to Read.
You can check out the full Holiday House submissions guidelines here. They are looking for full manuscripts rather than summaries and are open to physical or digital submissions.
Immedium is a children’s book publisher that aims to inspire young readers to fall in love with reading, writing, and illustration to the extent they go on to produce their own creative work. The company is based in San Francisco and features a lot of titles with an Asian-American focus, such as books exploring the Chinese Zodiac.
If you are an author or an illustrator, you can submit your work to Immedium. You will need to send a physical copy of your manuscript or art as digital submission is not available.
Kane Miller offers children’s books that reflect the diversity of the world and aim to explore and celebrate cultural similarities and differences alike. The publisher has a wide selection of titles, featuring everything from books for babies through to a series of official Bear Grylls books for young readers.
You can submit either artwork or a full manuscript to Kane Miller. Submissions are by email only and Kane Miller aims to respond within 10 to 14 weeks.
Kids Can Press
Kids Can Press is based in Canada and has offered socially responsible children’s books since 1973. At this time, Kids Can has a catalog featuring over 600 titles. Some of the themes found in Kids Can books are impressive, tackling issues such as unconscious racial bias in an understandable way that young minds can grasp.
You can submit your work to Kids Can Press via mail. Kids Can have put out a statement saying their offices are closed until after the pandemic is over, so reach out to them for confirmation of when they will reopen.
Lee & Low Books
Lee & Low Books describes itself as the largest publisher of diversity-focused books for children in the United States. Since 1991, Lee & Low has published books with a particular focus on supporting minority-Ethnic artists and unpublished writers. Their stories focus on modern, contemporary topics that are intended for every child to enjoy, no matter their background.
Although Lee & Low does accept unagented submissions from time to time, they currently do not. You can still get in touch via an agent or make contact directly at a writing conference. Lee & Low also encourage writers to start a relationship by entering one of their writing contests.
Little Tiger Press
Little Tiger Press is a British-based children’s book publisher with over three decades of experience. The company’s mission is to offer young people children’s books of the highest quality to encourage a lifelong love of reading. Little Tiger’s books aim to offer an amusing, meaningful, and imaginative experience for young people.
You can submit to Little Tiger Press if you’re an author or an illustrator. Take the time to check out their various imprints to find the best fit for your idea.
Mighty Media Press
Mighty Media Press is an imprint of the wider Might Media company. The company states its mission is to equip young people with everything they need to become exceptional grownups. Mighty Media uses a wide range of formats to reach younger readers, including ebooks, audiobooks, and graphic novels.
Submitting to Mighty Media is a very selective process. They state that they publish six books out of the thousands of submissions they receive each year. Check out their guidelines carefully to stand the best chance of acceptance.
Page Street Publishing
Page Street Publishing is based just outside of Boston and has been in business since 2012. Page Street has an incredibly strong focus on socially-conscious practices, such as using soy-based ink to protect the environment. As well as offering some books for adult readers, Page Street has dedicated picture book and Young Adult divisions.
Page Street accepts both agented and unagented submissions. Read their guidelines carefully as there is a slightly different process for children’s books, young adult fiction, and nonfiction.
Pants On Fire Press
Pants On Fire Press is a boutique publisher that offers titles to middle-grade and young adult readers. They publish on a traditional basis, offering royalties and no charges to authors, unlike the vanity press model. Pants On Fire also offers author services in addition to their traditional publishing activities.
If you are looking to submit to Pants On Fire, read their guidelines carefully to make sure you meet their criteria. You will need to send an initial query via email rather than a full manuscript.
Peachtree Publishing Company
Peachtree Publishing Company is a Georgia-based publisher. They have been offering books since 1977. Peachtree started as a way to feature local Southern writers and originally focused on mature readers before switching emphasis to offer books for young people of all ages. While some children’s book publishers focus on one age group, this is a good option if you’re interested in writing for various ages.
