Written by Emily Harstone

51 Traditional Children’s Book Publishers Seeking Submissions – No Agent Required

All of the publishers on this list publish children’s books. Some just publish picture books, some publish only middle-grade fiction, and some publish a wide variety of genres aimed at adults as well. Some are looking for educational work, others are open to anything. A number of these publishers are large and established. Others are small and just starting out.

The majority are currently open to submissions, but not all of them are.

For this article, we have written a brief review of every publisher, focusing on the essentials. However, if you click on the heading with their name you will be able to read the full review of the company. The publishers are listed in no particular order.

City of Light Publishing

City of Light Publishing is a small press with many imprints, including a couple focused on Children’s books, based out of Buffalo, New York. In some ways City of Light is a new press, they only came to be known by this name in 2019, when they started to have more of a national and international reach. Before that, previous iterations were called Canisius College Press and Buffalo Heritage Press.

Bala Kids

Bala Publications is an imprint of Shambhala Publications, an independent publishing company based in Boulder, Colorado. They are distributed by Penguin Random House Publisher Services. Bala Kids is dedicated to encouraging the values of wisdom and compassion for children with books on Buddhism, meditation, yoga, mindfulness, and more.

Lion Hudson

Lion Hudson is an imprint of SPCK Publishing, which bills itself as “More than a publisher. More than a charity.’” SPCK is the largest Christian publisher in the UK. They describe themselves as being passionate about turning the tide of secularization. Lion Hudson describes itself as “publish(ing) books and other media for children and adults to help you grow in your Christian faith. We want to see literature that challenges, encourages, and leads people to God, whatever their background. Our titles span accessible books that reflect a Christian worldview suitable for a general audience, resources for Christian families, individuals, and communities, to academic works for theological study.”

Cardinal Rule Press

Cardinal Rule Press is a respected children’s picture book publisher. They are only open to submissions during certain times of year. The work they publish hopes to empower children by telling meaningful stories aimed at 4-11 year olds. They publish realistic fiction which they describe as “a genre made up of stories that could happen in our world and society.”

Pelican Children’s Books

Pelican Children’s Books has always been an imprint of Pelican Publishing. In 2019 Arcadia Publishing purchased Pelican Publishing, and now Pelican Children’s Books is an imprint of Arcadia. Pelican Children’s Books is based in New Orleans, as it always has been, they’ve published a lot of regional children’s books, although they are open to submissions regardless of author’s location.

Pan Macmillan Australia

Pan Macmillan Australia is open to direct submissions. They are the Australian imprint of Macmillan, one of the big five publishers. This is the only way to submit to Macmillan directly. They have excellent distribution in Australia. They publish commercial fiction including women’s fiction, romance, thriller, crime, historical, humor, paranormal, fantasy, as well as literary fiction and nonfiction, children’s and young adult books, and commercial nonfiction ranging from memoir to diet.

The O’Brien Press

The O’Brien Press is an established and respected publisher that is based in Ireland. They favour Irish voices, but are open to international submissions. They publish nonfiction for adults, and fiction and nonfiction for children.

Magination Press

Magination Press is the children’s book imprint of the American Psychological Association. As a publisher they focus on sharing mental health expertise and psychological knowledge. The books they publish include bestsellers and much-loved family favorites including: The Hugging Tree, Something Happened in Our Town, My Whirling Twirling Motor, You’ll Find Me, Papa, Daddy, and Riley, and It Hurts When I Poop! The intended audience of the books published are children and teens.

Shadow Mountain

Shadow Mountain is an imprint of Deseret Book.  Both publishers are Mormon, but  Deseret Book focuses more on producing faith-based content. Shadow Mountain publishes primarily fiction and they have published a number of New York Times bestselling books. Because the company is Mormon run, books have to be approved by in-house censors in order to be published. They are very firm about publishing “clean books only”. However the authors need not be Mormon. They used to always be open to submissions but now have four reading periods a year.

