Canada has produced some of the finest writers of titles of interest to youth in the entire world.
The sheer volume of prominent, successful, world-renowned children’s authors from Canada is astonishing.
From Robert Munsch with his 80’s hits “Love You Forever”, “The Paper Bag Princess” and his later release “Stephanie’s Ponytail”, to author and illustrator Julie Flett with her pro-female titles including 2016’s “We Sang You Home” and “My Heart Fills With Happiness”, Canada is overflowing with talent.
To help jump-start the publishing of your children’s manuscript, or title targeted towards young people, here is a comprehensive list of 21 Canadian children’s book publishers accepting unsolicited submissions.
1. Annick Press
Rick Wilks and Anne Millyard established Annick Press nearly 50 years ago to help kids understand their place in modern society through contemporary literature. Located in Toronto, Ontario, this independent publisher now releases titles in different formats like paperbacks, digital books, and audiobooks.
Recently, the publisher launched a slew of seasonal offerings. Kids between 4 and 7 years old can quickly learn about social issues such as discrimination and racism through Leonardo Carranza’s colorful Abuelita and Me. In addition, young adult readers can check Alexandra Mae Jones’s enlightening LGBT novel The Queen of Junk Island.
Annick Press is open to proposals of both children’s fiction and nonfiction. If you’re working on picture books, middle-grade fiction, YA fiction, or narrative non-fiction, just read the different guidelines before contacting them online.
In 1973, the publishing industry witnessed the entry of Kids Can Press. Based in Toronto yet wielding a much bigger reputation on the global scale, the company helps children see reading as less of a chore and more of a delightful habit. Just five years ago, it accepted the Bologna Prize, cementing its status as one of Canada’s best children’s book publishers.
You can choose from early chapter books and picture books all the way to graphic novels and YA fiction. Similarly, readers can pick from topics like Canadian exploration, adventure, and empathy. Some notable titles from acclaimed storytellers include Elizabeth MacLeod’s Canada Year by Year and Dave Whamond’s Muddle School.
Kids Can Press is primarily interested in submissions from local writers, but they won’t close their doors to international authors. If you believe that your work will fit right in their catalog, visit the Writers page for details on how to submit your manuscript.
Art Downs not only founded Heritage House in 1969 but also helped in its rapid growth early on. This is all thanks to Wagon Road North, his debut title that made the company from Victoria, British Columbia, known for books about regional history.
While the company has a more extensive selection of adult titles, it also satisfies the literary demands of kids and teens. From Teoni Spathelfer’s Abalone Woman to Nicholas Read’s Caring for Critters, Heritage House has no scarcity in children’s fiction and nonfiction.
As of writing, Heritage House is searching for middle-grade fiction, early-reader fiction, board books, and picture books. Interested writers can send unsolicited queries and proposals online.
Margie Wolfe is one of the four women co-founders of Second Story Press, which has been around since 1988. Operating in Toronto, Ontario, the publisher hopes that literature can help improve women’s lives, human rights, and social justice, among others.
Second Story Press prints fiction and nonfiction titles for kids and teens. Children’s books are divided into middle-grade books, early chapter books, and picture books. In particular, Claudia Souza’s Princess to the Rescue and Cheryl Foggo’s Dear Baobab include lovely illustrations and tackle the theme of self-esteem.
As you can guess from perusing their catalog, Second Story Press values and seeks stories that empower girls and children and anyone else whose issues deserve to be heard. Writers can send their unsolicited proposals online or by mail.
Before moving to Toronto, Ontario, Red Deer Press was originally connected to Red Deer College and even transferred to Calgary at the start of the 21st century. Over time, its children’s books became the recipient of more than 300 accolades, with more clearly in the waiting every year.
Their catalog contains fiction and nonfiction for early readers, middle-grade readers, and teens. Barbara Nickle’s acclaimed picture book A Boy Asked the Wind and Manu Herbstein’s teen historical fiction Brave Music of a Distant Drum are two fantastic reads.
Red Deer Press only accepts manuscript submissions by mail, which is reasonable since they’re looking for Canadian authors. Picture books and children’s fiction and nonfiction follow slightly different details, so you should read the guidelines properly.
In 1978, Patricia Aldana built her own company in Toronto to publish the most outstanding children’s books. With help from organizations such as the Ontario Arts Council and the Government of Canada, Groundwood Books has steadily developed its reach without sacrificing literary excellence.
Today, Groundwood Books expands upon its rich legacy with a continued focus on outstanding children’s literature. From nonfiction and poetry to graphic novels like Dasha Tolstikova’s A Year Without Mom and Frieda Wishinsky’s Avis Dolphin, readers won’t run out of quality titles anytime soon.
The publisher isn’t currently open to unsolicited picture book submissions. On the bright side, writers are free to send manuscripts of middle-grade fiction, YA fiction, and children’s nonfiction.
Like Groundwood Books, Harbour Publishing receives ample assistance from the Government of Canada — and the British Columbia Arts Council. Founded in 1974 and located in Madeira Park, BC, it preserves regional history while introducing other nonfiction reads and children’s books.
