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.
Formac Publishing Company is a literary publisher with a focus on Canada’s Maritime provinces, and books from Maritime Canadian authors. Their books for children and teens cover all areas of literature from activity books to non-fiction. One had need just look at titles such as the “Be Brave Morgan!” series to gain a better understanding of their preference and style. Another fine example is the picture book “Keeper of the Light” by Janet Barkhouse. Formac is always looking for new talent, with unsolicited submissions accepted. Full details can be found on their Author Guidelines page.
Orca Book Publishers publish a wide range of children’s books spanning all ages. Operating out of Victoria, Orca Book Publishers have a broad collection of well-established authors but are always seeking new talent. While their collection is extremely diverse, one can gauge their preference by looking at books such as “Nightwalker” by K.V. Johansen, and the paranormal thriller “Drawn Away” by Holly Bennet. Orca accepts board books, picture books, early chapter books for readers aged seven to nine, middle reader fiction, novels for ages nine and up, teen fiction, young adult fiction, graphic novels, rapid reads and educational non-fiction. You can find full details concerning their approval process on the Orca Book Publishers Submission Guidelines page.
3. Annick Press
Annick Press is a committed Canadian publisher of children’s fiction spanning all age and culture groups. Founded in 1975 and operating from offices in Toronto and Vancouver, Annick Press publishes over twenty-five new titles each year. They are well represented both locally and internationally. Their fiction publishing is renowned for titles such as “The Paperbag Princess”, having sold millions of copies world-wide in fifteen different languages. Always on the lookout for ground-breaking new fiction and nonfiction for children’s and teens, Annick Press is actively open to submissions. The publisher is currently accepting picture books, young adult fiction, middle grade fiction, and non-fiction titles for children of every age. You can find full details on the Submission Guidelines page of their site.
Clockwise Press publishers talented authors from around the globe, although holds a focus on Canadian writers. Operating out of Aurora, Clockwise Press holds an interest in Aboriginal themes, social issues, stories incorporating characters unique from mainstream fiction, free verse novels, and picture books. Non-fiction genres of interest include themes of global diversity, narrative non-fiction, and animal welfare topics. Clockwise Press carries a range of notable authors such as Jennifer Lanthier, writer of “By the Time You Read This…” and Lorna Schultz Nicholson, author of the “One-2-One” book series. Visit their Submissions page to find full details regarding their approval process.
Nimbus Publishing is a long-standing renowned publishing house established in 1978 and operating out of Halifax. With a claim-to-fame of being the largest English-language publisher east of Toronto, Nimbus Publishing holds an international publishing distribution. Their collection spans children’s picture books and fiction, literary non-fiction, books concerning social and cultural history, nature, current events, biographies, sports, and current social issues. Prominent authors published include Cindy Day, whose discourse on weather lore “Grandma Says” makes for perfect reading for all ages. “There Were Monkeys in My Kitchen” by Sheree Fitch is another hilarious, appropriate example of their preference and prominence. The submissions page of the Nimbus Publishing website has all of the details that you need to make an unsolicited submission.
Dundurn publishes a range of fiction for adults and children. Their children’s books range from fiction for eight to twelve-year olds, to teen titles, and books for young adults. With a publishing program which began in 1972, Dundurn has now expanded to become an illustrious publishing house. One had need just look at titles such as “And Then The Sky Exploded” by David A. Poulsen, and “The Baby Experiment” by Anne Dublin, to get a better idea of their preferred style. The genres supported are diverse, so be sure to compare your manuscript to their existing titles. Dundurn has all of the information that you need to complete your submission on their Submissions page.
Comorant Books publishes fiction for kids & teens under the imprint Dancing Cat Books. They actively accept submissions of middle grade fiction and non-fiction, but no children’s books. Comorant only publishes Canadian authors. With over twenty-years’ worth of experience in publishing, Comorant operate out of Toronto and host a successful range of authors. Their collection includes such works as Eric Murphy’s “The Bermuda Shipwreck” and “Bye-Bye, Evil Eye” by Deborah Kerbal. You can find full submission details for Comorant’s Dancing Cat Books on their submission guidelines page.
