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.
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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, 50 Broad Street #301, New York, NY 10004
- Noodlehead Nightmares
- Here is Big Bunny
They are looking for manuscripts about:
Additional submission guidelines are available on their website.
The best word to describe Immedium is innovative. They’ve only existed since 2004, but they’ve won many awards every year for their books and had several #1 best selling books.
They’re based in San Francisco and do a great job of maximizing your children’s book potential across all mediums, from selling television rights to making action figures.
Check out their submission guidelines here. What they’re looking for above all is originality. If you’ve got a children’s book about a topic that seems different from all the books out there, submit to them.
- The Adventures of Wonderbaby from A to Z
- The Octonauts (which became the hit TV series)
- I’m the Scariest Thing in the Jungle
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Flashlight Press is a Brooklyn-based publisher that focuses entirely on children’s picture books.
They are looking for books that fit these four categories:
- Picture books with universal themes
- suitable for ages 4 – 8
- Less than 1000 words
- Focuses on relationships between people
If you have questions, you can also contact them via their contact page.
Here are some sample titles:
- No More Noisy Nights
- I Need My Monster
- When a Dragon Moves In Again
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
Based in Michigan, Cardinal Rule Press is a very positive publisher, looking for children’s books that embody “hope, courage, and the Golden Rule.”
They are looking for realistic picture book manuscripts under 1000 words.
Make sure to fully read the submission guidelines before emailing them your manuscript. They have a 3 month submission window every year, and like the rest of the publishers on this list, accept unsolicited and unagented manuscripts.
- Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun (Having the Courage to be Who You Are)
- Cookie and Milk – A Scientifically Stunt-tastic Sisterhood
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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.
Check their contest page, called Master of the Inkpot Competition, 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
10. 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
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
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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)
16. Flying Eye Books
Flying Eye Press is the children’s book imprint of Nobrow, and are international in focus, with offices in multiple countries (but they’re only looking for children’s books in English).
In general, if you look over their books, they specialize in absolutely breathtaking illustrations — it’s really a pleasure to look at their artwork.
They want emailed submissions, and are seeking picture books under 1000 words that are either 24 pages or 32 pages (these are industry standard lengths).
- Kai and the Monkey King
- Professor Astro Cat’s Stargazing
- The Immortal Jellyfish
- 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
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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
21. Arthur A. Levine Books (Now Levine Querido)
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?
22. 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
Versify is an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and is curated by Kwame Alexander, a Newbury medalist and famous children’s book author.
Their submission guidelines say to submit by email (thank goodness), and include the entire manuscript.
Like almost all of the publishers on this page, you don’t have to submit illustrations with your manuscript.
They publish books of all stripes, but are especially seeking books featuring protagonists of color.
- The Last Last-Day-Of-Summer
- Anya and the Dragon
- The Undefeated
25. 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)
- NO ATTACHMENTS
- The River: An Epic Journey to the Sea
- Nibbles: The Book Monster
26. Allen and Unwin
This Australia-based publisher has an imprint just for children’s books called Albert Street Books, and they’re looking for books written for babies to 12 year olds.
Every Friday they want to hear from writers, in a helpful event called the “Friday Pitch,” where you can pitch your book to the editors.
Although, they’re not currently looking for children’s book texts, they are looking for:
- Books for beginner readers, aged 5-7, word length 5,000-10,000
- Books for confident readers, aged 7-9, word length 10,000-25,000
- Books for middle-grade readers, aged 10-13, word length 25,000-50,000
- Little Nic’s Big Day
- A First Time for Everything
Tilbury is very helpful about what they’re not looking for:
- Books with talking animals
They are looking for educational nonfiction books suitable for ages 5 – 10, about 500 – 800 words long.
If you have a book that’s about cultural diversity, nature, or the environment, send it to them. They’re also very interested in engineering, science, biography, and history.
They have a very handy submission form online that makes it easier to send them your manuscript. The great thing about this publisher is that they say they receive hundreds of unsolicited submissions a year (rather than thousands), so if your book is right for them, you have an excellent chance.
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
29. Quarto Knows
Quarto Knows specializes in nonfiction books for kids that teach them how to do something (make animation or slime, for instance).
They don’t shy away from adding to the book, either — these are called “Books Plus” and they include extra materials for kids to play with and use.
They also like books about historical figures who are inspiring to children (such as Marie Curie and Frida Kahlo).
But they have a few fiction titles as well, such as “Grandad’s Secret Giant,” (but fiction isn’t their focus).
They’re a huge multi-national company that sells their books in over 50 countries, and yet they still accept emailed submissions of your proposal.
- “Grandad’s Secret Giant.”
- Pop Up and Build National Parks
And here are some bonus publishers, if you still haven’t found the right match:
30 Children’s Book Publishers
- Albert Whitman & Company
- Allen and Unwin
- Arbordale Publishing
- August House
- Boyd’s Mill Press
- Candlewick Press
- Cardinal Rule Press
- Charlesbridge Publishing
- David Fickling Books
- Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
- Enslow Publishers
- Flashlight Press
- Flying Eye Books
- Free Spirit Publishing
- Hogs Back Books
- Holiday House
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers
- Kane Miller
- Kids Can Press
- Lee & Low Books
- Levine Querido
- Little Tiger Press
- Mathew Price
- OnStage Publishing
- Peachtree Publishers
- Sleeping Bear Press
- Tilbury House Publishers
- Top That! Publishing
- Workman Publishing
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