9 Free Books to Get Right Now for World Book Day

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Cassie Gutman

Staff Writer

Cassie Gutman is happiest when surrounded by books and dogs. Originally from a small, funny-named town near Louisville, Kentucky, she now edits words for a living near Chicago and would like to be paid in ice cream. You can find her on Instagram @happybooklovers or on Twitter @cassiepgutman.

For the past several years, Amazon has celebrated World Book Day (April 23) by offering free ebooks from around the globe, ranging from award-winning fiction to under-the-radar memoirs and true crime. 2020 might see a few more of us reading right now due to COVID-19, so satisfying our travel bug by reading about far-off locales is a great way to pretend we can leave our homes.

Head to Amazon’s Read the World page to download these free ebooks now through April 24th, and keep reading to see what books are available! There’s even a picture book this year if you need your kid to do something on their tablet other than play games!

The Girl in the TreeThe Girl in the Tree by Şebnem İşigüzel, translated by Mark David Wyers

Two young people, amid the violence in their city of Istanbul, connect and fall in love as they try to navigate their changing world and political landscape.

Hard Rain by Irma Venter, translated by Elsa Silke

Journalist Alex Dersken is on a new assignment in Tanzania, and soon, chaos seems to be following him everywhere. Ranna is a beautiful photographer, and just as Dersken starts to get to know her better, she becomes the main suspect in a murder case.

Man Who Played with FireThe Man Who Played with Fire: Stieg Larsson’s Lost Files and the Hunt for an Assassin by Jan Stocklassa, translated by Tara F. Chace

Stieg Larsson, bestselling author of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, was working on solving a true crime case when he died: the assassination of Olof Palme, the Swedish prime minister, in 1986. Larsson had accumulated countless files and documents that had never been read; journalist Jan Stocklassa was given access to his secret project and picked up where he left off .

Life by Lu Yao, translated by Chloe Estep

Yao is one of the most widely read authors in Chinese literature, though he only completed two works before he passed away. Life features a young man whose life is turned upside down when he loses his job as a rural schoolteacher, and he moves to the big city to try to make it.

Your Perfect YearYour Perfect Year by Charlotte Lucas, translated by Alison Layland

A romantic comedy set in Hamburg, Germany, this is the perfect fun escape novel. When Jonathan discovers a day planner in his spot at his daily fitness course, he is puzzled. It’s labeled Your Perfect Year, and the calendar only reveals it belongs to someone called “H.” Jonathan is soon set on a path to find the stranger, and he finds his life changing in ways he never expected.

The First Mrs. Rothschild by Sara Aharoni, translated by Yardenne Greenspan

At the turn of the 18th century in Frankfurt, Germany, a young Jewish couple struggle to make ends meet. But soon, Meir’s talents as a banker are noticed by a prince, and the couple is shot up into notoriety. Their rise will change their lives as they begin to see the privilege they had not before and how many people are willing to “look past” their Jewish heritage now that they are no longer in the poor working class.

The Price of ParadiseThe Price of Paradise by Susana López Rubio, translated by Achy Obejas

Patricio flees Spain for Havana, Cuba, in 1947, looking for a better life. He lands a job at an upscale department store that hosts celebrities, politicians, and the rich and famous. But soon he begins to get too close to the wife of a mobster, and his life begins spiraling out of control.

Out of the Silence: After the Crash by Eduardo Strauch, translated by Jennie Erikson

The 1972 Andes plane crash, stranding the Uruguayan rugby team in the wilderness, is infamous. This true story from one of the men who found his way home is harrowing and unforgettable as he covers not only the tragedy but his struggles in its aftermath.

Along the Tapajós by Fernando Vilela, translated by Daniel Hahn

This award-winning picture book from Brazil is a charming and adventurous story about a brother and sister who, along with the rest of their community, travel everywhere by boat. But when the rainy season comes, they have to flee, and they soon realize they forgot their pet tortoise! They take a long journey to rescue him and bring him back to their family.