The Internet is a haven for those wanting to find free children's books. Besides saving money, these books are easily accessible anywhere you have an Internet connection and computer, tablet or smart phone. Even better, your children will have access to books from all over the world instead of just what's available at your local store or library.
Ideal for ages two to four, these books are ideal for pulling out when you need something to occupy your little one.
123 Picture Book
123 Picture Book offers a simple representation of animals and counting for a preschooler learning beginning counting. It goes through numbers one to ten. In addition, the book has been translated and placed online in other languages, including Spanish, French and Japanese. Books are read online directly from the website, and are posted as jpg files.
ABC Bicycle Book
ABC Bicycle Book goes through each letter of the alphabet and offers an illustration for a word that goes with that letter. For example, the letter "D" page lists the word "dinner" and shows an illustration of someone eating dinner.
The Farm Animals
The Farm Animals is an illustrated story that goes through the different sounds farm animals make. There are even clickable speakers that will read the text out loud to your preschooler. Simple buttons allow the reader to navigate to the next page or previous page.
Round Bird is perfect for preschoolers because it offers boldly colored illustrations and a simple storyline that explains why Round Bird is different. The book goes through the struggles he faces and ends with a great message to find what's special about him.
Ages Six to Nine
Ideal for first and second graders, these classic books feature easy-to-read text and colorful illustrations.
The Little Gingerbread Man
The Little Gingerbread Man is a favorite story that has been handed down from generation to generation in one form or another. In this online free book, the little old lady makes a gingerbread man, but he runs away. In this version, a butterfly befriends the gingerbread man and swoops in to save him before he is eaten by the fox. He lives happily ever after in a little gingerbread house. Although there are illustrations, this book has quite a bit of text, which will make it easier to read for those on slower Internet connections. Navigation is simple, click on the back or forward arrow or on the page number you want to go to.
The Veleveteen Rabbit
The Velveteen Rabbit - This classic children's book follows a stuffed rabbit from being a beloved toy to a real rabbit because of the power of the tears from the child who loves him. Although the book is on Project Gutenberg and thus doesn't offer illustrations, this would be a good book for an eight or nine-year-old child to read and perhaps add their own illustrations. There is also a version with a few illustrations on University of Pennsylvania's Digital Library.
Curious George Takes a Trip
Curious George Takes a Trip - Curious George, the famous monkey that finds mischief wherever he goes, is online with this free book. Accessing the book is easy. Simply read the page and click the arrow to advance. The page will turn as though the child is reading a real book and turning the page. Use with or without sound.
The Wolf's Side
The Wolf's Side of Little Red Riding Hood - This book is written by a ten year old and tells the wolf's side of the story from the Little Red Riding Hood tale. Has a small illustration of the wolf at the top of the page and the wolf will read the story to you if you like.
Ages Nine to Twelve
Have your student fall in love with old favorites. These are great options to keep your tween busy on a car ride.
It's Like This, Cat
It's Like This, Cat - Published in 1963 and a Newberry award winner, the story follows a teen boy whose father tells him a dog is good for a boy, so he gets a cat. Owning the cat brings new people and new adventures to his life. The book is set in New York. Although there are some illustrations, this is a typical chapter book for this age group. Easy to read and scroll down the page or download and upload to your eBook reader.
Little Women - The classic tale by Louisa May Alcott follows sisters as they struggle with finances and their parents' absence. It's a story of growing up, but is sweet and pure. The book offers short pages. Simply scroll through and read. Your child won't be able to finish this book in one sitting, so you'll want to be sure to note where she leaves off for the next reading session.
Dumpster Garden - Jared has to deal with a school bully but then discovers a greater purpose in life. The book is a quick 19-page read, but lacks illustrations. Read online or download for Kindle, Nook, Sony or iPad. This book is a "set your own price" book. You can set the price to zero. Simply click on the gold "Buy" button on the right and put 0.00 in the box and checkout. You will not be charged anything at that price. Smashwords will then give you a link to download the book.
Alice in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland - Follow Alice down the rabbit hole and into an amazing world filled with mad hatters, grinning cats and evil queens. There is a nice cover illustration at the beginning and an easy-to-access test for the rest of the book. It is broken up into 12 separate chapters. The table of contents offers links to each chapter, so encourage your child to finish complete chapters to more easily find her place when she goes back to read more.
These are books that your teen will likely have to read at some point during high school.
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte's story of a young governess who discovers a dark secret in the attic of the house she's living in. Follow Jane as she grows up, falls in love and overcomes unusual circumstances. Broken into 38 chapters that are easily accessible from the table of contents.
The Call of the Wild
The Call of the Wild - Jack London's tale of survival is one that will resonate with teen boys of all ages. The book is told from the viewpoint of the dog, Buck. Book is an easy to read, simple text.
The House of Seven Gables
The House of Seven Gables - The Pyncheon family lives in a creepy, dark mansion with seven gables. They face all types of problems. The theme of the story is that the choices made by one generation impact following generations. Easy to read as it is viewable as plain text through any browser window.
Anne of Green Gables
Anne of Green Gables - The red-headed orphan, Anne Shirley, is adopted. Anne has to learn to adapt to country living, having newfound friends and growing up. In an easy to access HTML format that should work for nearly any computer or reader.
Other Free Books Online
Locating children's books online for free is an easy task. A few sources will help you get started:
- Free Children's Read Along Books Online - LoveToKnow has put together this resource of online read along books. You'll find links to Robert Munsch's books, a Canadian storyteller, as well as info on sites that offer additional reading.
- ByGosh offers some of the timeless classics for children to read online including Cinderella, The Little Red Hen and The City Mouse and the Country Mouse. You can also find a variety of novels, nonfiction and short stories.
- Chapter Books to Read Online offers a collection of titles that is perfect for the reader who is ready to advance into intermediate reading. You'll get a breakdown of some of the best sites to find chapter books on, as well as a couple of titles from each site to get you started.
Why Free Books?
The most important thing is to encourage your child to read as much and as often as possible. Online books are quick to find and easy to access. They meet the love for technology that the younger generation has. In addition, they can stretch your homeschool budget so you have more to invest in those special books that you want to put on your keeper shelf. You'll also find that the selection of online reading is almost endless, with new books being released every day.