Wednesday, December 28, 2022



According to their website, "Charlesbridge publishes high-quality books for young people with a goal of creating lifelong readers and learners. We believe that books for children should offer accurate information, promote a positive worldview, and embrace a child’s innate sense of wonder and fun. To this end, we seek new voices, new visions, and new directions in children’s literature. We are especially interested in BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color) voices and other perspectives that have been traditionally underrepresented in publishing. Charlesbridge publishes fiction and nonfiction board books, picture books, early readers, middle-grade fiction and nonfiction (ages 8–12), and young adult novels (ages 12+). Our nonfiction tends to focus on nature, science, math, social studies, biography, history, and the arts. In both fiction and nonfiction, we are committed to reflecting and celebrating our diverse world. To find out if your book is a good match for us, get to know our program by downloading our catalog or visiting These guidelines are for informational purposes only and do not constitute a solicitation of any manuscript, artwork, or other material. Submission of any materials shall be done at the author/illustrator's own risk."

For more information, click here:

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Albert Whitman


According to their website, "Albert Whitman & Company currently has an open submissions policy. We will read and review un-agented manuscripts and proposals for picture books, middle-grade fiction, and young adult novels. Please read (our) instructions carefully. We will not review any submissions that do not follow these guidelines."

For more information, click here:

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Hogs Back Books

According to their website, "We publish picture books for children up to 10 year, early readers for children up to 14 and teenage fiction."

For more information, click here: 

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Arbordale Press


According to their website, this publisher is looking for "physical science, engineering, earth science, science or math manuscripts with a cultural/social studies connection, manuscripts for Pre-K3 to kindergarten-age children."

For more information, click here: 

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Red Deer Press


According to their website: "Red Deer Press publishes upscale children’s picture books, including illustrated Aboriginal titles, as well as cutting-edge juvenile and young-adult fiction. Our adult list includes history, sports, science fiction, humour and current affairs"

For more information, click here:

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Sky Pony Press


According to their website: "We publish picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and YA fiction and nonfiction. We’re open to any genre and style, and we’re always looking for something new and different. We love original concepts, fresh voices, and writing that knocks us off our feet.

To submit a manuscript or proposal to Sky Pony, please send an email to skyponysubmissions (at) skyhorsepublishing (dot) com.

Please put your query letter in the body of your email and attach all materials to be considered as a Word document, or in the case of art, as a jpeg. To make sure your email is received, please be mindful of the size of attachments included in your message."

For more information, click here:

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Blue Dot Kids Press


According to their website: "We publish books for children ages zero to twelve. We are looking for the following:


  • Middle-grade fiction, as well as nonfiction books, for kids ages eight to twelve

  • Fiction chapter books, as well as nonfiction books, for kids ages six to ten

  • Fiction and narrative nonfiction picture books for kids ages three to eight

  • Board books for kids ages zero to three

To support our mission, we only look for stories that fall into one or more of these categories:


1. Appreciation of nature, conservation, environmental stewardship, science 

2. Social/Emotional learning:  empathy, resilience, emotional intelligence, creative problem solving

In addition:

  • We are open to various forms of storytelling, including graphic novels.

  • If you are submitting a nonfiction picture book manuscript, note that we are only looking for narrative nonfiction manuscripts. Nonfiction material must be suited to supplement a school curriculum in some way and must include informative back matter."

For more information, click here:

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Flowerpot Press


According to their website: "We accept all manuscript submissions and have no specific requirements for submitting at this time. You can submit manuscripts digitally via email or mail in a copy of your manuscript to our design office."

For more information, click here:

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Creston Books


According to their website: "Creston Books fills the void left behind by the major New York publishers who no longer put out a broad range of quality picture books. The golden age of picture books, when fine books were edited and published despite not being blockbusters, does not have to be over. Creston Books is author/illustrator driven, with talented, award-winning creators given more editorial freedom and control than in a typical New York house. We work hard to promote every book we print, not just the few we think will sell the best."

For more information, click here:

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Holiday House


According to their website: " Holiday House is a publisher of children’s books only. We specialize in quality hardcovers, from picture books to young adult, both fiction and nonfiction. We publish children’s books for ages four and up. We do not publish mass-market books, including, but not limited to, pop-ups, activity books, sticker books, coloring books, or licensed books."