Holiday House

Holiday House is an established and reputable children’s book publisher. Holiday House has been around for over 75 years. They publish picture books as well as books aimed at children grades 1 to 3, grades 4 to 6, and grades 7 and up. They are based out of New York City. They have published many well-known books and authors, including Kenneth Grahame. The books that they have published have won numerous respected awards and honors.

Reycraft Books

Their mission is to create books of interest for all children. Founded by Sera Reycraft, a Korean who immigrated to the United States as a child, they mostly focus on publishing diverse books from underrepresented communities, particularly by #ownvoices authors. You can get a feel for what they publish here.

AM Ink

AM Ink is a Western Massachusetts-based press that publishes quality biographies, children’s books, novels, and short story collections. They’ve published more than 60 titles, including bestsellers. They have also sold television rights, and had movies made from their books.

Young Dragons

Young Dragons is a division of Oghma Creative Media. It is a traditional independent publisher with three imprints. Little Dragons (Lee Press) focuses on publishing picture books and middle grade readers. Fledgling Dragons (Fife Press) focuses on young adult fiction. Inquisitive Dragons (Arbroath Abbey) focuses on publishing non-fiction resources for parents and educators. They are only open currently to submissions from authors/illustrators, and authors who have worked with Young Dragons previously.

Thames & Hudson

Thames & Hudson was founded in 1949 by Walter and Eva Neurath. Their goal was to create a ‘museum without walls’ and it is named after the rivers flowing through London and New York. They have over 2,000 titles in print. They publish high-quality books in the following categories: the arts (fine, applied, decorative, performing), architecture, design, photography, fashion, film and music, archaeology, history, popular culture, and children’s books. Their head offices are in London.

Arthur A. Levine Books

Arthur A. Levine Books was an imprint of Scholastic Inc. that was founded in 1996 and as of 2019 they parted ways with Scholastic and since 2019 they have been Levine Querido. They publish hardcover literary fiction and nonfiction for children and teenagers (and discerning adults), as well as picture books and graphic novels. They have published many award-winning and nominated books, as well as a number of very well known and respected authors.

Future House

Future House Publishing is an imprint of Familius Press, which in turn is an imprint of Workman. Future House focuses on publishing “adult science fiction and fantasy, as well as middle grade adventure books that embrace community, liberty, and family”. All of the work is clean, free of excessive violence. You can get a feel for what they publish here.

The Good Book Company

“We are an evangelical publishing house that stand on the fundamental truths of the Christian faith, for example, the IFES/UCCF/Intervarsity basis of faith. We are also corporate members of the Evangelical Alliance.” As such they are not interested in views outside of the Christian Evangelical movement. However, within that area they publish resources for evangelism, Bible study, training, Christian living as well as for youth and children’s work.

Gill Books

Gill Books is one of Ireland’s leading publishers of content in terms of both the Primary and Secondary schools market, but they also publish nonfiction for adults. They accept proposals for adult nonfiction and children’s books.

Owl Kids

A Canadian publisher of children’s books that’s open to queries from unagented authors.

Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

Founded in 1911 and located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company is an independent publisher of religious books. They have a large range, including academic books and reference works in theology, biblical studies, and religious history to popular titles in spirituality, social and cultural criticism, as well as literature and children’s books. They are primarily a print publisher with excellent distribution. My local independent bookstore regularly carries a number of their titles.

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

A large independent publisher based out of Illinois, they also have offices in Connecticut and New York. Source books was started in 1987 by Dominique Raccah. They also have several imprints, all founded within the last decade. Their children’s book imprint is only open to unagented submissions of works that directly promote diversity, equality and inclusion.

Brother Mockingbird

Brother Mockingbird Publishing is a small independent press committed to discovering writers from the American South, but they are also open to good fiction, regardless of where the author is based.

