Downloading kids' books is easy and convenient, not to mention having children's books on your portable device makes for one-stop entertainment when you're out and about with the kids. There are a variety of formats and books available, so whether you have a Kindle, Nook, smartphone or iPad, you're guaranteed to find something to download. It's like carrying around a personal library.
Open Library is one of the best options for downloading books. The site features a variety of children's books in the Children's Library but also incorporates texts from Project Gutenberg as well as several other libraries. It's a comprehensive source for downloadable children's books, and with a broad range of age-appropriate materials. The site offers many formats, including PDF, plain txt, DAISY, ePub, DiVu and MOBI. Open Library also features an online, interactive display of the original book. You can also browse the online collection via a tag cloud, which allows you to see at a glance the many subject areas in the collection.
The collection for children spans a broad age-range and many genres. When you click on a title to download, look to the left to see a listing of the various formats the title comes in. Click on your preferred format and follow the prompts to download.
- ABC Book: Published in 1923, this little book goes through all the letters of the alphabet, with an animal featured on each page (letter). From antelope to zebra, you'll find all the animals you often expect to see in such a book (with the unicorn to round out the bunch). The bright colors and large font will immediately capture your child's attention.
- The Tale of Peter Rabbit: The Tale of Peter Rabbit is one of the most famous books for young readers. A young rabbit disobeys his mother by running off to a local garden to steal vegetables. The farmer discovers the little rabbit and sends him on a horrendous fright flight. This little book is a great lesson in morality, with colorful illustrations. It will also inspire you to search out (and download) more books by Beatrix Potter.
- Velveteen Rabbit: This book is one your kids will ask for repeatedly. Kids are transfixed whenever they read this story, which talks about the magic of love, friendship and the realities of life.
- Peter Pan: J.M. Barrie wrote in 1912 about a young boy who lives in a magical land (the mysterious Neverland: "Second to the right... and straight on til morning"), where he and the other Lost Boys never will grow up. It's a mix of pirates, adventure, friendship and danger.
- Stories from Hans Christian Andersen: This collection features some of the most famous stories from Hans Christian Andersen including The Nightingale, The Real Princess, The Garden of Paradise, The Mermaid, and The Emperor's New Clothes. You'll also find some of the most famous classic illustrations from Edmund Dulac interspersed through these digital pages.
- Anne of Green Gables: Anne Shirley is a redheaded orphan who takes her little world by storm in her individualistic madcap style. Her many misadventures include falls, scrapes, a near drowning, a ridiculous dye job, poetic ruminations, and much more. You'll also want to take a look at the rest of the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery.
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: Everyone loves Tom and his gang of mischievous friends. They're always getting into trouble, but everyone wants to be just like them. After you've read and enjoyed this book, you'll want to take a look at the rest of the series by Mark Twain, which includes: Tom Sawyer, Detective, and Tom Sawyer, Abroad.
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: Dorothy is swept off in a whirling tornado from her drought-worn Kansas farm to the magic land of Oz, where she and a group of misfits (a cowardly lion, a tin woodsman, and a scarecrow) combine forces to overcome seemingly impossible odds to realize their dreams.
- The Secret Garden: Published in 1911, Frances Hodgson Burnett's famous novel centers around the life and misadventures of Mary Lennox, a 10-year-old orphan who goes to live with her uncle and cousin in Yorkshire, England. Their lives are all irrevocably changed for the better when Mary and her cousin discover a mysterious garden. When you download (and love) this book, you'll likely want to take a look at other children's books by Frances Hodgson Burnett (including the ever-popular A Little Princess).
Brill Baby is the best kind of downloadable book site. It's specifically designed to meet the needs of parents who are teaching their children to read, with stimulation cards, flashcard printouts, PowerPoint slide shows, and activity sheets. The collection of full-color books is designed as free and downloadable books via PDF and is targeted to young readers and listeners specifically. You'll find something that appeals to everyone, including these titles:
- The New Toy: The title perfectly describes what the story is about, but it's also a topic of interest to young readers. With colorful pictures and basic language, this book is targeted for beginning readers.
- The Three Little Pigs: It's a favorite story. The three pigs leave home and strike out on their own. Of course, they encounter a challenging character (the wolf) and ultimately come together as a family.
- Colors of the Rainbow: Colors and rainbows are ever-popular topics for young readers. This book explains how the colors of the rainbow came to be (the clouds cry, and the angels bring the colors). It's fun, colorful, and sentimental.
All the full-color books on Zlibris are available for free download via pdf. However, one of the nice features of this site is it also provides a link to hard-copy version, so you can go back and purchase the book from the bookstore. While the selection at Zlibris isn't huge, you'll find a few classics.
- Mother Goose: The fairy tales and nursery rhymes of the imaginary Mother Goose author are favorites. However, the colorful illustrations that accompany most editions are perfect for your young, developing reader (or listener). This download book features: Hush-a-bye, Baby, Sing a Song of Sixpence, There Was a Crooked Man, Hickory Dickory Dock and many other favorites.
