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9 Free Books to Celebrate 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.

Happy World Book Day! Well, officially it’s April 23, but for me and probably you, every day is World Book Day, amirite? Amazon is celebrating with nine free ebooks, and they all look incredible! On their Read the World page, you can download books to read across the world, from Mexico to the Netherlands to Israel and beyond.

These are also all translated works, and some will even fit the categories for your Read Harder Challenge! I don’t know about you, but I’m about to download every single one of these for my library. You can download them for free until April 24, 2019, so hurry!

The Murmur of Bees book coverThe Murmur of Bees by Sofía Segovia, translated by Simon Bruni

Check off an #ownvoices novel set in Mexico for your Read Harder Challenge with this work of literary fiction. Set during the Mexican Revolution and the influenza pandemic of 1918, a mysterious found child is welcomed into a local family, and he comes of age and discovers he has a magical gift of sight and is protected by the bees.

This Life or the Next by Demian Vitanza, translated by Tanya Thresher

Tariq Khan is a Pakistani born and raised in Norway. He feels like an outsider no matter where he goes, and, searching for identity and a home, he’s drawn to radical Islam. But after he enlists, he has to come to terms with hard decisions and spiritual questions he must find his own answers to.

(I recently finished We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled, which was an incredible and heart-breaking narrative of Syrian refugees, so I might start with this book as a follow-up to continue learning about the country and its history and modern issues.)

The Passion According to Carmela by Marcos Aguinis, translated by Carolina De Robertis

An epic love story, a family saga, and mountainous jungle landscapes? Sign me up. Set during the Cuban Revolution, Carmela gets caught up in the excitement of revolution, joins the rebels, and sets out on a dangerous journey that will change her life and viewpoint.

Go book coverGo: A Coming of Age Novel by Kazuki Kaneshiro, translated by Takami Nieda

Sugihara is a Korean student in a Japanese high school, and he’s dealing with the usual high school issues—bullying, heartache, first loves, and long-buried secrets.

The Dark Heart: A True Story of Greed, Murder, and an Unlikely Investigator by Joakim Palmkvist, translated by Agnes Broomé

Millionaire landowner Göran Lundblad disappeared from his farm in Sweden in the summer of 2012, and there seemed to be no evidence whatsoever. The case grew colder year after year, but missing persons investigator Therese Tang wouldn’t give up.

About the Night by Anat Talshir, translated by Evan Fallenberg

In 1950s Jerusalem, Elias and Lila fall madly in love even though they come from different worlds.

The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch, illustrated by M. S. Corley, translated by Lee Chadeayne

The Hangman's Daughter Book cover

The first in a series, this beautifully illustrated book is also a Kindle in Motion book, meaning that on certain tablets and through the Kindle app, some of the illustrations move or are illuminated as you read. (This book may also contain trigger warning for graphic images. Please be safe.)

A dying boy is pulled from a river in Germany in 1660 with a mark on his shoulder. Jakob Kuisl, the local hangman, is called upon to investigate if witchcraft is involved.

All This I Will Give to You by Dolores Redondo, translated by Michael Meigs

An international bestseller following a novelist who loses his husband in a tragic car crash—but the case was closed far too quickly, and he knows there’s something about his husband’s death the police (and his husband) kept secret from him.

An American Princess: The Many Lives of Allene Tew by Annejet van der Zijl, translated by Michele Hutchison

A biography of Allene Tew, a young teen fed up with her small town and boring life (#relatable). Impulsively (and accidentally) marrying into one of the wealthiest families in America, Tew catapults through the Gilded Age to become a new wife and princess in a strange, tumultuous era in world history.

While you can’t download them for free anymore, you can still check out what books Amazon selected for last year’s World Book Day to expand your global reading even more.