For more information, click here:

#picturebook #unsolicitedmanuscript #pbmanuscript #publisher #sel #friendship #bullying #animals #community #emotions #feelings #dinosaurs #fairytales #humor #school #kindness #holidays #christmas #valentines #halloween #easter #cincodemayo #birthday #groundhogday #hanukkah #fourthofjuly #independenceday #mothersday #presidentsday #spring #nature #sports #thanksgiving #math #counting #concepts 

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

According to their website: "Eerdmans Books for Young Readers accepts unsolicited hardcopy submissions, but we respond only to submissions we are interested in publishing. While we do not require submissions to be exclusive, we do ask that you inform us if you are simultaneously submitting it elsewhere, and certainly inform us if another publisher has expressed interest in your manuscript. If you have not heard from us after four months, you may assume that your submission does not fit the needs of our list."

#picturebook #unsolicitedmanuscript #pbmanuscript #publisher #sel #faith #goldenrule #family #families #community #communities #inspirational #bible #hope #courage #empowerment #kindness #Christian #bullying #friendship #judaism #jewish #hope #hopeful #honest #wise #diversity #history 

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Kids Can Press


According to their website: "We are committed to developing and promoting literary and artistic talent in all its diversity by amplifying underrepresented voices, and by inviting kids into books that capture different experiences and open their minds to new ideas and perspectives. As a proudly Canadian publisher, we’re particularly keen to showcase homegrown talent, but we also welcome submissions from authors, illustrators and agents around the world."

#picturebook #unsolicitedmanuscript #pbmanuscript #publisher #sel #newauthor #community #newideas #underrepresentedvoices #Canada #newexperience #diversity

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Cardinal Rule Press

Oh this is a GOOD one you guys! The amazing Cardinal Rule Press is a traditional publisher that makes beautiful books. They only open up for unsolicited submissions for a limited time during the year, and that time is NOW!

 According to their website: "Cardinal Rule Press produces high-quality children’s literature that empowers children through timeless messages of hope, courage and the Golden Rule.
We are a traditional publishing company located in southeast Michigan that produces a select number of books each year; all of which make a difference in the world while reflecting modern-day diversity.Cardinal Rule Press leads the way in providing messages that empower families, schools and communities through inspirational children’s books and educational programs and events that support our books’ powerful themes."
For more information, click here: 

#picturebook #unsolicitedmanuscript #pbmanuscript #publisher #sel #newauthor #goldenrule #family #families #community #communities #inspirational #michigan #hope #courage #empowerment #kindness #treatothers #modern #diversity

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Page Street Publishing


According to their website: "Thank you for your interest in becoming a Page Street author. We publish young adult (YA) fiction (for ages 12 and up), in all genres, and a variety of nonfiction books in such categories as cooking, sports, science, nature, interior design, crafts, and parenting. We also publish picture books in all genres for ages 4-8 with particular focus on new talent, artist-led narratives, engaging story arcs, and visually driven concepts. We do not publish board books, early readers, chapter books, or middle grade at this time."


For more information, click here:

#picturebook #unsolicitedmanuscript #pbmanuscript #publisher #YAfiction #newauthor #authorillustrator #artistled #strongstoryarc #engagingstory #visuallydriven #picturebookart #illustratorwriter

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Free Spirit Publishing

According to their website, "Whether at home, in school, or out in the world, all kids face challenges. No matter the choices, changes, and opportunities young people encounter, Free Spirit has had the same mission for nearly 40 years: to provide children and teens—and the adults who care for and about them—with the tools they need to think for themselves, overcome challenges, and make a difference in the world.”

For more information, please visit:

#picturebookpublisher #unsolicitedsubs #unagentedauthor #pbpublisher #kidlitpublisher #SELpublisher #selfhelpublisher

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Flash Light Press

As promised, here is the first in a series of posts about publishers who accept submissions of kidlit manuscripts from un-agented authors. Allow me to introduce... Flash Light Press! According to their website, "Flashlight Press books explore and illuminate the touching and humorous moments of family situations and social interactions through captivating writing and outstanding illustrations.”

For more information, please visit:

#picturebookpublisher #unsolicitedsubs #unagentedauthor #pbpublisher #kidlitpublisher #SEL #family #relationships #grandparents #community #communication 

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Who Wants to Write for Kids?

You do? Good. 

I have just the thing to help you get your "write" on. Actually, I have two ...