Owlkids is a leading Canadian publishing house that was established almost three decades back. The company was created right after the staggering success of the ‘Owl Magazine’. In its early days, Owl Kids only published titles that were focused on the articles and materials in their magazine. Eventually, they decided to expand, and right now they cover multiple genres including picture books, grade books, fiction, and non-fiction. Some of its recent titles are ‘My Canada’, ‘You Are Never Alone’ and ‘Camp Average’. Currently, the publishing house is seeking titles in non-fiction, early chapter books, middle-grade fiction, and picture books. So, if you think your book is entertaining enough to grab their attention, check their submission guidelines on this page.
The following publisher is no longer in operation
9. Coteau Books
Coteau Books is a publishing house which specializes in short fiction collections, novels, poetry, drama, and non-fiction. As a specialist publisher of children’s titles, Coteau Books covers almost everything other than picture books. While submissions are possible, Coteau does not accept manuscripts. Instead, they will receive a query letter stating your past history as a writer, any current publications, existing awards, training taken, and a proposal of the concept and structure of your book and the impact it will make on current markets. Given the large size of this Canadian publisher, the effort is well worth it. You can find contact details and further information concerning the submission process on the Submissions page of Coteau Books.
Operating out of Toronto, Ontario, Groundwood Books is a prime Canadian publisher of fiction for early readers to young adults. Operating as an imprint of Anansi Press, this publisher is backed by years of experience. Established in 1967 by Dennis Lee and David Godfrey, countless famous Canadian works have been published and popularized. The only unsolicited manuscripts which are not eligible for consideration are picture books. From novel-length fiction to non-fiction writing for kids, Groundwood is always seeking new talent. You can learn more of their submission process on the Submissions page of the Groundwood website.
11. Kids Can Press
Kids Can Press is a Canadian publisher of a range of works with a focus on books for children and young adults, as well as informational non-fiction aimed towards teachers and librarians. In 2013, Kids Can Press celebrated their 40th anniversary, hinting towards the decades of experience which this Canadian titan of publishing holds. Titles from their range such as “Franklin the Turtle” have sold over sixty-five million copies, with translation into thirty languages. While Kids Can Press is open to unsolicited submissions, only submissions sent via mail from Canadian writers will be considered. You can find further information on the Kids Can Press Submissions page.
Second Story Press is a feminist book publisher who specializes in titles for young children, children, teens, and young adults. Co-founded by Margie Wolfe in 1988, Second Story Press has an expansive range of fiction and non-fiction, with translations across over fifty languages. Many of their works have even been adapted for film and stage. Working in close association with organizations such as The Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Plan Canada International, The March of the Living, Literature for Life, and the Canadian Breast Cancer Society, this is a publisher with a strong presence. They are always seeking strong stories featuring female characters, exploring issues of social equality, human rights, and ability issues. You can find full details concerning their submission process on the Second Story Press Submissions page.
Scholastic Canada is publisher of recreational reading material for children and young adults. Their focus is on books written by Canadians, and books written for a Canadian audience. Great references to their preferred style are found in the titles “Sleepy Bird” by Jeremy Tankard and “The Very Cranky Bear” by Nick Bland. Supplying over sixty-years’ worth of experience in children’s publishing, Scholastic Canada is an award-winning institution. Picture books are welcomed, with no illustrations necessary. Junior, middle-grade and young adult fiction are also welcomed, as is non-fiction. You can find full details of their submission process on the Scholastic Canada Manuscript Submissions page.
14. Pajama Press
Pajama Press is a small Canadian literary press with consistently high editorial and production standards. Established in 2011, Pajama Press brings over 40-year worth of experience in children’s publishing to aspiring authors. Publishing in many formats ranging from picture books for the very young, to chapter books for new readers, and young adult fiction, Pajama Press boasts a surprisingly expansive catalogue. Great examples of recent works include “A Brush of Full Colour” by Katherine Gibson and Margriet Ruurs, and “A+ for Big Ben” by Sarah Ellis. Stories of immigrants are of particular interest to this publisher, while picture books are always welcomed, as are novels. You can find full details of their submission process on the Pajama Press Submissions page.
