The 30 children’s book publishers below all have one important thing in common: they are accepting submissions directly from authors.
Since many children’s publishers only accept from agents, this list should save you hundreds of hours combing through the submission guidelines of every children’s publisher on earth. And here’s a bonus! You won’t even have to wait to get an agent.
I hope you enjoy this list and wish you good luck finding the right home for your manuscript.
They publish about 70 hardback children’s books a year, from toddlers all the way up to Young Adult.
You can find their submission guidelines on their website. They do mention that they don’t respond to submissions unless they are interested in the book. This might be disappointing not to hear back, but I know they are overwhelmed and at least they’re still accepting unsolicited submissions and not requiring an agent.
Sample Book: A boy and his grandfather have their lives changed by a mysterious circus.
This is a company with such a legacy and history that they have an entire book written all about it: Holiday House: The First Sixty-Five Years. I’ll save you the trouble of reading it: They’re an independent company that publishes children’s books only, specializing in hardback covers for ages 4 and up.
Submission Guidelines are here, but the essence is to mail your entire manuscript.
Editorial Department, Holiday House, 425 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10017.
- Noodlehead Nightmares
- Here is Big Bunny
They are looking for manuscripts about:
Additional submission guidelines are available on their website.
4. Ideals Books
They are looking for fiction and nonfiction children’s books. Although they are accepting a wide range of books, they are especially interested in these 3 categories:
Be careful of word count, since they prefer very short books: Board books (for the youngest readers) are limited to 250 words, while picture books are limited to 800 words.
- The Sparkle Egg
- My Grandpa and I
- Little Colt’s Palm Sunday
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Salariya is a British-based children’s book publisher that has three main imprints:
- Scribblers: For infants and babies
- Sample book: Black and White Animals
- Scribo: Slightly older children, and edging up into YA
- Sample book: a dragon series
- Book House: The main imprint, with categories for graphic novels, science and nature, history and mythology.
- Sample book: Egyptian Mummy Embalming Guide
They don’t list submission guidelines but invite writers to contact them through the email on their website (salariya AT salariya DOT com) to get more information about submitting.
Their writer’s guidelines say they are looking for stories where the main character is a person of color. It is a bonus if the stories include one of these 3 categories:
- non-traditional family structures (e.g. same sex parents)
- non-traditional gender identity (e.g. LGBTQ experiences)
- stories that feature a person with a disability
There are word limitations: manuscripts for fiction should be less than 1500 words and nonfiction books should be less than 3000.
They DO NOT want any illustrations (unless you are a professional illustrator).
Unfortunately, to submit here you’re going to have to shell out some money for printing and postage, because they only allow submissions by mail.
The biggest Canadian publisher of children’s books, Kids Can Press accepts manuscripts from Canadians, but not from children or teenagers. They’ve won five big literary awards in the last five years, and have a great track record of introducing new titles.
They are looking for picture books for children, and chapter books for kids age 7 – 10. They don’t want YA or fantasy novels.
- Franklin the Turtle
- Scaredy Squirrel
- The Busy Beaver
Although they are based in Britain, they accept queries and submissions by email:
enquiries AT hogsbackbooks DOT com
- 3 Silly Chickens
- Boris the Boastful Frog
- Croc on the Rock
Emailing for submission guidelines
They really pride themselves on crafting an excellent-made book, and although they do publish e-books as well, all other books are “a library-bound hardcover edition, side-sewn, and reinforced with cotton drill.”
- Ace Your Creative Writing Project
- Todd Goes for the Goal
Eklavya is a NGO (non-governmental organization) based in Indian trying to get books into the hands of children. By submitting here you not only have the chance to get your manuscript published, you also have the chance to do a good deed and help children who need help the most.
They are looking for educational books that will help teach children basic principles of life, science and healthiness.
They specialize in children’s flip books and picture story books. You don’t need to be writing in their language to submit a manuscript — they will translate it from the English. If you look at the sample titles below, you’ll see most of them feature animals as the main characters.
Submitting is as easy as uploading a manuscript.
- Rangy, the Mangy Dog
- How Pranov Went to School
- Bumboo: The Donkey Who Would Not Budge (Winner of the Hindu Goodbooks Award)
David Fickling books does not accept unsolicited manuscripts on a rolling basis, but they do have an annual contest in which authors can submit their book for a chance to win a publication and a publishing contract.
