Free Books for Children, Where to Find Them?
Easy Ways to Find Free Children’s Books Online
Back in November, I wrote a post recommending some free books for children. The reason they were free, in this case, is because they were in the Public Domain. There are a lot of books there, classics that have been long forgotten and others that haven’t been forgotten as much as they been re-published and re-visited and re-hashed. Not that that’s a bad thing. I’ve noticed, this past month, that this post has become my most popular, and with reason.
As I talk to neighbours (with the full road and footpath between us) the recurring theme is this: boredom. I get it and, at the same time, I don’t. I do understand that it can be boring and I certainly remember being bored to death when I was a child and even a teenager. But those times are long gone. I have developed many hobbies and interests and, even, a profession, that keep me entertained all the time. Writing, watching movies or series, cooking, even knitting. But mostly, reading.
Every time somebody tells me they are bored, the first thing that comes to mind is this: read a book! I can’t help it, it’s what I would do.
But I am also aware that, to be a reader, it’s not enough to just grab a book. Like many other hobbies and interests, reading needs to be cultivated. I am not saying, though, that you should only read certain books. I am not about to dust off Faulkner and Dostoevsky. Read anything, anything you want. But read. I’ve noticed this in my own evolution as a reader.
When I was a beginner, if I read ten pages or so and wasn’t immediately grabbed by the story, I dropped the book. It had to be a page turner straight away. But, as the years passed and I read more and more books, I realised that I can pretty much immerse myself into anything nowadays. There are some books I leave, but it has more to do with concepts feeling wrong to me than the readability or even the story itself.
So, yes, I believe that reading could get everybody through this. This said, there is not enough money to buy all the books I could be reading in this time of isolation and solitary reflection, so finding free books would be helpful. And if the free books are for children, even better. Below you can find a few resources and ideas.
Free Books for Children on the Public Domain
You can see my post here, with some specific recommendations of books for children, or you can go to the below websites and find what best suits you.
The Hathi Trust Digital Library offers a vast collection of books on the free domain, having included some of the more recent books that have been added to the public domain.
This said, it’s not a very organic search. It’s more like a University Digital Library. The search has to be quite specific and, if you don’t have a title in mind, you might not be able to find it.
Definitely my go-to website for Free books. The search is much more flexible and also organizes your search by subjects. You can find here the themes identified for the free books for children on the side. From ‘Children’s Stories’, to ‘Poor Children’, to ‘Children’s Poetry’, there is a lot to browse and discover.
Free Books on Amazon
No, don’t be surprised, there are a lot of books that are free on Amazon. Here is how.
Now, yes, KU is a paying service, but you can get a month free. You can read many, many picture books to your kids during that time. Depending on their level, they can read many young fiction too in that time. After that, depending on how much they read, you might want to consider if it is worth paying a monthly fee or not. I, personally, think it is, but that’s just me.
With KU, though, you borrow the books, which means that you will have to ‘return’ some, before you can download new ones, but their system tells you, so it’s easy to manage.
Amazon doesn’t actually run promotions as such, but authors and publishing houses do, choosing to set their e-books for free, even for a limited amount of time. It’s easy to find out which ones, though. If you do a simple search on their website for children’s books, you will get a full list of books for children. You can choose, from the left hand side options, an age range, and a genre, in between others. All you have to do then is go to the top right hand side corner of your search and click on ‘Sort by’, then pick ‘Price: Low to High’.
For reasons only known to Amazon, some of the books you will see, in the middle of all the free books, are not actually free. Don’t be discouraged by it, thinking there is only a couple of free books. Keep scrolling.
The difference with this option, compared to KU, is that you get to own these books. You don’t need to return them. They are yours.
Apple: I don’t have any Apple devices, so I don’t feel confident giving you any advice on iBooks, but you can find some useful information here.
Kobo: I am new to Kobo, so only a brief note. If you type Free on the search box, it will take you to where you want. Ideally, it would have a menu to narrow down your options to the genre you want, but I can’t see one. However, it does resemble Netflix in that books in the results page will show under Categories. To make it easier for you, here you have the link for Kids and YA books.
You might want to browse the main Free Books page as there is a section specifically for Sesame Street books and, well, you might also find something for yourself.
Maven and Perry
I also want to do my bit. Both The Blue Giant and The Branch Witch will be free soon, for as many days as Amazon allows me to, at least. In the meantime, I’ve lowered their price to as little as I could, £1.49. They will remain at that price at least until lock-down is over but, maybe, forever. They are both available for free on Kindle Unlimited though.
I will also re-release A Star for the Tree to the mailing list. It is a Christmas story, but it will be free for all new subscribers.
Also, for the adult public, remember Sophie-Anne and I are publishing a crime novel by installments to the mailing list and, later, published on our websites. You can find Episode 1 here.
These are strange, difficult times and we don’t know how long it’s going to last. It is hard to keep our spirit up. As I told my husband, while you might not be able to go out in body, you might want to go out in mind. Books are the best public transport for that.
Stay home, keep safe, read.