The Harbour Publishing catalog has books for kids and young adults alike. Whether you prefer paperback titles like Robert Perry’s Down at the Seaweed Cafe or the hardback copy of Scot Ritchie’s Liliana and the Frogs, the stories within will always entertain and inspire.
Only around 20 new titles arrive annually from the publisher, so the competition among authors is high. Nonetheless, this shouldn’t deter you from sending your manuscript after viewing the submission policy.
Brian Lam is one of the owners of Arsenal Pulp Press, a humble press in Vancouver, British Columbia. It has hundreds of titles and earned multiple nominations as the province’s best publisher over the years. Despite its small staff, Arsenal Pulp Press books are available in many parts of the world.
This acclaimed publisher encourages families to let their children learn about important topics early on. Thus, you’ll find children’s books about indigenous cultures like Raeann Brown’s Bedtime in Nunatsiavut and Benjamin Lefebvre’s gay YA novel In the Key of Dale.
Arsenal Pulp Press is specifically interested in YA fiction and children’s stories that highlight cultural and social diversity. Similar to Red Deer Press, they only receive mail submissions whether you’re in Canada or not.
If you’re in Keswick, Georgina, Ontario, consider Clockwise Press. Aside from catering to kids and teens, this company advocates for meaningful literature. Their books intrigue young readers while introducing important social concepts like inclusivity and the interconnectedness of today’s world.
Clockwise Press offers children’s fiction and nonfiction that will foster a culture of reading even among kids who are initially disinterested in literature. Natalie Hyde’s narrative nonfiction Stay Silent is about refugee crises while Melanie Florice’s award-winning picture book Missing Nimama deals with tragedy and love.
Authors of children’s literature that put the spotlight on contemporary world matters and multicultural society should definitely send an online query. Specifically, Clockwise Press is interested in subjects like animal welfare and aboriginal life, among others.
10. Theytus Books
Supported by the Department of Heritage Canada Book Fund, Theytus Books is a historically important publisher based in Penticton, British Columbia. Founded in 1980, it strives to uphold aboriginal cultures through the arts.
With a mission to enrich the reader’s understanding of indigenous people whether they’re young or old, Theytus Books publishes children’s titles as detailed and evocative as adult reads. Deborah L. Delaronde’s picture book Louis Riel Day and Jennifer Leason’s two-language Blueberry Patch are two such examples.
Interested authors of children’s books must send their synopsis and completed manuscript by mail. Read the submission guidelines for the mailing address and other crucial information.
11. Breakwater Books
Rebecca Rose currently leads Breakwater Books, which is located in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Launched by Clyde Rose and four others in 1973, it’s committed to developing the literary landscape in the region while publishing everything from poetry to learning resources.
Breakwater Books serves acclaimed books for children and young adults in fiction and nonfiction. Over the past few years, they released two highly praised titles: Cara Kansala’s picture book The Moon King and Susan M. Macdonald’s sci-fi novel Treason’s Age.
The publisher mostly focuses on discovering writers from Newfoundland and Labrador. Nonetheless, they’ll happily review unsolicited submissions from folks all around Canada. Head to the submissions page for the mailing address.
For 55 years, Portage & Main Press in Winnipeg, Manitoba, has served learning institutions with books for students across different levels. On other hand, this independent company owns HighWater Press, a top-notch imprint that cultivates understanding and appreciation for aboriginal people.
Families and teachers looking for top-notch children’s literature only need to browse the Highwater Press catalog. From instant bestsellers to modern classics and YA titles like Lisa Boivin’s I Will See You Again and David A. Robertson’s Sugar Falls, the imprint packs a lot of unforgettable stories for kids.
Only indigenous writers can submit their manuscripts to the Highwater Press imprint. Picture books, fiction, and nonfiction for both middle-grade readers and teens are accepted.
Great Plains Publications is another noteworthy publisher in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Its titles have received awards such as the Golden Eagle Children’s Choice Award, City of Edmonton Book Prize, and High Plains Book Award.
Like Portage & Main Press, Great Plains Publications has Yellow Dog, an imprint handling fiction for kids and young adults. A few titles that best represent the imprint are Katherine Magyarody’s The Changeling of Fenlen Forest and Anita Daher’s middle-grade novel Peanut Butter and Chaos.
In general, Yellow Dog focuses on children’s historical fiction and contemporary fiction. Your submission can be for middle-grade readers or young adults. For more information, read the submission guidelines.
With 800 employees across the country, Scholastic Canada is a literary household name. Headquartered in Markham, Ontario, it has been publishing children’s books and learning resources for 65 years. It’s also the first international division of the US-based Scholastic corporation.
Scholastic Canada is always proud of new releases like Joyce Wan’s Your Are My Special Narwhal and Mason Deaver’s The Ghosts We Keep — and for a good reason. As one of the largest children’s book publishers in the country, its graphic novels, middle-grade books, and picture books are all engaging reads.
For the most part, the publisher only reviews agented submissions. Thankfully, Scholastic Canada also allows unsolicited submissions of children’s fiction and nonfiction if you belong to a marginalized group. Learn more about this exception at the submissions page.
