Reading is a great way for anyone to learn, escape, and experience something new. Encouraging your kids to read is a must as it helps them develop strong language and communication skills. However, children’s books are often pricey. Thankfully, you can get free books for kids to foster their love of reading.
While it’s nice to buy books and support authors, buying books may not be in the budget for your family. Or maybe where you live doesn’t provide access to lots of books. Fortunately, there are dozens of resources that offer free children’s books to encourage reading and remove the cost barrier.
If you have a child that loves to read, our guide shares the best ways to get free reading books for kids and not spend a fortune.
Ways to Get Free Books for Kids
Each provider that offers free children’s books works differently. Some may provide a physical book, while others offer free e-books. When receiving a book from a site, read the terms and conditions to know what to expect.
Most require you to create a free account before requesting books. Below are the top ten ways to get free books for kids.
1. Local Library
Your local library is the best way to get free books for kids. Libraries do a great job of making the newest and most popular books readily available. However, you can still find some amazing classics at your local library as well.
If the story is great, odds are your kids will love the book regardless of when it was written. While you can borrow books from the library for free, some libraries also give books away.
This may sound surprising, but some libraries accumulate too many books. Or, some books may be removed from the shelf if they haven’t been checked out in a while to make space for new ones.
Your local library may sell some of their old books from time to time but they may also give books away for free. Talk to your librarian and check all the public libraries in your area to see if they hold book sales or giveaways.
If some books are super cheap, like $0.50 or $1 each, perhaps you can bring in some of your old books and make a trade if the library wants to add them to their shelves.
Amazon is a great resource to get free e-books for kids. Simply type ‘free children’s books’ in the search bar on the site and a list of free book options pops up. Most of the options will be e-books that you can access via your Kindle.
However, you don’t have to have a Kindle device to read e-books from Amazon since you can read via a phone or tablet using the free Kindle app.
Browse through the free books to see if there is a good fit for your child. If so, they offer a ‘buy now with one click’ option and the title becomes available in your Kindle Cloud reader.
The Kindle Unlimited membership is around $10 per month and you can download as many books as you want. They also offer a 30-day free trial.
Outside of Amazon’s e-books, the site has thousands of children’s books for under $5 if you are looking for physical books instead.
eReaderIQ is a great resource if you don’t want to scroll through listings on Amazon to find free books. The site regularly updates the list of free books for kids on Amazon. You can even create notifications for when new books join the list.
3. Imagination Library
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library provides free children’s books for kids ages newborn to five years old. Since 1995 the Imagination Library has sent free books to kids in participating locations, including:
- United Kingdom
- United States
Dolly Parton’s father’s inability to read and write was her inspiration behind the Imagination Library. Over one million free books for kids by mail are sent out each month. Imagination Library has many choices for books including audio and braille, which were added to the collection in 2011.
If the Imagination Library is not available in your area, you can ask to get a notification once it is. You also have the option to start it yourself with the help of your area’s regional director.
Your local library is an excellent resource to get free books for kids, but sometimes your library may not have a particular book. You can use Overdrive to receive books from libraries in your area without paying a dime.
Overdrive is a good resource to get free audiobooks that only requires you have a library card. The service lets you download up to ten books at once, and you have 21 days until you need to return the book.
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If a book isn’t available, you can join the waitlist to be notified when it is available. They even offer a free app, known as Libby, to download free Kindle books. Not all libraries work with Overdrive, so type in the name of your local library to see if they work with the service.
Do you own an Apple device? If so, you can use iBooks (the e-book component of iTunes) to get free online books for kids. The iBooks app comes pre-installed on newer Apple devices.
iBooks operates similar to Amazon for books with thousands of books to choose from. Simply go to the site and search using the term ‘free children’s books’ to find what they have available for download.
Read.gov gives you access to thousands of different titles that will help your child learn. The site is a free resource provided by the Library of Congress to promote literature and reading. Many different free online books for kids are available in a variety of subjects. You can find books about American history, art, sports, or women’s history.
Once you find a title your child might be interested in, you have the choice to read or listen to it.
Every year, Read.gov accepts letters about literature that are given to authors. The letters discuss what a book or poem has meant to the reader and the impact it made on their life. That is a really cool feature that is offered, and the dates the letters have to be submitted by each year vary by the state you live in.
7. Little Free Library
Since 2009, the Little Free Library has provided free reading books for kids. This concept is a little different than others because you have to leave a book in order to take one.
It’s the perfect way to not only get rid of some older books you no longer use, but you can also get some new reading material for your child for free.
If you’re not sure if you have one in your town, you can use the map feature on their site to see the Little Free Library locations in your town. We did a search and found that we have six in our town!
Freekidsbooks.org is another site that offers free children’s books. Titles are available for kids in 1st grade through 8th grade.
Books are available for download right through the website. Chapter books, picture books, and school books to help study you learn it and they have it.
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Each title has a number of times it’s been downloaded next to it so you have a good idea of how popular it may be. You can either print a PDF version of the book or read it online.
Both options are free of charge.
9. Paperback Swap
Paperback Swap has a similar concept to what the Little Free Library does, but it is done online rather than in person. Each time you want to get rid of a book, you can swap it out for a new one.
Your books get matched to someone who is interested in it and in return, you receive a credit for a new book. When you receive a new book you will not have to pay. Although you may have to pay for shipping when you send in your old books.
You get to choose from over 1.5 million paperback, textbooks, audiobooks, and hardcover books on the site.
10. Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg focuses on older free literature in which U.S. copyright has expired. Small donations are welcome from those who enjoy using this site to get free books. The site claims to have over 58,000 free e-books, including many for children.
If you are undecided about which book to choose, you can review the list of the top 100 downloaded e-books that the site provides.
Reading doesn’t have to be expensive. There are lots of ways to get free books for kids, although some may require a trial membership or ask you to exchange a book.
Ultimately, by using some or all of the options listed, you’ll save lots of money over time while your kids enjoy their favorite books and discover new ones.
What are some of your favorite resources to get free reading books for kids? What types of books do your kids like to read? How much do you spend on books each year?