Submission Guidelines

Free Spirit Publishing and Shell Education

Determining Whether Your Work Is a Fit 

If you are interested in being a Free Spirit or Shell Education author, please familiarize yourself with our books at www.freespirit.com and www.teachercreatedmaterials.com/shell-education

We also recommend that you check out our books at your local library or bookstore to get a feel for our tone and style.

Commitment to Diversity 

Free Spirit Publishing and Shell Education are committed to uplifting diverse voices with books that are relevant and inclusive for the youth we serve. We are especially seeking manuscripts from authors of diverse representation; including race, ethnicity, culture, religion, social class, LGBTQ identities, ability, and physical differences.

We do not accept the following types of submissions:

  • General fiction or storybooks outside of our mission
  • Books with animal or mythical characters main characters
  • Poetry
  • Nonfiction material with religious or New Age content, or books with religious messages outside of the representation of religious practices 
  • Self-help for adults

If your project is in any of the above formats, it is not right for us—even if content themes overlap with those we publish on.

Note: Due to the large volume of submissions we receive, we are unable to respond to individual queries that are not accompanied by a complete proposal. Please review the previous categories carefully. If you think your work may be a fit for Free Spirit or Shell Education, you may submit a full proposal according to our guidelines.

  

Submitting a Proposal

Only proposals with the following elements will be considered for publication:

  • A cover letter briefly outlining your project, the intended audience (including age ranges), and your relevant expertise
  • A current résumé
  • A market analysis with a comprehensive list of similar titles and a detailed explanation of how your project differs from available products
  • A detailed chapter-by-chapter outline
  • At least two sample chapters (if a full manuscript is available, you may send it)
    Note: For picture book submissions, the entire text is required for evaluation. Bracketed art suggestions are appreciated, though illustration samples should not be sent unless professionally competent.
  • A description of your personal promotion plan for the proposed book (including both in-person and social media outreach)

As you prepare a proposal, it may help to keep a few of our main considerations in mind:

Need: Why is the book needed? How is it different from similar available titles?

Purpose: Who will use the book? How will they use it?

Quality: Is the project well written and researched? Is the style similar to that of our other award-winning, jargon-free, solution-focused titles?

Relevance: Is the subject matter appropriate for our list? Does it compete with or complement other available titles from Free Spirit?


While we do our best to offer timely feedback on your project, the high volume of proposals we receive dictates a reply time of up to 6 months.

Free Spirit Publishing is committed to uplifting diverse voices with books that are relevant and inclusive for the youth we serve. We are especially seeking manuscripts from authors of diverse representation; including race, ethnicity, culture, religion, social class, LGBTQ identities, ability, and physical differences.

Submission Guidelines for Children’s and Teens’ Books

If you are a returning Free Spirit author, please contact us at acquistions@freespirit.com to receive the link to the invited submissions Submittable form.

We Are Looking for Strong Proposals for Ages Birth through Eighteen in the Following Categories:

PICTURE BOOKS WITH ALIGNMENT TO AN SEL TRAIT OR STRATEGY

Authentic, high-interest, and lyrically written picture books reflecting contemporary experiences of children from diverse cultures, backgrounds, religions, and identities; and that also align with a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) trait or strategy.

GIFTED & SPECIAL EDUCATION

Books on academic, social, and emotional development for young people of all ages with diverse learning needs, including gifted students and students with learning differences, ADHD, behavioral difficulties, or autism spectrum disorders.

BULLYING PREVENTION & CONFLICT RESOLUTION

Picture books and books for kids and teens, and resources for teachers, counselors, and other educators, to help young people understand, prevent, and respond to bullying incidents. We will also consider fiction for kids and teens that relates to these topics.

CHARACTER EDUCATION, LEADERSHIP & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Picture books and books for kids and teens to help young people build character, discover their leadership potential, and engage in their communities. We will also consider fiction for kids and teens that relates to these topics.

BOOKS FOR YOUNG CHILDREN

Board books for infants to age 4 and picture books for ages 3 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. We will also consider fiction that relates directly to these areas of focus.

COUNSELING & SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL LEARNING

Picture books and books for kids and teens to help children and teens deal with grief and loss, health and wellness, depression and other mental illnesses, stress, social skills and friendship, anger management, LGBTQ issues, manners, family, self-confidence, and more. We will also consider fiction for kids and teens that relates to these topics.


Submission Guidelines for Educator Resources

If you are a returning Free Spirit author, please contact us at acquistions@freespirit.com to receive the link to the invited submissions Submittable form.

We Are Looking for Strong Proposals to Support Teaching Strategies and Professional Development

Practical, jargon-free materials for educators, administrators, counselors, and youth workers that focus on positive youth development, creative teaching strategies, leadership, and a wide range of social and emotional needs.

GIFTED & SPECIAL EDUCATION

Resources for educators, counselors, parents, and other adults that support children’s diverse learning and social and emotional needs.

BULLYING PREVENTION & CONFLICT RESOLUTION

Books for teachers, counselors, and other educators to help young people understand, prevent, and respond to bullying incidents.

CHARACTER EDUCATION, LEADERSHIP & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Resources for teachers, counselors, and other educators to help young people build character, discover their leadership potential, and engage in their communities.

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

Guides for early childhood teachers, program directors, and other educators working with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and early elementary children (birth to age 8). We look for hands-on, teacher-friendly guidance that is research-based, classroom tested, and focused on best practices to support the social, emotional, and cognitive development of young children. Topics include social skills, behavior challenges, healthy emotional development, diversity and equity, family engagement, emergent learning, and teaching strategies.

COUNSELING & SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL LEARNING

Educator resources to help children and teens deal with grief and loss, health and wellness, depression and other mental illnesses, stress, social skills and friendship, anger management, LGBTQ issues, manners, family, self-confidence, and more.

Free Spirit Publishing and Shell Education