15. Red Deer Press
Operating from Markham, Ontario, Red Deer Press is a publisher of both adult and children’s fiction. Acclaimed books from their expansive array of titles include “Clutch” by Heather Camlot, termed ‘a wonderful read’ by the City Parent, and “Dark Matters” by Joan Marie Galat which delves into the effect of light and darkness on the growth and development of the natural world. Red Deer Press accepts submissions of writing for children of all ages, including fiction, non-fiction, and picture books. Multiple submissions are allowed. You can find further details of the Red Deer Press process on their Submissions page.
16. Theytus Books
Theytus Books is an Aboriginal owned and operating literary publisher with a firm focus on manuscripts from Canadian Aboriginal authors. Children’s and young adult titles are eligible for submission, as well as non-fiction covering social history and policies relating to Aboriginal interest. Critical literacy pieces covering Aboriginal issues are also accepted, as well as literary fiction. Bestselling young adult fiction from their range includes titles such as “Goodbye Buffalo Bay” by Larry Loyie and Constance Brissenden, as well as “Chuck in the City” by Jordan Wheeler and Christopher Auchter. Theytus Books carries full details of their submission process on their Submission Guidelines page.
17. Ronsdale Press
As a prime Canadian literary press since 1988, Ronsdale Press boasts a broad selection of children’s fiction, as well as books for young adults. Great examples of their preferred style can be found in titles such as “Adrift in Time” a tale of tension between a family and their children, by John Wilson, and “Willobe of Wuzz” by Sandra Blaze, a coming-of-age tale involving magic, mystery and a dragon who abuses his power. Only authors from Canada are accepted, with Veronica Hatch handling children’s manuscript acquisitions. You can find further details of their manuscript submission process on the Ronsdale Press Submissions page.
Great Plains is a small, independent press based in Manitoba, Canada. The company believes in publishing regional tales that strike a chord among children and young adults. Their children’s imprint, known as Yellow Dog, publishes historical fiction for middle-graders and young teens. Some of their best-selling works include ‘Feral’ by Nicole Luiken, ‘Family of Spies’ by Jodi Carmichael and ‘Gatekeeper’ by Natasha Deen. Being a small press, Green Plains only publishes 8 to 10 books every year. For more details about the submissions process, visit this page.
19. Breakwater Books
Breakwater Books is a prime publisher of literary fiction, commercial fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and a children’s books. Publishing only Canadian authors with a firm interest in writers from Newfoundland and Labrador, Breakwater Books is open to submissions. They actively publish numerous adult fiction and children’s fiction titles across numerous genres. Great examples of their publishing style can be found in “At Nanny’s House” by David Sturge, and “A Moose Goes a-Mummering” by the same author. Roughly two children’s titles are accepted and published each year, hinting towards the superior standards which Breakwater upholds. You can find all the information necessary to submit your manuscript on the Submission Guidelines page of their site.
Formerly known as Peguis Publishers, Portage and Main Press was established in 1967. At the time of their inception, the company was focused on publishing informative educational materials for kids of all ages. With time, Portage and Main expanded their reach, and right now they publish practical, educational resources for K-12. Their imprint High Water Press publishes fiction and non-fiction titles for kids and young adults. Currently, Portage and Main is open for submissions, and they are accepting quality curriculum-based educational resources. Do note that the company is not currently accepting fiction, memoirs, poetry or any other title outside the educational realm. You can find full details about their submissions process on this page.
Based in Madeira Park, British Columbia, Harbour Publishing is an imprint of Ampersand Inc. For over sixty-years the company has been a key representative of countless prominent books and gift lines. Harbour Publishing itself was established in 1974 and is best known for its “Raincoast Chronicles” series of anthologies looking at the BC coastline. Children and teen fiction are welcomed, with great examples of their publishing style found in “The Airplane Ride” by Howard White, and “A to Z of Absolute Zaniness” written by Susanne Ferrier. Harbour Publishing supplies all of the information needed to submit your manuscript on their Submissions to Harbour: Guidelines for Writers page.
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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