As many parents and teachers know all too well, children can be voracious readers. It can be challenging to keep up with the amount of new books children like to read, which is where this list of places to find free children’s books online is here to help! Pro tip (of course!): your local public library is a great place to start.
Where to find free children’s books online
Eleven of the best places to find free children’s books online include:
- Cloud Library
- Tumble Book Library
- International Children’s Digital Library
- Oxford Owl
- Storyline Online
- Open Library
- Project Gutenberg
- Library of Congress
A quick note: Free children’s books are great (yay!) but make sure you’re only picking them up from legal sources, as listed here. And, if you’re reading a modern author’s books, make sure to leave them a review online once you do!
Many school and public libraries subscribe to Overdrive, which allows library customers to borrow free eBooks and audiobooks. If your library has purchased this service, all you need to do is log onto their Libby app using your computer or portable device, answer a few quick questions, and you’re good to go! Their search is intuitive to limit your search to find books in the language and at the age level you’d like.
2. CLOUD LIBRARY
Cloud Library is a newer product that many libraries are also using. Like Overdrive, you need to verify your library card number to access the app on your computer or personal device. Like with Overdrive, you can read the titles online or download them to your personal device to enjoy on the go.
Hoopla is another service you may be able to access from your local library. What makes them different from Overdrive and Cloud Library is that their titles are all available on-demand—no wait lists for popular or new release titles. Your local library may have also opted in for Hoopla’s movie, music, and graphic novel services, so you can download a variety of free entertainment for your young ones (ideal for long road trips!).
4. TUMBLE BOOK LIBRARY
Check with your local public library or school to see if they have subscribed to Tumble Book Library, a service aimed especially for kids and teens. You can read free books online from this service, as well as access their enrichment materials. Tumble Book Library provides support to students with a variety of curriculum-based exercises. This service is ideal for Special Education and ESL teachers and students. One of the unique aspects of this site is they provide animations of some children’s picture books (like you’d see on Reading Rainbow), as well as paired audio/ebook sets so you can read and listen along.
5. INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S DIGITAL LIBRARY
The International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL) is a nonprofit organization with the mission to “promote tolerance and a respect for diverse cultures by providing access to the best of children’s literature from around the world.” This is a great choice to allow you and your children to read diversely, and includes more than 4,000 titles from authors around the world, in more than 50 languages. The books can be read anywhere you have access to an Internet connection, in your browser.
6. OXFORD OWL
Oxford Owl is an award-winning website from Oxford University Press, created to support children’s learning both at home and at school. After registering (which is free), you gain free access to many of Oxford’s ebooks for free, along with other guides and games to help children develop their reading skills.
7. STORYLINE ONLINE
The children’s literacy website Storyline Online is run by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. This site streams featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. Readers include Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Lily Tomlin, Kevin Costner, Annette Bening, James Earl Jones, Betty White and dozens more. Each book includes supplemental curriculum developed by a credentialed elementary educator, aiming to strengthen comprehension and verbal and written skills for English-language learners.
8. OPEN LIBRARY
Open Library is a part of the non-profit Internet Archive, and as such is continually updating its collection of links to free books online—including lots for children! They currently offer access to over 20,000 free titles for children, including newer titles and classics.
9. PROJECT GUTENBERG
Project Gutenberg is known for its collection of classic works, available for free because their copyright has expired. The work of digitizing and proof-reading these works is done entirely by volunteers. These titles are often available in plain text as well as other formats, and can be read online or downloaded to personal devices.
Yes, your fav site for tracking your TBR also provides access to free children’s books online. Check their ebook shelves for books you can download free of charge, or find some children’s titles on the books tagged as “free online.”
11. Library OF CONGRESS
The Library of Congress provides a number of classic children’s books free online, without requiring a library card. With full page scans, this service allows you to get the full feeling of reading an antique book, from the retro font choices to the original illustrations.
OTHER OPTIONS TO FIND CHILDREN’S BOOKS ONLINE
If you aren’t able to find the free children’s books online you’re looking for, the next best thing is sometimes shopping online sales. For instance, consider following Book Riot’s Deals of the Day “Book Deals” emails so you get a heads-up when the books you want are on sale.
If you didn’t find the books you wanted above, you can also search the following sites for children’s books online. While these provide you with more options, these sites may have some fees or be slightly difficult to navigate. Many, however, provide great options for kid’s books.