Flying Eye

Nobrow Press is a respected publisher of graphic novels and Flying Eye is their children’s book imprint. Flying Eye publishes both fiction and nonfiction picture books. Nobrow Press and Flying Eye are both different from what we normally review because they are looking for either an author/illustrator or an already formed author-illustrator pair with a book to pitch. They do seem to make exceptions, but for the most part they are not interested in matching illustrators with authors.

Allen & Unwin

Allen & Unwin is a large independent Australian Press that is open to submissions on a wide range of topics. They have won a number of Australian publisher awards. They accept based on pitches, and have a system known as the “Friday Pitch” which ensures that at least one editor reviews each unsolicited pitch.

Sleeping Bear Press

Sleeping Bear Press is a well-regarded publisher of board books, picture books, middle grade readers, and young adult fiction. They offer advances to some authors. They have good regional distribution in the Midwest and ok distribution in North America. Their books have won a wide variety of awards, all of them are listed here.

Gibbs Smith

Gibbs Smith is an established publisher with good distribution and a focus on cook books, interior design and architecture books, children’s picture books, and board books. They have published a number of bestsellers, including a board book version of Pride & Prejudice.

Flashlight Books

Flashlight is an award-winning publisher of illustrated children’s books. They publish books aimed at 4 to 8 year olds. They only publish 2 to 4 books every year, so they are very selective. The books they publish are beautifully illustrated. They also have good distribution internationally and nationally. The theme of the book must be universal, and the book should focus on family and/or social situations.

Princeton Architectural Press

Princeton Architectural Press is a small press that focuses on publishing books on architecture, design, photography, landscape, and visual culture. They also publish beautiful stationary and children’s books. They are based in New York. In 2009 they were bought by McEvoy Group. They are now a sister company to Chronicle Books.

Familius

Familius is a newer imprint of Workman, established in the last few years, but the head editor is established and has a good track record of working at other publishing companies.

duopress

duopress is a publisher of innovative nonfiction books and gift books. They publish a large variety of non-traditionally formatted books for children, including board books that fold out, flash cards, and sticker books. They also publish more traditional books for children, including local books (such as Portland Baby). Most of what they publish is aimed at the very young (two and under).

Quirk Books
This Philadelphia-based press publishes just 25 books a year in a whole range of genres, from children’s books to nonfiction to science fiction. Unlike most publishers that tackle a large range of topics, Quirk books has a clear marketing plan and to a certain degree their books have a cohesive feel, because they all are quirky.

Free Spirit Publishing
Free Spirit Publishing is an established publisher with good distribution. They publish primarily nonfiction, mostly curriculum-based, where they have a number of niche focuses. They do publish fiction but only in the form of board books (aimed at infants to 4 year olds) and picture books (for ages 4 to 8) that focus on social skills and getting along, early learning, character education, self-esteem, and other topics related to positive early childhood development. Also see their Black Voices in Children’s Literature contest which will open for US-based Black writers – they want children’s stories by and about Black people. The contest will run from 19 June to 24 July 2022.

Charlesbridge

Charlesbridge publishes high quality books for children and young adults with the goal of creating lifelong readers and lifelong learners. In 2010 Charlesbridge acquired Imagine Publishing, which expanded what they were able to offer. They now have extensive audio offerings. They also publish adult nonfiction, cookbooks, and puzzle books.

Turner Books

Turner publishes books in a wide range of categories and formats—fiction and nonfiction. They publish mainly in print but have electronic options as well. They are a major independent publishing house that has a number of imprints. They publish children’s books under their imprint Ramesy & Todd.

Maverick Children’s Books

Maverick Children’s Books is a UK-based publisher of children’s books. Their books generally have wonderful covers and illustrations, and are quirky. They publish a variety of books for children but only appear to be open to submissions in the picture book category. You can learn more about the team behind Maverick here.

Tilbury House

Tilbury House publishes adult books too (only nonfiction), but they mainly focus on publishing children’s books with a social message. Most focus on the environment, cultural diversity, nature, and social justice. They have published a number of award-winning  books that are greatly respected. They focus on getting these books into schools. The books they publish are for children between the ages of 7 to 12.

