Written by Emily Harstone April 22nd, 2024

55 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. Most are open to submissions or have an announced open reading period scheduled in the future. Some do not have an announced reopening period but state that they plan to reopen.

For this article, we have included 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, for most of the presses. The publishers are listed in no particular order.

At the end of this article, under a separate sub heading, we’ve included publishers who are open to direct submissions from writers from historically underrepresented communities. Some of these publishers are seeking authors from very specific backgrounds, others do not. We link to the publishers’ websites directly in this section.

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.

Walker Books
Walker Books, an established and respected UK based publisher of picture books, is open to direct submissions, but only of work that is already illustrated. So if you have an un-illustrated picture book, this is not the right home for it.

Baobab Press
Baobab Press is a small press that publishes a wide variety of material. Full disclaimer, even before we get into the review proper, they charge for submissions in some genres currently, this includes adult fiction and poetry manuscripts. As part of our guiding principles we don’t cover presses that charge overall, but as they are open to free unagented submissions in a variety of other genres including creative nonfiction manuscripts, children’s books, and comics (including cartoons and graphic narratives), they do qualify to be listed with us.

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.

Annick Press
One of the top children’s book publishers in Canada, Annick Press got a strong start early on by publishing Robert Munsch, back when they were based out of co-founder Anne Millyard’s basement (you can learn more about that here). Annick is currently accepting submissions of picture books, middle grade fiction, YA fiction, and nonfiction for kids of all ages.

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.” They are not open to submissions at the time of this update.

Artemesia Publishing
Artemesia Publishing was founded in 2004, and they describe themselves as a micro-publisher. Although based on the titles section of their website they publish work at the rate of one title per month, which is actually a lot more than many other small presses. They started out focused on nonfiction, particularly inspirational stories, but have since expanded into other genres, including children’s fiction, YA, and  genre fiction (mystery, sci-fi, etc).

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.

Dancing Lemur Press
Dancing Lemur Press is a small US Press that has been actively publishing work since 2009. They are based in North Carolina and seem to regularly participate in local events. The only children’s sub-genre they publish is Middle Grade. They are currently closed to submissions from new authors.

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. In terms of children’s books they are currently seeking, Junior and middle grade fiction, as well as young adult/crossover fiction.

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.

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.

Creston Books
Creston Books is small press focused on publishing picture books and select novels. They were founded in 2013 by Marissa Moss, the author of the Amelia’s Notebook series. Creston Books was established to fill a gap in the picture book market and to focus on diverse books. They have published many award winning and banned books over the years. Authors that have debuted with them have found real ongoing industry success.

Holiday House
Holiday House is an established and reputable children’s book publisher. Holiday House was founded in 1935. 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.

Agape Edition
Agape Editions started out as an imprint of Sundress Publishing. In 2017 it was announced that they would be becoming a sister press to Sundress Publications in this post. Since then any formal continued relationship between the two presses has been unclear. They publish an eclectic mix of books and are open to picture book submissions.

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. They plan to reopen later in 2024.

Enchanted Lion
Enchanted Lion is a children’s book publisher based in Brooklyn that was founded in 2003. You can learn more about their team here. Their books are well designed, engaging, and have great covers. Many of the books they have published have been featured in the New York Times, and won awards. They are well distributed and my local library has a large number of their books. They are currently closed to submissions.

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 is open to queries a few different times a year, from unagented authors and illustrators. Sometimes these open reading periods are limited to specific demographics, sometimes they are not. They tend to have at least one open reading period a year.

New Frontier
New Frontier is an established small publisher based in Australia. They are focused on publishing children’s books, including picture books, and chapter books. Their target audience appears to be readers under 12. They were established in 2002 and are distributed by Lerner Publishing Groups, which is very active in the children’s market. Their covers are excellent, and the few books of theirs that I have read to my kids were engaging and well made. In the past they made it mandatory for submitters to buy books from them to submit but this is no longer the case.

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.

AM Ink
AM Ink is a Western Massachusetts-based press that publishes quality biographies, children’s books, novels, and short story collections. Children’s books must be fully illustrated to be considered.

Thames & Hudson
Thames & Hudson was founded in 1949 by Walter and Eva Neurath. Their goal was to create a ‘museum without walls’ and the press 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.

Levine Querido
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. They have caps on submissions and tend to be closed to submissions towards the end of the month.

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.

Brother Mockingbird
Brother Mockingbird Publishing is a small independent press that publishes a wide variety of genres including picture books.

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.

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. Their books have won a wide variety of awards, all of them are listed here. They also host an Own Voices, Own Stories award every year which you can learn more about 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 Press

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 is focused on publishing books for the whole family, including children.

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. They are currently not open to direct submissions.

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.

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. They are currently closed to all submissions, but plan to reopen. 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. They have had nonpayment issues in the past, so please read the review carefully.

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 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 was founded in 1881. 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.

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.

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.

Jolly Fish Press
Jolly Fish Press was started in 2012. 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 open to submissions in February and March, June and July, and October and November. They will automatically reject unsolicited submissions made outside of these periods.

Press Box Books
Press Box Books focuses on publishing nonfiction about sports. You can get a feel for what they have published in the past by visiting their catalogue here. They publish books for children, teens, and adults as part of the Press Box line, and when you look at the individual sets and book listings they make it clear who the intended audience is.

Ulysses Press
Ulysses Press is an independent publisher that has been around for almost a decade. They focus on publishing non-fiction 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. They are looking for books on the forefront of emerging trends, books that have a unique angle on an established topic, or books that fill a demonstrated niche in the trade book market. They publish a variety of books aimed at children and teens.

Flyaway Books
Flyaway Books is a children’s book publisher focused only on children’s picture books. The focus of their books is on “diversity, inclusivity, compassion, care for each other, and care for our world”. They are an imprint of Westminster John Knox Press which is part of the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation, but many of the books that Flyaway publishes are not faith based, and the ones that they do publish that are faith based are “appropriate for progressive churches, religious schools, and readers who value faith inside and outside of a church setting”. They are closed to submissions at the time of this most recent update.

Monarch Educational Services
A new small press founded in 2021, they focus on publishing work for MG and YA audiences. They are just starting to publish work aimed at younger readers under their Caterpillar imprint. They are not open to submissions at the time of update, and don’t plan to reopen till summer 2025.

Sky Pony Press

Sky Pony is a division of Skyhorse Publishing. This division focuses on publishing picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and YA fiction and nonfiction.

Publishers Only Open to Submissions from Historically Underrepresented Authors

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, Young Readers, and Fire Imprints
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, Middle grade, and YA imprints are only open to unagented submissions of works that directly promote diversity, equality and inclusion.

Scholastic Canada
They are open to direct submissions from Canadian authors or focusing on Canadian content, who are from underrepresented communities, including Black writers, Indigenous writers, writers of colour, writers with disabilities, LGBTQIA2S+ writers and writers who identify with other marginalized groups.


Heartdrum is an imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books, which is edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith, and is in partnership with We Need Diverse Books. Native and First Nations writers and writer-illustrators are welcome to query her directly via a form on her website. Native and First Nations illustrators are also invited to reach out.

Tundra Books, Puffin Canada, Penguin Teen Canada
These children and teen focused Canadian imprints are open to direct submissions by underrepresented authors and illustrators only. Authors need not be Canadian.

Emily Harstone is the author of many popular books, including The Authors Publish Guide to Manuscript SubmissionsSubmit, Publish, Repeat, and The 2024 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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