This is their contest page, called Master of the Inkpot Competition — check back here for the submission details. Even if they don’t end up choosing your manuscript, they announce five finalists, and that’s the kind of press which might help get your manuscript accepted at another publisher.
They used to be an imprint of Scholastic, then of Random House, and now they’re independent. They describe themselves as “nimble,” which means they’re flexible enough to market your book in many creative, unorthodox ways.
Sample Titles: (They have a great nose for adventurous titles, ones that sound exciting)
- Superbot and the Terrible Toy Destroyer
- Vikings in the Supermarket
11. Candlewick Press
They occasionally open up submissions, although for most of the year it’s closed. Check their website to see whether they are seeking unsolicited submissions at the moment. When they are open, they do not accept online submissions.
They are an independent publisher (if you can’t tell by now, most corporate publishers don’t accept unsolicited submissions, while most independent publishers do. So if you don’t have an agent, you’re most likely looking for an independent publisher for your children’s book).
In the last two decades, they brag that they’ve won 2,000 awards. Bookfox is not going to try to fact-check that. They have a backlist of 3,000 books and a staff of 100. If you’re going to go for an independent publisher, this is one of the biggest.
They specialize in Middle Grade, but also have YA.
- Beowulf (and other classic stories visually interpreted and retold)
Their submission guidelines say that they are looking for three categories of books:
- Picture-books (>1000 words)
- Middle-grade (>35,000 words)
- Young Adult (>70,000 words)
Email submissions are allowed, but they will only get back to you if they are interested in the project.
This is a company with a great pedigree and some great titles. They are one of the oldest independent houses, publishing since 1919, and are highly organized and will do your book justice. If you get a chance to publish with them, I would recommend it highly.
- One More Dino on the Floor
- The Boxcar Children
- Abby’s Asthma and the Big Race
|Children’s book publishers receive more than 10,000 submissions a year. |
How do you know yours is better than the others?
Hire a children’s book editor to improve your book.
They accept “children’s literature,” which sounds more sophisticated than “kid books.” They do not accept online submissions, only ones by mail. Additional guidelines for writers can be found here.
They are interested in innovative children’s stories told in bright and refreshing ways. They publish books for infants, toddlers, middle-grade, and young adult.
- A Mountain of Mittens
- Bamboo People
- A Tower of Giraffes
Eerdmans publishes only 12 – 18 books a year, which makes them one of the smaller independent publishers, but their backlist looks fantastic. They are looking for a wide variety of books, but especially ones that celebrate diversity, focus on an important historical moment, or relate to social issues.
Two of the descriptions of the books they’re looking for are particularly telling: they want “wise” books and books with good “humor.”
- Mikis and the Donkey
- A Pond Full of Ink
- In Search of the Little Prince
As far as their submission guidelines, they are looking for books with anti-bully messages (I doubt many people send them pro-bullying messages), and for books that teach kids character, leadership and service. They also will consider fiction if it communicates these messages.
They tend to like hard topics like anxiety, grief and loss, and conflict resolution.
If you could summarize their taste in books in three words, it would be:
- Solution focused
- The 6 Rs of Bullying Prevention
- Penelope Perfect
- Respect and Take Care of Things / Respectar y Cuidar las Cosas (bilingual)
Stripes Publishing accepts fiction for children aged 6 – 12. Send manuscripts by email only.
- There’s a Dragon in My Backpack!
- Hello World (a lift-the-flap novelty book)
They only want mailed submissions, and want you to do the market research before you send your manuscript (Why will your book sell? What are similar books?)
- The Case of the Chocolate Snatcher
- Girls to the Rescue (series)
- I Hope I Don’t Strike Out (one of many sports-themed books)
- Children’s picture books
- Chapter books
- Middle grades novels
- Young adult novels
They offer a shocking statistic to either ward off the faint-of-heart or to make you sympathize with them: they say they receive more than 20,000 submissions a year, and presumably only accept a handful of them. It takes them 6 – 9 months to review a submission.
They do not accept email submissions — mail only, please.
Sample Books: (all of their titles are fantastic — someone should get an award for naming these books)
- The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl
- The Boy Who Cried Ninja
Mail OR email submissions, but since they only review books three times a year, be prepared for what could be a long wait.
