Arthur A. Levine Books is a Scholastic imprint that accepts submissions. Sadly their work and my work don’t jive but I have to love them for the fact that they are a big deal and still stay open to unsolicited. Do read their guidelines before submitting because they DO NOT take novels in their entirety.
Albert Whitman and Co. has always been a personal favorite of mine and not just because my son loved the Boxcar Children series. My friends Dori and Jeff published with them and they just have so many great books. This is a publisher who publishes essential nonfiction (age appropriate books about many health matter) but fun picture books.
Charlesbridge has always been one of my dream publishers. I almost made a sale to them. Almost. My friends Kristen, Jeanie and Donna all have picture books with Charlesbridge. I love them for their amazing nonfiction.
Creston Books is fairly new but I love Rotten Pumpkin which takes a pumpkin through the decomposition process. Not exactly your typical picture book but Creston rose to the challenge with magnificent photos of MOLD as several of the illustrations. Yep. Mold. And those photos are amazing.
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers is another one of my dream publishers. I actually wrote my prayer book with them in mind and, if I don’t get any interest on the part of an agent, off to Eerdman’s I go.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Children is another one of the big players and I’ll admit it. I didn’t believe it when I heard they were open to unsolicited. But they are as is Clarion. You use this same link to access information for Clarion as well.
That’s not an exhaustive list but here are 6 trade publishers who take unsolicited manuscripts. The next time that someone tells you that you have to have an agent to send in your work just smile.