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About Us
Free Spirit's MissionOur HistoryIllustration/Design/Photography SubmissionsWhat People Are Saying About Free SpiritFree Spirit BooksGreen Press InitiativeMap and Directions to Free Spirit  • Certified Woman-Owned Business

Free Spirit’s Mission
Everyday life presents many challenges for kids, from home to school to the wider world. No matter how many choices, changes, and opportunities young people face, Free Spirit has had the same mission for 30 years: to provide children and teens—and the adults who care for and about them—with the tools they need to succeed in life and to make a positive difference in the world.

Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Free Spirit Publishing is known for its unique understanding of what kids want (and need) to navigate life successfully. Our reputation as the leading publisher of Self-Help for Kids® and Self-Help for Teens® is grounded in books and other learning materials that are practical, positive, pro-kid, and solution focused. We’re not afraid to tackle tough topics such as teen depression, kids and anxiety, grief and loss, juvenile justice, and conflict resolution. Free Spirit also offers sound advice with a sense of humor on relevant issues including stress management, character building, puberty, school success, self-esteem, service learning, and more. We aim to meet all kids—toddlers, teens, and in-betweens—where they are (not where we wish they were), and support them to develop their talents, build resiliency, and foster a positive outlook on life so they can reach their goals. In early 2007, Free Spirit formed an Advisory Board of Educators, a diverse group of K–12 teachers, counselors, librarians, administrators, and social workers who provide us with valuable feedback about our products. In early 2008, Free Spirit added the Teen Advisory Council, whose members contribute opinions on design, art, and content. With the boards’ input, our books stay current, credible, and extra beneficial for children, teens, and adults.

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Our History
A former classroom teacher and gifted-education specialist, Free Spirit founder Judy Galbraith remembers looking in vain for kid-friendly information that addressed the real-life issues her students faced. In 1983, she made a decision to begin filling that void, starting her own company to offer accessible, contemporary books to help young people develop socially, emotionally, and intellectually. More than two decades later, Free Spirit Publishing continues to be the leader in Self-Help for Kids® and Self-Help for Teens®, building its list from just a few titles to over 285 award-winning books and products, with new titles being published every year.

Free Spirit pushes boundaries on behalf of young people. For example, we pioneered use of the term “learning differences” to replace “learning disabilities” because we know that kids with LD are eager and able to learn—just in a different way. Free Spirit is also a recognized leader in meeting the needs of another special population—gifted and talented youth. Judy Galbraith’s groundbreaking The Gifted Kids’ Survival Guide: For Ages 10 & Under and The Gifted Teen Survival Guide first published in 1984, have remained perennial best sellers (over 300,000 copies in print) through several updates and revisions. One of Free Spirit’s newest ventures is in expanding our early childhood offerings, by adding bilingual editions of our classic titles such as Hands Are Not for Hitting (over 500,000 copies in print) and developing series such as the Toddler Tools series (100,000 copies in print).

As our book inventory has grown, so has our need for office space. In 2000, Free Spirit moved from its beloved-but-cramped single-story offices to a century-old building in the downtown Minneapolis Warehouse District. A national historic landmark, newly renovated, the Free Spirit Publishing Building offers a comfortable, efficient, and bustling space where our staff can keep developing books that strengthen kids and teens, while providing quality and service to our customers. We look forward to continuing our mission for (at least!) another 30 years.

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What People Are Saying About Free Spirit

“Free Spirit does a particularly good job providing materials for those who want to promote social, emotional, and character development (SECD) . . . When they develop materials, they are concerned about the research supporting what they are doing. They use peer review to ensure that what is being provided to consumers represents the best available knowledge, leavened with format and delivery systems that are likely to be used and enjoyed.”
—Maurice Elias, Edutopia blogger, and director of the Rutgers Social-Emotional Learning Lab at Rutgers University

Free Spirit Publishing has won accolades and notice from educational leaders, the publishing trade, and the general media. Free Spirit Publishing’s books have been critically hailed and honored by:

  • American Library Association
  • Parents’ Choice
  • Dr. Toy
  • International Reading Association
  • Youthworker Journal
  • Gifted Child Quarterly
  • Gifted Education Communicator (CAG)
  • YALSA (Young Adult Library Society of America)
  • VOYA (Voice Of Youth Advocates)
  • School Library Journal magazine
  • Parenting magazine
  • Teaching Tolerance magazine
  • New York Public Library
  • National Mental Health Association
  • Learning magazine (Teachers’ Choice Award)
  • USA Today
  • and many more

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Free Spirit books have also been

  • used and recommended by groups and organizations such as the Girl Scouts of the USA, the National PTA, the Lutheran Missouri Synod, Head Start Programs, the Southern Poverty Law Center, juvenile justice professionals, and more
  • translated into over 25 foreign languages
  • the trusted, dog-eared companions of parents, teachers, counselors, youth workers, and kids everywhere


Our titles are available directly from Free Spirit and also can be found at bookstores and online booksellers across the country.

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Illustration/Design/Photography Submissions

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Green Press Initiative
As a member of the Green Press Initiative, Free Spirit Publishing is committed to the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Whenever possible, we print our books on recycled paper containing a minimum of 30% post consumer waste. At Free Spirit, it’s our goal to nurture not only children, but nature, too! To find out more about Green Press Initiative go to

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Certified Woman-Owned Business
Free Spirit Publishing is a WBENC-certified Women’s Business Enterprise. WBENC certification affirms that Free Spirit is woman-owned, operated, and controlled. Judy Galbraith has been the sole owner of Free Spirit since she started the company in 1983. This certification enables us to help our business partners foster diversity and continue to develop their diversity programs.

Learn more about Free Spirit's WBENC-certification as a Woman-Owned Business.

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Map and Directions to Free Spirit
Map and Directions.pdf

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