28 Traditional Publishers Seeking Children’s Books

Written by Emily Harstone | January 30, 2017

Our updated and expanded 2018 list of traditional children’s book publishers is available here.

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.

If you are focused on publishing a novel aimed at young adults this list of Y.A. publishers  for you.

None of the publishers we review require agents or previous publications.

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. 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, and board books for children. They have published a number of bestsellers, including a board book version of Pride & Prejudice.

Ripple Grove Press

Ripple Grove Press is a newer family-run children’s book publisher based out of Portland. They focus on publishing original, beautifully illustrated children’s books. Their website is clear and transparent. It lists their distributor and their literary agent for other publishers interested in translating their work.

Dial Books

Dial Books For Young Readers publishes hardcover books aimed at children of all ages, including young adults. They are an imprint of Penguin that accepts unsolicited submissions. The catch? They do not respond to unsolicited submissions unless they are interested in the book. That means don’t expect a rejection from Dial, personal or otherwise.

Pelican Publishing Company

Pelican Publishing Company is a publisher based out of New Orleans. They have been around for the a long time and they published William Faulkner’s first trade paperback book. They have a back list of over 2,500 titles. They publish between 40 to 70 new titles yearly. They focus on publishing art/architecture books, cooking/cookbooks, motivational, popular history (especially Louisiana/regional), children’s books (illustrated and otherwise), and social commentary. They also add that “We will consider almost any well-written work by an author who understands promotion.”

Mighty Media Press

Mighty Media Press publishes children’s books, mostly picture books but also those aimed at middle grade readers. Their books have beautiful illustrations.

Mighty Media Press’ website is not like most book publishers. It does not focus on promoting a catalog or trying to recruit new authors, in fact it took me a little bit to figure out that they were a book publisher at all, although their logo looked rather familiar to me from the start.

Penny Candy Books

Penny Candy Books is a publishing company focused on children’s picture books that was founded in 2015 by two poets who met in graduate school. It is a newer company but they seem off to a good start with interviews in various established publications and by publishing eight books, most to positive reviews by places like Kirkus. Their plan from here on out is to publish 5 to 8 books a year.

Boyds Mill Press

Boyds Mill Press is owned by Highlights for Children. They are an award winning publisher of children’s books.

The best way to get a sense what they publish is by reviewing their catalog. If you are considering submitting a picture book, review the picture books. If you are considering submitting a book of poetry, review their poetry selection. Their catalog is organized by category. I would also encourage you to check a book or two of theirs out from your local library.

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.

Nosy Crow

Nosy Crow is a UK-based publisher of children’s books and apps aimed at children. They accept international submissions from all over, but everyone outside of the UK must submit via email (which is their preferred method of submission). They have wide distribution within the UK. The books they published are aimed at children up to the age of 14, although the bulk of what they publish is for children under the age of 12. The young adult books that they do publish are not issue-based, and should not involve drugs, sex, or violence. Most of the apps they publish are aimed at kids between the ages of 2 to 7.

Peachtree Publishers

Peachtree Publishers is a well respected independent publisher with good distribution. They are based out of Atlanta, Georgia, and they specialize in publishing children’s books, young adult books, self help titles for parents and educators, and guides to the American South.

Hot Key Books

Hot Key is a UK based publisher of books for children ages 8 to 18. They are interested in publishing a wide variety of books that cover a number of genres and age groups. They do not focus on publishing books that are particularly educational. They have published some very famous authors including Garth Nix. The director of the company is very experienced. They are a newer press, but they have good distribution, are part of a much larger company, and have already published a number of successful books.

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.

MB Publishing

MB Publishing is a small press based out of Bethesda, Maryland. They focus on publishing children’s books and Judiaca (things pertaining to Jewish life and customs) also largely aimed at children. MB Publishing was founded over 5 years ago by Margie Blumberg as more or less a self-publishing operation. She still continues to publish her own work through MB Publishing. There is an old interview about the details of that here.

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.

Chicago Review Press

Chicago Review Press was founded over 40 years ago. They are an established independent publisher of literary fiction, nonfiction and memoir. They also publish books for children (but not picture books). They were founded by Curt Matthews and his wife, Linda Matthews.

Triangle Square

Triangle Square is an imprint of Seven Stories Press that focuses on publishing young adult novels and children’s books. Seven Stories Press is an independent publisher that is well respected and has been around for twenty years. Their books are distributed by Random House. Triangle Square focuses on publishing high quality writing that is educational.

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.

WorthyKids/Ideals

WorthyKids/Ideals publishes fiction and nonfiction board books, novelty books, and picture books for children from birth through the age of eight. The subjects they are interested in publishing are primarily inspiration/faith, relationships and values, general fiction, American patriotism, and holidays, particularly Easter and Christmas.

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.

ABDO Books

ABDO Books is a publisher that focuses exclusively on educational books for children 4 to 12 years old. They sell many books to schools and appear to be rather good at niche marketing.

Blue Marlin Publications

Blue Marlin Publications is a small publisher of children’s books based out of West Bay Shore in New York State. The editorial team has published some of their own books but they seem to focus now on primarily publishing the works of others. But this is a very small press, so do keep that in mind.

 

 


Bio: Emily Harstone is the pen name of an author whose work has been published internationally by a number of respected journals. She is a professional submissions adviser. You can follow her on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/emilyharstone/