I now offer a critique service where you can get specific, detailed feedback on your manuscript - from plot points to page turns. For more information, click here:


I am also starting a series of free posts about publishers that accept unagented work, as well as posts linking to awesome author resources. My goal is to help authors get their hustle on, and start submitting. Details and links will be posted here on my Crooked Book blog on Wednesdays, Unless ... you know... I get distracted or busy or behind on a deadline. 

I will continue to share helpful insights along the way! And pictures of my pets (obviously). 

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Writing NF for Kids

My friend, and brilliant kidlit author, Jen Swanson writes the most fabulous NF books for younger audiences. And she teaches about it! Here is a link to one of her (many) posts on the subject: 

Writing NF for Kids

For more, head to her website at: 

Jennifer Swanson Books

Thursday, July 28, 2022


 Happy News! Happy News! PW just announced the sale of my picture book, GOODNIGHT SCHOOL, to Union Square Kids, with Cori Doerrfeld illustrating. I am over the moon excited for this two-book deal, and grateful to FLSCBWI for all their support. Yay!

Thursday, April 28, 2022


I have NEWS!

I am happy to share that Rex and Sam will return in DINOS DON’T MEDITATE in 2023. Thank you @soundstruekids @andreabrownlit and Alex Willmore for teaming up with me on another Dino-mite adventure!


Monday, April 25, 2022

“an author of sorts”



When I was 8 years old, I met James Howe at the local library. He wrote some of my favorite books, HOWLIDAY INN and BUNNICULA. Our local newspaper covered the event and snapped my photo, describing me as “an author of sorts.” I still have the books that he graciously signed, and I am still a super fan of librarians and authors everywhere.  

Thursday, April 14, 2022

School Library Journal Review: Hustle Bustle Bugs

From the prestigious reviewers at the SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL... 

"It’s a challenge to write an informational book in rhyme without the word choices seeming forced, but this one succeeds. With text that flows naturally; it begs to be read aloud. The rhyming phrases are accompanied by companion facts that appear as scraps of paper taped onto the pages. While there are many other insect books, this one employs a distinct concept. The work of each of the bugs being considered is compared to different jobs humans may have. Many of the connections are especially inventive and surprising. Bailey writes “rain or shine, sleet or snow, it’s one big bug world on the go!” In this way, she shows that they are like postal workers who do their work in all kinds of weather. She compares fireflies to park rangers, as both send out protective warnings. Excellent for vocabulary building, a lot of strong words, such as chomp, chew, croon, dance, trek and trap, stand out in contrasting colors. Eldridge has constructed scenes using real environmental materials like sticks, leaves, and dirt, employing a variety of craft materials to sculpt the bugs and the two inquisitive characters. Back matter includes additional fun facts. VERDICT A worthwhile purchase for collection seeking to expand their insect resources or informational books in rhyme."

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Kirkus Review: Hustle Bustle Bugs


From the Kirkus...

"Rhyming couplets meet larger-than-life creatures … How could a bug lover not appreciate two dung beetles who seem to be conversing across their ball of poop? Beyond its three-dimensional flora and fauna, the art includes two wide-eyed, observant girls, both brown-skinned. ... Lively affirmation for budding entomologists."

Friday, March 25, 2022


The first time I heard the term "high concept picture book” was at a SCBWI conference in 2010. I had no clue what it meant and - full disclosure - I did not find out the answer until, well, let's just say reeeaaally recently.


Here is a fabulous article I wish had been available way back in 2010!

Tuesday, February 22, 2022


Happy Birthday to this beautiful, buggy book, which officially creepy-crawls out from Little Brown Books for Young Readers TODAY! 

#picturebook #bugbook #PB #bookbirthday @lkliterary @eldridgestudio @cbaileybooks @LittleBrownYR 


Thursday, January 6, 2022

Pitch, Synopsis or Blurb? Stef knows!


Whenever I write a new PB I always also draft a little blurb to go along with the story. I do this even when my manuscripts are very, very rough because it helps me focus on my main idea. I am easily distracted and will often - SQUIRREL! Oh yea, and just like the main story, my blurb gets edited over and over again. 

Since drafting blurbs (and pitches and synopsis) is one of my favorite author "hacks" for creating a strong MS, I was thrilled to come across the following blog post by author Stef Gemmill. She brilliantly explains the difference between these itty bitty - but oh so important - word piles.