There’s no doubt that books are a necessity for early childhood development.
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From babies to school-age, kids learn to read and develop a love for reading the more they’re exposed to books.
It can be tough to expand a child’s library, though, when there are other important things to buy for them, like clothing, food, and toys.
A free book program can change all that, and trust me, there are many of them available to help out parents.
Whether you want to get your hands on some print books or prefer the digital versions, the following places can help you score all kinds of free books for kids of all ages.
How to Get Free Children’s Books Online, by Mail, or In Person
Your Local Library
I know this seems like an obvious option for getting free books but hear me out.
I’m not talking about visiting the library to borrow books. I’m talking about your library being an excellent resource for free books that you can keep.
Many libraries work closely with the community and are quick to help out families in need or those that have a strong desire to make books a priority for their kids.
You can always ask your local libraries if they have any books they’re able to donate, like ones that they might be clearing out to make room for some new inventory.
Some libraries even have free book donation days when they’ll set out a bunch of books for all age groups and let each family take a few home.
Check your library’s website or call a librarian to see if there’s anything similar available in your area.
Amazon Kindle Books
Amazon is a great resource for inexpensive print and digital books.
It’s also a great source for free books!
When you visit Amazon’s Kindle book selection, you can click on Children’s Books, which will take you to the full selection of Kindle eBooks for kids.
You can narrow the options down by age to find the best books for your kids.
Then, sort the results by price, and you’ll find 100% free eBooks near the top!
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Some authors periodically give away some of their books for free to get reviews on them and hope that word of mouth encourages new readers.
So, after your child has finished a book, you can give a little “thanks” to the author by leaving an honest review.
It’s a little-known secret, but a great way to keep your children’s digital library stocked up.
Amazon Prime’s Lending Library
If you have an Amazon Prime account, then this option is 100% free for you (just another perk of Amazon Prime membership!).
The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is a great resource for finding free books for all ages and in all genres.
You need to own a Kindle or a Fire device to use it though.
The Lending Library lets you borrow one book at a time.
Once you’re done with it, “give” it back, and then you’re free to borrow another book.
Plenty of children’s books are available for free from this program, and it’s a great alternative to visiting the library on busy days.
If you don’t mind paying $9.99 per month, you might also want to look into Kindle Unlimited, which lets you borrow unlimited free books at a time and you can access them on any device!
Barnes & Noble’s Summer Reading Program
Barnes & Noble has a Summer Reading Program for kids in grades 1 through 6 to earn a free book at the end of the program.
All your child has to do is read eight books and record them in the provided journal.
Then, they’ll write a little bit about what they enjoyed about the book and why.
You and your child can visit any Barnes & Noble within the specified turn-in period to turn in their reading journal.
Then, they can pick out a book from a list of children’s books!
Craigslist or FreeCycle
Some people have spring cleanouts of their home, which usually includes things like clothing, toys, and books.
I’ve seen a lot of posts on Craigslist for free kids’ items, many of which include free books.
If you don’t see anything in your area, then you might consider putting up a “Wanted” post showing that you’re looking for some children’s books to boost your child’s library.
FreeCycle is also a great place to find all sorts of free stuff.
The site focuses solely on giving and getting things for free in your neighborhood, so it’s very possible that you can find some free book listings.
FreeKidsBooks.org is just like it sounds.
This incredible site offers free PDF downloads of children’s books for all ages, from toddlers to young adults.
What’s great about this site is that many authors submit their books for free so that your kids can enjoy them!
You can either print your downloads so your kids can have physical copies, or you can read them on a digital device, like a Kindle or iPad.
Imagination Library is an effort from Dolly Parton.
My son actually was a member of the Imagination Library, and this amazing program helped fill his personal library with so many great books full of meaning and culture.
This free program is for kids up to the age of 5.
They get a book mailed to their door every single month!
The program operates in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.
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You can head to the website to check the availability of the program in your area.
Many of the books my son got through this program are ones that will grow with him.
They were colorful and entertaining enough to read to him when he was a toddler, but he can begin to appreciate their messages more as he gets older.
International Children’s Digital Library
The International Children’s Digital Library is a free digital library that has a lot of cultural books for kids.
This site can be especially helpful for parents who homeschool their kids and want cultural content to add to their curriculums, or for parents who just want to supplement what their kids learn in history or social studies in school.
The ICDL also has apps for Android and iOS devices that make it easy to read the books on your children’s devices.
Little Free Libraries
When I saw the first Little Free Library in my town go up at the park, I was ecstatic.
This is the perfect idea to get kids excited about books!
The way it works is that you visit a Little Free Library and donate a book. Then, you can take a book to keep or borrow and return.
Anytime you want to take or borrow a book, just add one to the Little Free Library for another child to enjoy.
When my kids outgrow their books, we head there to donate them.
Then, they can get several new books for free that are more age-appropriate!
If you don’t yet have a Little Free Library in your area, you can head to the website to learn how to start one of your own.
Magic Keys has a section of its website dedicated to free online children’s books.
There are free digital storybooks for young children to young adults on the site.
Some of them even have audio included, so the website will read the book to your younger readers!
Open eBooks is a nonprofit organization that gives kids access to free eBooks.
To be able to access the app, you’ll need see if your child’s school, library, or other education-related local organization has access to First Book.
If they do, they can receive a code that gives them access to Open eBooks for the community.
If not, you can point them to the Open eBooks website to learn more about the program and how to sign up with First Book.
The programs are focused on bringing books to communities with low-income families, so some areas may not qualify.
Project Gutenburg is a website that currently has more than 56,000 books for download, and its library continuously grows.
The site has tons of kids’ books for children of all ages.
There are several formats available, too, like Kindle, plain text, or even HTML versions that let you read them online.
Read Conmigo is a program that focuses on fostering a love for bilingualism in kids.
The program can mail books to children who live in Texas, California, or Florida.
Or, you can sign up to read free digital books online through the website.
The stories are geared toward preschool aged children through those in 5th grade.
Read Conmigo also has mobile apps available that can bring your child’s love for books to his digital device.
Reading is Fundamental
Reading is Fundamental is a nonprofit organization that helps little ones develop a love for reading and understand its importance.
It works with educators and parents to bring helpful literary resources to young kiddos.
As a parent, you can sign up to get free literary resources, like reading activities and video read-alouds of your child’s favorite books.
Conclusion: Get Free Books for Kids by Mail and Online
You now have several resources to find some free books for your kids, whether you want them mailed to your home, on their devices, or as digital downloads.
Reading is so important, so it’s awesome to have plenty of resources available to encourage a love for reading in your kids.
Do you know of any other national or local resources that give children free books?
Let us know in a comment below!
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