There are many paths to publication.  Here are some that worked for me:

1) Enroll in "Writing for the Youth Market" classes through UCLA Extension. This gave me the biggest jumpstart for my writing career. You can take online courses, or courses taught either at UCLA or satellite campuses (including Occidental College in Eagle Rock). Here's a link: http://www2.uclaextension.edu/writers

2) Join SCBWI and attend conferences and schmoozes. Also register to be on your local listserv, this will help keep you current on kidlit happenings throughout your region. Here's a link: http://www.scbwi.org/

3) Buy, peruse, or check-out at the library current and back copies of Writer's Digest's CHILDREN'S WRITER'S & ILLUSTRATOR'S MARKET, formerly edited by Alice Pope. It contains basic information on which publishing houses are accepting manuscripts and many in-depth interviews with authors, illustrators, editors, and agents. Here's a link: http://www.cwim.blogspot.com/

Best of luck!