Have you just completed a children’s picture book and are now in need of a publishing house with expertise in publishing works in this genre?
Take a look at the following 19 children’s picture book publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts.
Flash Light Press specializes in fictional children’s picture books and has a long roster of successful and even award-winning publications like “Being Frank,” written by Donna W. Earnhardt and illustrated by Andrea Castellani, winner of the Alabama Camellia Children’s Choice Book Award and of the Washington Children’s Choice Picture Book Award.
They are currently accepting submissions for children’s picture books via email, with specific interest in stories targeted at four to eight-year-olds. For more information on their submissions guidelines, click here. They ask that you include the title of your story, the word count, targeted age, subject or theme of your story, a summary of the book in three sentences or less, and a manuscript attached in Word or PDF form, among others.
Located in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, Arbordale Publishing provides a wide range of books for children. From fiction and nonfiction to educational materials, the company has a backlist which includes titles such as Animal Helpers: Zoos, by Jennifer Keats Curtis and Dear Komodo Dragon, written by Nancy Kelly Allen and illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein.
Their main goal is that of helping young readers discover math and science through picture books. Even though they prefer fiction, narrative nonfiction stories which include these topics are welcome as well. All manuscripts need to be less than 1000 words – they should be entertaining, national/regional in scope, and marketable through a niche market. Books on new babies, magic, fairy tales, pets, and on a few other subjects are not of interest. Before sending them your work, make sure to read the submission guidelines.
Based out of Wiltshire, England, Hogs Back Books publishes children’s picture books for readers up to 10 years-old, teenage fiction, and early readers for children up to 14. They look for stories that are whimsical, entertaining and creative to their young readership, having published books such as “Boris the Boastful Frog”, by Karen Hodgson and Steve Cox.
They are currently seeking unsolicited manuscripts from both unrepresented and represented authors. For a full list of submission guidelines, click here. They ask that you send your submission by either email or regular mail. Unless you make a prior arrangement, Hogs Back Books is unable to return manuscripts after reviewing them, so be sure to send copies of any illustrations or writings that you have, and not the original copies.
Albert Whitman & Company has been in operation since 1919 and has published numerous award-winning children’s books. Based in Park Ridge, Illinois, the publishing company has an open submission policy. They are more than happy to review un-agented manuscripts and proposals for children’s picture books, middle-grade fiction, and for YA novels.
For picture book submissions, they ask that you send your manuscript via email and attach any illustrations separately in either PDF or JPEG attachments. In your cover letter, be sure to include a brief description of the story, a short author bio, and up to three comparative titles to give a general sense of who your intended audience will be.
Operating out of Watertown, Massachusetts, Charlesbridge strives to publish high-quality books for children in pursuit of turning them into lifelong learners. Charlesbridge has published children’s picture book series like “Ace Lacewing, Bug Detective”, by David Biedrzycki and the “Eat Your Homework” series, written by Ann McCallum and illustrated by Leeza Hernandez.
As they’re permanently looking for new voices and perspectives, you should send them your work even if you’re just starting out as a writer. Due to the pandemic, however, they only accept digital submissions at the moment.
Founded in 1922 by William B. Eerdmans, this publishing company initially began with a focus on theological publications, but quickly evolved to include topics to do with religion and religious studies. They are currently interested in publishing picture books, as well as middle-grade and YA fiction and nonfiction. One of the company’s goals is that of providing children with interesting stories on topics like family or adventure, while also publishing books for children who are in difficult situations. If you’d like to work with them, make sure to read their submission guidelines before mailing them your work – and remember not to include an SASE.
Free Spirit Publishing was founded by Judy Galbraith, a former classroom teacher and specialist in gifted education in 1983. Based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, this publishing company is interested in books and stories that help young readers expand their minds and learn to think for themselves. They are interested in topics such as social and emotional development, behavioral difficulties, autism spectrum disorders, and others as such.
They are currently seeking unsolicited manuscript submissions via mail only. They ask that you include a cover letter that briefly outlines your story, the intended audience, and your relevant experience. Be sure to include a current résumé, a detailed story outline, and at least two sample chapters.
Founded in 1998, Sleeping Bear Press is a publishing company based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Their backlist provides children with books which allow them to discover the world – the main subjects featured on the website are language arts, natural sciences, social studies, and science & technology. Boats Will Float, by Andria Warmflash Rosenbaum and Fly, Firefly, by Shana Keller are just two of their most recent releases.
The press specializes in picture books and middle grade novels. Unfortunately, since they accept unsolicited manuscripts, they are unable to respond to every submission – if your work is of interest, though, they will get back to you in about 6 months. They only receive submissions via email at the moment.
9. Imagine That
As an independent publishing company, Imagine That has nearly twenty years of experience in the industry. Previously known as Top That Publishing, the company strives to publish engaging activity and craft books for their young readership, as well as chapter fiction and story books. Having published picture books like “Baby Bear”, written by Ellie Patterson and illustrated by Dubravka Kolanovic, and “Big City Kitty”, written by Susie Linn and illustrated by Lindsay Dale, they have an extensive roster of impressive children’s stories.
Imagine That is currently accepting unsolicited manuscript submissions from authors, illustrators, and designers. They prefer to receive submissions by email, but can also accept them via post. The only drawback with sending your submission by post is that they will be unable to return it to you, so be sure to send a copy of your manuscript and not an original version. Also, keep in mind that they’re not interested in regular children’s and adult fiction.
