Free Spirit’s Mission
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.
Today more than ever, young people need social and emotional guidance. We aim to meet all kids—babies, teens, and everyone in between—where they are (not where we wish they were) and to support them in developing their talents, building resiliency, and fostering a positive outlook on life so they can reach their full potential.
You can use our books to tackle tough topics such as anger and stress management, childhood and teenage depression, anxiety, grief and loss, juvenile justice, and conflict resolution. And sometimes our sound advice includes a sense of humor
to help kids with school success, self-esteem, friendship and social skills, and more.
Our Self-Help for Kids® and Self-Help for Teens® books and other learning materials are practical, positive, pro-kid, and solution focused—not watered-down adult content.
In early 2007, Free Spirit formed an Advisory Council of Educators—a diverse group of preK–12 teachers, counselors, librarians, administrators, and social workers—who provide us with valuable feedback. This is just one of the ways our books stay current, credible, and truly helpful.
Who We Are
A former classroom teacher and gifted-education specialist, Free Spirit founder Judy Galbraith searched in vain for kid-friendly information that addressed the real-life issues her students faced. In 1983, she decided to fill that void by starting Free Spirit to offer accessible, contemporary books that help young people develop socially, emotionally, and intellectually.
Almost four decades later, Free Spirit Publishing continues to be the leader in social and emotional learning, building its list from just a few titles to over 300 award-winning books and products, with over 35 new titles published every year.
Free Spirit pushes boundaries on behalf of young people. For example, we pioneered the 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 kids. Judy Galbraith’s groundbreaking The Survival Guide for Gifted Kids: For Ages 10 & Under
and The Gifted Teen Survival Guide
, first published in 1984 and now with over 300,000 copies in print, have remained perennial best sellers through several updates and revisions. We continue to publish bilingual editions
of our classic titles from the Best Behavior®
series, the Learning to Get Along®
social skills series, and others. One of Free Spirit’s newest ventures is in story-based SEL picture books and books to increase awareness of important issues, such as childhood depression
and child hunger.
Free Spirit Professional®
books for educators complement our books for kids by providing educators with a complete offering of resources to improve teaching and learning. We offer a wide range of free resources
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. In the fall of 2015, Free Spirit moved again—this time to 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.
Free Spirit has millions of books in circulation around the world. Over 150 Free Spirit titles have been translated into 32 languages, including Croatian, Japanese, and Icelandic. Our books have received recognition from esteemed institutions including the American Library Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, YALSA (Young Adult Library Society of America), the National Mental Health Association, Mensa International, the Autism National Committee, the Chicago Public Library, the Girl Scouts of the USA, and many others. Free Spirit’s expert authors have been critically hailed on broadcast outlets including CNN, NPR, and the BBC, and have been written about in publications from Education Week
and School Library Journal
to USA Today
and the Washington Post
More impressive than all these accolades, Free Spirit books are the trusted, dog-eared companions of parents, teachers, counselors, youth workers, and kids everywhere. Our team of dedicated Free Spirits is available to support your needs. See our Contact Us
page for specifics.
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. This certification enables us to help our business partners foster diversity and continue to develop their diversity programs.