- The Legend of Sea Glass
- Horace J. Edwards and the Time Keepers: The Secret of the Scarab Bettle
They prefer email submissions, buy world-wide rights to your book, and do not want you to submit simultaneously to other publishers.
- Things That Go (sticker book)
- Penny Pineapple and the Chocolate Forest
This is a massive publishing house, publishing fiction and nonfiction of every stripe for every age, but they have a children’s book department which accepts emailed submissions. moc.n1488044590amkro1488044590w@sno1488044590issim1488044590bus1488044590
One good thing about their Submission Guidelines is that they say that each submission will be reviewed by two or more editors, so you can be sure you’re getting a fair shake.
- Arlo Needs Glasses
- Belly Button Book
Arthur A. Levine books is an Imprint of Scholastic and a big award winner (currently, two of their books are up for the Kirkus Award!). Their backlist includes 179 award-winning children’s books, and you have a chance to make that 180.
They accept picture-book submissions, and actually sound happy about it, unlike many publishers who act as though the slush pile is crushing them.
Along with your manuscript, they want a good query letter answering these things:
- What is your manuscript about?
- Why would a reader turn to your book?
- What makes your book original or memorable?
23. August House
They are mostly seeking diverse stories and stories that are folktales. Please only submit by mail.
- Adventures of High John the Conqueror
- Barking at a Fox-Fur Coat
This is the company that publishes the most famous children’s magazine in the country, Highlights, so you’re in good hands. They say they’re interested in “excellent storytelling, imaginative illustration, and strong characters,” which essentially means they’re willing to read and accept just about anything, as long as it’s good.
They accept submissions by mail only, and try to respond to all submitters within 3 months. What I like about this publisher is that they actually will send a form rejection if they decide the book isn’t for them, unlike most publishers who don’t even bother.
- Picture Books: Send the entire manuscript
- Middle-Grade books: Send the first 3 chapters
- Poetry: Send the whole collection
- Fearless Flyer: Ruth Law and her Flying Machine
- Fresh Delicious: Poems from the Farmer’s Market
According to their guidelines, most of their books are conceived in-house and hired out to freelance illustrators and writers, but on occasion they do publish slush pile manuscripts. Send them an email to author.sub AT capstone pub DOT com with this information:
- Sample chapters
- List of previous publishing credits, if applicable
- Adventures on the American Frontier
- The Garbage Gang’s Super Science Questions
Their submission guidelines say to submit by mail only, and include the entire manuscript.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers / Submissions
222 Berkeley Street
Boston, MA 02116-3764
27. Kane Miller
Kane Miller has an international focus, but at this time they’re looking for books with an American theme. They prefer first-person stories, coming from a specific point of view, rather than overview stories from the historical third-person.
Their submission guidelines say to email submissions to: submissions AT kanemiller DOT com and include:
- short cover letter
- complete manuscript, or synopsis and sample chapters
- word count
- professional bio (3-5 sentences)
- The River: An Epic Journey to the Sea
- Nibbles: The Book Monster
At the time of this post, they were not accepting Picture Book or Chapter Book submissions, but they were seeking Middle-Grade, Young Adult and New Adult books.
You can email them but don’t send any attachments — send it all in the body of the email.
- A Butterfly Without Wings
- Sinister Sites (a ghost book)
OnStage Publishing is a relatively small independent publishing house focusing on children’s literature. They publish chapter books, middle-grade fiction and Young Adult, mainly for ages 8 to 18, and in both print format and e-book format.
Their guidelines say they do not publish picture books. For nonfiction, please query them first, because they are looking for very specific content.
- China Clipper
- Heroes: A Gander’s Cove Mystery
30 Children’s Book Publishers
- Albert Whitman & Company
- Arbordale Publishing
- Arthur A. Levine Books
- August House
- Boyd’s Mill Press
- Candlewick Press
- Charlesbridge Publishing
- David Fickling Books
- Dial Books for Young Readers
- Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
- Free Spirit Publishing
- Hogs Back Books
- Holiday House
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers
- Ideals Books
- Kane Miller
- Kids Can Press
- Lee & Low Books
- Little Tiger Press
- Meadowbrook Press
- OnStage Publishing
- Pants On Fire Press
- Peachtree Publishers
- Salariya Book Company
- Sleeping Bear Press
- Top That! Publishing
- Workman Publishing