Based in Salem, Massachusetts, Page Street has a broad range of preferences when it comes to books, which is one of the reasons why they publish over 120 titles per year. After going for cooking, interior design, and other such topics, they have become interested in picture books for children as well. Can I Keep It?, by Lisa Jobe, and Lloyd Finds His Whalesong, by Skylaar Amann are two titles which can help you understand what they normally publish.
In terms of children’s books, new talent and artist-led narrative picture books for ages 4-8 are of interest in all genres. You will have to send a query letter and a manuscript in Word or a PDF sketch of 32-40 pages via email. To learn more about the guidelines, click here.
Workman Publishing Co. Inc. is an independently owned family of publishers that includes Workman Publishing. They believe in giving new and unrepresented authors the opportunity to tell their stories, and have followed this since the company’s inception in 1968.
They are currently accepting submissions for children’s books, among others, and prefer them to be sent by email. However, if you would like to send your submission by mail, they ask that you include a cover letter that includes your contact information, a SASE for a response or to return your work, and that you specify that it should go to “Workman Publishing Co., Children’s Dept.”
12. Levine Querido
After a 23-year presidency at Arthur A. Levine Books, Arthur established Levine Querido in 2019. With a backlist that includes Ginger and Chrysanthemum, written by Kristen Mai Giang and illustrated by Shirley Chan, and This Old Dog, written by Martha Brockenbrough and illustrated by Gabriel Alborozo, the company is interested in publishing works which can instil a passion for reading in young people’s hearts.
According to their guidelines, they are now open to unsolicited submissions. Although any writer can send their work, authors from underrepresented backgrounds, such as LGBTQ members and members of minority religions may have an advantage.
13. August House
Based out of Atlanta, Georgia, August House has been producing children’s books for over thirty years. Many of their books have won awards like the National Parenting Publication Awards, CCBC Choices, the IndieFab Awards, and The Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature Award.
August House accepts proposals and editorial inquires by mail only. They are looking for children’s picture books that have strong narratives, with specific interest in old folktales from a diverse set of cultures. However, stories written in a fable or fairytale style are not of interest. They do not accept phone calls or emails. Since they do not return any manuscripts, make sure to only submit a copy of your work.
Boyds Mills Press is a division of Boyds Mills & Kane, and it was established in 1990. The publishing division produces picture books, chapter books, novels and nonfiction stories that are heavily narrative driven. Among their successful publications we can name “I Just Like You” by author Suzanne Bloom, and “Dreaming of You”, written by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and illustrated by Aaron DeWitt.
They welcome unsolicited manuscripts from both published and unpublished writers and illustrators. For picture books, they ask that you submit the entirety of the manuscript for your picture book by email.
Kane Miller EDC Publishing aim to publish children’s picture books that are not only colorful and entertaining, but also educational. One of their successful publications, “Chef Academy”, written by Steve Martin and illustrated by Hanna Bone, offers young readers an engaging introduction into the world of culinary arts.
While they are currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts, the staff at Kane Miller is unable to respond to every single submission due to the high volume that they receive. They ask that you send your submission by email, and in the body of the email to include a short cover letter, the complete manuscript, a total word count, and a brief author bio.
16. Holiday House
Founded in 1935, Holiday House’s only goal is that of publishing books that can enlighten and educate children. They are based in New York and they specialize in picture books and young adult fiction and nonfiction, among others. The themes featured on their website include birds, poverty, memoir, shapes, war, and many others.
Due to the volume of manuscripts they receive, Holiday House cannot respond to every submission. However, if your work is of interest, they will get back to you in about 4 months. Mass-market books will not be accepted. Before submitting your work, make sure to read the guidelines.
With forty years of experience, over a million of their books sold, and more than forty award-winning books, Tilbury House Publishers is a dedicated independent publishing company that works hard to promote their authors’ stories. Initially formed as Harpswell Press and merged with another small publisher, the Dog Ear Press, in 1990, Tilbury House aims to publish picture books that broaden their young readership’s imagination.
They are currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts by either their online submission form or via email. It should be noted that they are not looking for fables, fantasies, picture books with talking animals, or other fiction, and are more focused on producing books that explore culture, nature and the environment, history, biography, and science, to name a few.
As an independent, family-run children’s book publisher, the staff at Ripple Grove Press are passionate about producing well-told and beautifully illustrated stories for children. They are currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts, but ask that you take a look at their submission guidelines to understand exactly what types of stories they are looking for. However, keep in mind that you can only send your manuscript between July 1st and September 30, 2020. They accept manuscripts by email, and ask to write the title of your work in the subject section.
One of Tanglewood’s most famous publications is the New York Times best-seller “The Kissing Hand” written by Audrey Penn and illustrated by Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak. Based in Indianapolis, Indiana, Tanglewood is currently accepting both agented and unagented submissions, and they are particularly interested in picture books which fit the standards of middle-grade and YA fiction and nonfiction. Full picture book manuscripts for adult novels are accepted as well.
For more information on the types of narratives they’re looking for, click here. They accept submissions by email only. They will respond to you if they are interested in your work, but ask that you don’t send follow-up query emails or call them, as they receive a high-volume of submissions and it would be difficult to respond to every single one.
Do you know any other children’s picture book publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts? Please tell us about them in the comments box below!
K. Z. Kwan is a freelance writer based out of Halifax, Canada.