Where to find free children's books online

Now that so many schools and libraries are closed, where can you find free children's ebooks online? Here are some suggestions:

Oxford Owl by Oxford University Press (publishers of the widely used Oxford Reading Tree books) have many free ebooks on their site.

Book Trust (UK charity): online picture books, story-telling videos and games.

Story Shares - for teenagers: a library of books (mostly American) to read online.

Children's classics are easy to find online. Try these sites:

US Library of Congress has a collection of childrens' classics to read on screen (but how easily may depend on what type of screen).

Manybooks has a library of children's classics to read online or download free in many formats including pdf.

Project Gutenberg . No frills, but has a huge library of public domain works, which can be read online (though it's best to shrink your screen size on a large monitor) or downloaded in epub or mobi format - but not pdf.

Here are twenty popular titles that are free to download on Project Gutenburg. (Just be aware that they will appear in your download folder with uninformative names like pg35997, unless you rename them.)

Treasure Island by R L Stevenson
Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
The Second Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting
The Wouldbegoods by E. Nesbit
Five Children and It by E. Nesbit
The Railway Children by E. Nesbit
A Collection of Beatrix Potter Stories by Beatrix Potter
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Good modern children's books are harder to find online for free. There are many self-published ebooks on the internet, but sadly few of a high quality. Over the years I've reviewed free children's ebooks on the self-publishing site Smashwords. Here are some of their better books, in approximate order of reader's age:

Age 6 and up:
Uncle Rocky, Fireman #1: Fire by James Burd Brewster. This easy, illustrated story of a fireman's first real fire has plenty of detail and just enough excitement for younger readers .
Digger the Worm: a big dig by Peter Ponzo. A jolly little book about a forgetful worm.
Fang by A.M. Laye. 6 year old Jamie unexpectedly grows fangs: a thoughtful book about families and relationships.

Age 7 and up
The Witch's Dog by Stepanie Dagg. One of several good-humoured stories about Cackling Carol the witch.
Stupid River! by Peter A. Reynolds. A dryly humorous tale about an aardvark, with charming illustrations.
Frog Kisses by Maikah Smith. A short, thoughtful story with a twist.
Bogamus the Troll by Nathan Jones. Not flawless, but fun, this is an inventive tale of a helpful troll.
Ellie and the Mushroom Thief by Kate Amedeo. Ellie the witch finds an unexpected creature stealing her mushrooms in a gentle tale.
Look Here, Hercules by Teri Kanefield. A short, cheerful story about a girl's adopted dog.

Age 8 and up
The Cat Who Couldn't Miaow by A.M. Kirkby. Narrated by a cat adjusting to a new family, this short book is written with an assured touch.
Gobbles - the Hungry Cat by Maxwell Grantly. Jack's mother warns him, 'Don't overfeed the cat!' But somehow Jack keeps forgetting... A light-hearted short story.
The Prince who Turned into a Toad by Shelley Chappell - a fairy story with a twist. Prince Rupert deserves his toad status, but it's up to his sister to turn him back.
Tunnels of Terror by Anne Ludwig. When grouchy twin boys stay on a remote farmstead, they learn a lot about themselves in this adventure.
Archibald the Giant-Slayer by Terence O'Grady. Archibald tries to live up to his giant-slaying father's reputation, in this entertaining short book.
Andie's Adventures: the Boots and the Lion by Kaelan Cessna. A clever retelling of "Puss in Boots", with a few twists.

Age 9 and up
Growned by Tracey Meredith. Liam is kidnapped by fairies in a light-hearted story.
Stars by David McRobbie. A lively, well-crafted story about Charlie's efforts to prove himself innocent of art vandalism.
Daksha the Medicine Girl by Gita V. Reddy. Daksha lives in a poor village in India, where she uses her herbal knowledge to heal. A carefully-written, informative story.
Escape the Volcano by Stephanie Dagg: a realistic adventure set in France.
Tippie & the Big Cat by Catherine Kinnery. Set on a small Scottish island, this is a leisurely, good-humoured tale of school-children on the hunt for a big cat.
4 go to Dumdumland by Patrick Edgeworth. The opening words, "I fart at thee," set the tone for this anarchic, silly and entertaining adventure about a land where everyone pretends to be stupid.
The Little Demon Who Couldn't by Odelia Floris. A clever, well-written tale about Murmur, who disappoints his demon family by not being evil enough.
Fighting Tom (Jerry the Kat series) by Carolyn Lis. An unusual and entertaining story of a troop of cats that undergo military training, as sniffers for explosives.
Fierce Winds and Fiery Dragons by Nan Sweet.
When Carrie and Ivy hatch a dragon's egg, it leads them into exciting adventures.

Age 10 and up
A Dog of my Own by Richard Clark. Lively farce involving 11 year old Jonas and a movie-star dog.
Stella Sky - the Shattered Mirror by C.A. Strand. Two teens and a talking ferret find themselves marooned on a lake, in a well-told fantasy.
Rare pets and other oddities by David Leys. Quirky, entertaining short stories.
Keeper by Bonnie Garety. Ten-year old orphan Stephen has to make a new life with an unfriendly aunt.
Emily Macintosh, Ghostbuster by Jen Cole.
A lively, well-written ghost story.

Age 11 and over
Beyond Wisherton by Amanda Hamm. 12 year-old Sevra has an unwelcome supernatural gift, which means her whole family must leave their home.
Speed by D.C. Grant. A very competently written, involving thriller about a 14 year-old who finds himself caught up in a web of deceit after his parents' car crash.

This list only goes up to 2018 so there are bound to be more recent ones that I've missed.

I haven't reviewed picture books, but hope do so in a future post. Meanwhile, you can find many original picture books (as well as children's classics) at FreeKidsBooks.

Other sites that might be of interest:
Scholastic - learning resources to use at home (American) with book-based activities.

Open Culture - links to 200 free educational resources of all kinds and subjects.

And finally there's my own website, Megamouse Books, where everything is now free.

Happy reading!
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Share on Twitter
Published on April 04, 2020 03:08 Tags: children-s-books-online, classic-children-s-books, online-reading
No comments have been added yet.