15. Ronsdale Press
Established in 1988, Ronsdale Press exists to help Canadian people improve as individuals and members of society. Situated in Vancouver, British Columbia, it has 300 titles available in regional history, general nonfiction, poetry, and children’s literature.
Avid readers of Ronsdale Press can attest to its storytelling prowess. From Dan Paxton Dunaway’s Heart Like a Wing to Patrick Bowman’s Arrow Through the Axes, its books for middle-grade readers and young adults are 100 percent worth a read.
Unfortunately, the publisher has stopped printing picture books. Other than that, writers of YA novels are more than welcome to send their manuscripts if they focus on historical settings or contemporary issues.
Owned by Cormorant Books, DCB is a Toronto-based company that wants to be the literary foundation for young minds. With the knowledge that children and teens are distinctively smart and full of promise, DCB challenges them to learn about the world beyond their immediate vicinity.
The DCB catalog contains colorful picture books and an abundance of acclaimed fiction and nonfiction for middle-grade readers and young adults. In the realm of juvenile fiction, you can find Joni Mitchell’s The Circle Game and Valerie Sherrard’s A Bend in the Breeze.
DCB is open to Canadian writers with finished manuscripts. As of writing, the publisher is on the lookout for middle-grade fiction and nonfiction — and the same goes for its YA readership. Visit the submissions section to learn more.
Located in Victoria, British Columbia, Orca Book Publishers entered the Canadian book industry in 1984. To this day, it operates independently and distributes more than a thousand different children’s titles — and the company publishes 80 more projects annually.
Kids will never run out of books to read once they discover Orca Book Publishers. Board books, picture books, YA novels, and middle-grade graphic novels tackle everything from nature to sports. Each book boasts dazzling covers such as in the case of Melanie Perreault’s Like Cats and Dogs and Bill Richardon’s Lola Flies Alone.
Canadian writers must extensively browse the books before sending a query or manuscript to Orca Book Publishers. Every type of children’s literature has different submission requirements, so check everything twice before hitting send.
18. Owlkids Books
Owlkids Books operates in Toronto, Ontario, but its catalog is available not just in Canada but also in the US. Some books have even been translated into different languages and distributed internationally. For now, it launches new titles every Spring and Fall.
You can never doubt the literary and production quality of Owlkids Books. This publisher takes its time to finalize each book. As a result, fresh titles like Etta Kaner’s animal science nonfiction Dig, Dance, Dive and Mark David Smith’s hilarious and exciting The Weird Sisters get the attention they deserve.
Writers cannot submit to Owlkids Books right now. Luckily, the manuscript submission window will open again later this year in Fall. Picture books, graphic novels, and children’s fiction and nonfiction, in general, are highly sought.
19. Pajama Press
Gail Winskill heads Pajama Press, which is part of the Ontario Arts Council and the recipient of monetary assistance from the Canadian government. Situated in Toronto, Ontario, it’s only been around since 2011 but has everything from middle-grade fiction and children’s nonfiction to YA novels and chapter books.
With a playful name, the publisher is home to children’s literature with similarly whimsical titles. Some fantastic examples are Jane Whittingham’s A Good Day for Ducks and Raoul Follereau’s A Smile, picture books that both won awards.
Sadly, Pajama Press isn’t open to unsolicited submissions right now. Still, interested writers should view the submissions page at a later date for any welcome updates.
Operating in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Nimbus Publishing introduces more than 50 books annually across fiction and nonfiction. In particular, this publisher is a great source of texts about Nova Scotia and nearby provinces whether you want to learn about their culture, prominent individuals, or natural characteristics.
Nimbus Publishing not only has English-translated books for kids and teens but French titles as well. In other words, you can read Doretta Groenendyk’s A Harbour Seal in Halifax alongside Helene Boudreau’s Évangéline Récits pour jeunes lecteurs.
At present, this publisher is closed to submissions. Still, Nimbus Publishing suggests writers check its website and social media pages for positive developments.
Robert I. Fitzhenry and Cecil L. Whiteside established their eponymous publishing company 56 years ago. By 1998, the Toronto-based business dived into children’s literature before acquiring publishers such as Fifth House, Trifolium Books, and Whitecap Books.
Aside from fiction, this publisher has a wide variety of children’s nonfiction. Here, you can read about social issues, biographies, history, science, and sports. For biographical books, children can seek Troon Harrison’s The Birdman and Pierre Berton’s Canada Moves West.
Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited is closed to unsolicited submissions. There’s also no announcement about reopening the submission window, so authors should seek other publishers in the meantime.
Match Your Manuscript to Existing Portfolios
The key to successful promotion and publication is finding a publishing house which carries a skill-set which is in close accordance to your style, genre, and target audience. Be sure to carefully evaluate each of these Canadian publishers of children’s books to find the best match to your manuscript. Given the vast amount of submissions on a yearly basis, your work has to shine while covering a subject which is a proven success to your prospective publisher.
Want to take a look at some more publishing houses? Here’s a list of 21 Canadian publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts.
21 Canadian Children’s Book Publishers Accepting Submissions is an article from Writing Tips Oasis.
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