You can submit either manuscripts or artwork to Peachtree. Sometimes, they are only interested in receiving work from authors with agents, so be sure to check.
Phaidon is a fairly highbrow publisher that mainly features adult books covering topics such as art, architecture, and fashion. However, they also publish children’s books. Their children’s titles cover everything from typical stories through to more unusual offerings like a children’s guide to Jackson Pollock.
Phaidon considers submissions for board books, novelty books, and picture books aimed at the 0-8 age bracket.
Really Decent Books
Really Decent Books is a British-based publisher that focuses on titles for younger readers, such as babies, toddlers, and young children. Really Decent titles feature at major book fairs including London, Frankfurt, and Bologna. The company has a strong environmental focus in its supplies and processes.
You can reach out to Really Decent Books if you have an idea for an illustrated book. They aim to reply within 3-4 weeks.
Sleeping Bear Press
Sleeping Bear Press started just before the new millennium with a single title. The books published by Sleeping Bear aim to educate younger readers while also entertaining them. Sleeping Bear Press offers books suitable for grade levels ranging from Preschool through to Grade 8.
To submit to Sleeping Bear Press, you are required to send a full manuscript via email as a Word document. Sleeping Bear replies to authors around six months after submission if they are interested in taking things forward.
Tilbury House Publishers
Tilbury House Publishers has over 40 years of experience publishing titles for both young and grownup readers. Nowadays, the company’s focus is on offering books for young readers that deal with important social topics such as tolerance, environmental concerns, and global empathy.
You can submit to Tilbury House if you have a full manuscript or an illustration portfolio. You should send full manuscripts via mail or you can reach out via email with an initial query if you’re interested in this children’s book publisher.
Tuttle Publishing is one of the oldest publishers on this list, celebrating its 70th anniversary back in 2018. The company is based in both Vermont and Tokyo and has a strong focus on Asia accordingly. As well as conventional children’s books, Tuttle has a strong focus on graphic novels, manga, and coloring books.
Tuttle encourages authors to submit a book proposal via either mail or email, although email is preferred. They will get back to authors within 3 months if interested, a shorter time period than many other publishers.
Versify is an imprint of HMH Books curated by award-winning author Kwame Alexander. Currently, their focus is on publishing picture books, novels, nonfiction, and poetry that celebrate and reflect the lives of all children. Versify states that they are proud to work with established and undiscovered talent alike.
You can submit to Versify if you have a full children’s book manuscript in line with the company’s values. New unsolicited submissions are currently closed due to Covid but will open up again after the pandemic settles down.
Workman Publishing offers a wide range of different books including a dedicated children’s book division. The company is headquartered in Greenwich Village, New York, but also has offices across the USA. Workman’s children’s books division publishes titles for kids of all ages, ranging from babies to titles for teens and young adults.
Workman allows authors to submit their book proposal via email. Although they welcome unsolicited children’s book proposals, they are not interested in receiving picture book submissions.
Should you use a traditional children’s book publisher or self-publish?
It’s no surprise that we advocate the independent route! But we genuinely feel there are superb reasons to go your way rather than working with a publisher.
If you choose the self-publishing path, you benefit from:
- Speed. You will have noticed that most of the publishers on this list take at least six months to respond to submissions! That’s not the time it takes to get your book out there. It’s the time it takes for them to even get back to you! Choosing to self-publish cuts out the waiting time entirely and lets you experience success sooner.
- Freedom. As a self-published children’s author, you have total creative freedom. You can ensure your book is exactly as you want it to be, and carry out its launch and marketing at a time that suits you.
- Income. When you self-publish, you receive a bigger slice of the royalties than you would from working with a traditional publisher.
If you want to learn more about what self-publishing looks like as a children’s book author, reach out to our friends at Self Publishing School! They have a brand new program that provides you with everything you need to experience serious levels of success.
Related: Self-Publishing Companies
Whether you choose the self-publishing route or end up publishing with one of the options in this guide, we wish you every success with your children’s book!
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