- World Famous Nursery Rhymes (Vol. 1, Vol. 2 and Vol. 3): This downloadable collection is a perfect companion to your reading adventures. In this full-color, fun and imaginative series, you'll find The Man in the Moon, Wee Willie Winkie, This Little Pig, Lavender's Blue, Two Little Kittens, and more nursery rhymes.
While the books on Zlibris are commonly used for young, beginning-level readers (and listeners), older readers will enjoy the full-color illustrations and fun rhyming. You can also use these rhymes as idea generators for developing writers as well as material for memorization and recitation. How many of these famous rhymes and stories do you remember from your childhood? Share the experience with your children.
Books Should Be Free
Books Should Be Free features books that are targeted for a slightly older audience, with lots of genre options (mystery, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, short story, teen fiction, etc.) and file formats (ePub, Mobi, txt, and mp4) available.
- Aesop's Fables: You'll find 12 volumes of the Aesop's Fables available for download. These short fables are great lessons in character for young readers, and who doesn't love to read about talking animals?
- Poems Every Child Should Know: Mary Burt's collection was first published in 1904. It features some well-known favorites such as, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, The Village Blacksmith (as well as many other favorites from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow), My Shadow from Robert Louis Stevenson, The Owl and the Pussy-Cat, Tennyson's Sweet and Low, and even Clement Clarke Moore's famous A Visit from St. Nicholas. Enjoy these poems with your little readers (listeners) and then allow the collection to grow with your family. These are poems you can return to, each time from a different perspective.
- The Jungle Book: You may be familiar with the animated versions of Rudyard Kipling's famous collection of stories, but the book is so much better. The stories were first published in magazines (1893-94), and they do a great job of depicting a child's life growing up in India.
- Black Beauty: Anna Sewell's novel is "the autobiography of a horse." So, it's the story from the horse's point of view, which allows Sewell to capture her love for animals (and her hatred of animal cruelty) in a new narrative style. The book was a best-seller when it was first published in 1877, and it's still popular!
- Treasure Island: It's the story of Jim Hawkins and his adventures with pirates, a treasure map, and high-seas treachery. The novel was written for boys, but the danger and intrigue are of interest to everyone (and even adults).
Free Kids Books
Free Kids Books offers downloadable books for toddlers, children, and older children (up to 12 years), and encourages reading with easy to use layouts and navigation. The books are available in PDF or hard copies, and there are Spanish versions of some titles. Readers rate the books and offer reviews, and it's a friendly and engaging site, with offerings in a multitude of areas, from alliteration and alphabet books to fruits and vegetables, monsters, and values. The books include stories from many cultures and provides readers with an introduction to people and cultures around the world.
- Naughty or Not: An interactive book by Madhav Chaven and Rijuta Ghate where readers can help answer questions being good... or being naughty. The text and pictures make this an appealing read filled with fun questions and answers, and how we love our families even if someone is naughty for a day!
- Walking: For a little girl in Africa, going to a clinic (the doctor's office) is made fun by singing songs, chatting with her mother and sharing stories. Written by Louwrisa Blaaux and Jade Mathieson, the colors, and simplicity of Walking match the sweet and reassuring text.
- Where are the Animals?: From Mustard Seed Books, comes lovely photos of animals in their habitats and a simple text which let readers explore the world of tigers, hippos, and other fiercely happy creatures.
- Bhabhloo Bear's Adventure by Paro Anand and Suvidha Mistry takes readers to the Himalayas where the young bear of the title climbs trees, plays in the snow, and causes a bit of trouble for his parents. An unusual animal hero and beautiful illustrations make this book an enjoyable way to discover a rarely visited part of the world.
- Dive!, written and illustrated by Rajiv Eipe, presents the life and colors of a tropical reef. This nonfiction story is an excellent introduction the wonders of the undersea world.
- Tania's Martian Encounter was written by Kanika G, a physicist, and mom who includes science in her illustrated books, along with humor and adventure. Tania's uncle is coming to visit: he works at NASA and Tania wants to learn more about space and the planets.
- Gifted by Celesta Thiessen is a science fiction fantasy novel about a young girl, her special paranormal powers and an escape from an evil organization. Adventure and suspense add to the plot which will engage readers right up to the exciting ending.
- Journey into the Net by Marina Moyari and Helga Moreno is a cyber thriller with superheroes and a narrator who explains the web and its mysterious workings. There are plenty of illustrations, but the text is not for young readers, and adults will enjoy the adventure as well.
New electronic resources are popping up every day, and many of the sites offer options for viewing, downloading, print, and interacting with children's books. So, there are more ways to connect with (and download) children's books, for free! Download some of the children's books mentioned here and then keep reading.