Albert Whitman & Company

Albert Whitman & Company has been around since 1919. I grew up reading a series, the best-known series that they have published, The Boxcar Children. Over the past few years they have started to focus on publishing a larger number of books each year.

The Quarto Publishing Group

The Quarto Publishing Group is an international publishing house known for its illustrated books. They publish most of their work through a number of niche imprints each with their own focus. All of their US imprints are distributed by Hachette.

Immedium

Immedium was founded in 2004 and is led by experienced professionals, who have written critically acclaimed books, marketed print and digital media, and sold #1 nationwide best-sellers. Aquanauts, a series of books they published, was turned into a successful TV show for children.

Chronicle Books

Chronicle Books is a reputable publishing house that publishes many wonderful books, however for the sake of this list, I am just focusing on their children’s line. They have published a number of books that have been nominated for the Caldecott, the most prestigious Children’s book award. They publish a large number of children’s books every year and have excellent distributors.

Paulist Press

Paulist Press is an established press that has been around for 150 years.  Paulist Press publishes Christian books in a wide variety of sub-genres, including children’s books. They have excellent distribution and sales within that market.

August House

August House was established in 1978, originally it focused on publishing poetry but in the 80’s their focus switched to folklore and after that, to storytelling. They no longer publish poetry, instead they focus on publishing children’s books, although many of these are influenced by folklore. They currently publish children’s folktales, picture books, early-grade chapter books, and storytelling resource materials.

Kane Miller

Kane Miller is an award-winning publisher of educational children’s books. Their most famous book to date is the children’s classic Everyone Poops, the English translation of Minna Unchi, a Japanese children’s book written by Taro Gomi. They have good distribution, there books are widely available at libraries, and they generally do an excellent job.

Arbordale Publishing

This children’s publisher focuses on science and math books that parents and children read together, meaning they offer family focused rather than school focused learning.

Sky Pony Press

Sky Pony is a division of Skyhorse Publishing. This division focuses on publishing work for children, and are also open to publishing Young Adult work as long as it intersects with other areas of interest for the publisher such as ecology, farm living, wilderness living, recycling, and other “green” topics.

Hohm Press

A small print publisher based out of Arizona, Hohm has been around for many years. They are a respected press that has published a number of well known authors. The publish a wide variety of genres, including poetry, nonfiction, and children’s books. They generally focus on eastern religion and spirituality. They are not interested in fiction or short story collections.

Eifrig Publishing

Eifrig Publishing is a small independent publishing company that focuses on publishing children’s books. They also publish family psychology books, some nonfiction for adults, and books on education. They publish some eBooks. Their motto is “good for our kids, good for our environment, and our good for our communities.”

Jolly Fish Press

Jolly Fish Press was started in 2012. They are based out of Provo, Utah. Jolly Fish has a major distributor and a large staff for a relatively new press. Their authors have won numerous awards. They publish commercial and literary fiction, historical, fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, humor, horror, thriller, middle-grade, and young adult. They also publish motivational nonfiction, self-help, biography, and memoir. They are going through ownership changes at this time, so approach with caution.

Ulysses Press

Ulysses Press is an independent publisher. They focus on publishing nonfiction books aimed at niche markets.  It is a good idea to go through their catalog before submitting to see if your work is a good fit for their press.

Page Street Publishing

Page Street Publishing is a publisher of full color, mostly hardcover, gift books, cookbooks, and craft-books. Most of them have an important visual component. They are distributed through Macmillan in every country but Canada (where they have a different distributor). They publish around sixty titles a year. Page Street Publishing has also started to focus on publishing children’s and young adult books.


Emily Harstone is the author of many popular books, including The Authors Publish Guide to Manuscript SubmissionsSubmit, Publish, Repeat, and The 2021 Guide to Manuscript Publishers.

She regularly teaches three acclaimed courses on writing and publishing at The Writer’s Workshop at Authors Publish. You can follow her on Facebook here.

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