Edventures with Kids

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We're heading out for summer vacation soon and I asked my daughter what she wants to bring in her suitcase - her 'very important items' include a swimsuit, blankie & 32 books! 

As a parent, here's where I jump up and down saying 'Yea! She loves to read!" but the practical side of me says there's no way we can pack that many books.  Not to mention, she's a voracious reader (finishes a book off faster than an ice cream cone!) so she'll tear through those in the first few days of our trip and then need more.


Finding Free Kids Books Online


So, I did some research on where we can find some online books & reading material for vacation and I thought I would share.  I've included resources for the iPad, Kindle, Nook and laptop -- and also some great finds for audio books and online videos! 

Hope you find something to keep the kids happy and engaged too!


Project Gutenberg

One of the original places to find books online, Project Gutenberg takes books whose US copyright has expired and places them on the web in a digital copy.  They are a great resource for classic literature - all those novels that we read as kids and our kids should read or hear.  And also many older books that you may no longer be able to find because they are out of print. 

Many of the books found here are text only, available as html or in Kindle format (easily read on your laptop).  It's a great place to find a read aloud for the kids - "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" anyone??!

Here is the direct link to the Children's Bookshelf at Project Gutenberg.  You'll find books for kids in a variety of categories: fiction, biography, fairy tales, instructional.  There is even a cool category titled "School Stories" where all the short stories & novels take place at schools -- think "Little Men" or "A Little Princess".


The Online Books Page at the University of Penn

Although somewhat cumbersome to navigate, this site has a wealth of kids literature available!  I've tagged the Animals in Juvenile Fiction page for you since there are so many books about animals (Try "The Voyages of Doctor Doolittle" by Hugh Lofting if you haven't already read it ).  You can see the menu on the left side of the page will lead you back to the 'Juvenile Fiction' area of the site where you can browse the many other categories of books.

Here's another link to a classic story: My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett



We Give Books

One of the best-looking online free book sites, We Give Books offers about 200 great titles of kids picture books to read.  The best part - when you read the books online, you can help to support one of the charities too!  Look under their 'Classics' section to find "Frosty the Snowman", "Madeline", "Miss Rumphius" and "The Little Engine that Could"!  This is a wonderful site for young kids and also beginning readers as they also offer some ER (easy reader) selections.


Books Should Be Free

Maybe your kids enjoy listening to books on the car ride (especially good for kids who can't read in the car).  Books Should Be Free offers a nice selection of audio and text versions of Children's Books, again many of the classics.  You can download them to your iPod to listen to on the trip! 

They also have ebook formats for Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Nook, Sony Reader and laptops.  Here's their page for Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie so you can see all the different options. 



Robert Munsch's Website

The author of amazing books like "The Paper Bag Princess" and "Love You Forever" has 50 of his great children's books online - in both audio and download formats!  This is a beautiful site where anyone can find more than one book that they'll enjoy!


Oxford Owl

A new site that I stumbled across, Oxford Owl has a nice variety of books for kids ages 3 - 11 that the computer reads to them.  It would appear that you'll need a laptop and flash player to see the books.  If you choose the ones marked with an 'e' they are free books. 

I really like some of the features of the site - it offers activity ideas that go with the books and you can turn pages to see the illustrations with most books.  Also, the voice of the narrators seemed very nice.  With some books in the youngest (ages 3 - 5) and oldest (ages 9 - 11) age groups, there aren't any words that show up on the screen, you only hear the story.  Nevertheless, a good site if you're looking for access to stories (both fiction and nonfiction) for a variety of ages.



Although this is not a free site, it may be free to you if your child's school has an account with them.  Ask the librarian or your child's teacher if they used Tumblebooks during the year (your kids may even know and remember their user name and password).  If they had a user name and password, it should still be good to use during the summer months too!  My daughter loves the website and they have a great variety of animated talking (kids picture) books available for reading online.

Barnes & Noble

If you have a Nook, you can find some FREE kids books on the Barnes & Noble Nook site.  If you type: "Nook kids read to me" in the search bar at the top of the page, and then sort by price (lowest to highest), there's a handful of free Nook books for kids available. 



You can download some nice kids book apps for the iPad and iPhone from iTunes.  MeeGenius Kids' Books looks to have a nice variety of free books available.  Open Culture has a list of 450 Free audio books, many available through iTunes.  These will be chapter books and classic books - great for read-aloud or summer reading for your teen!  Titles like "Hans Brinker", "Alice in Wonderland" and "Swiss Family Robinson" will appeal to a wide age range. 


Sylvan Dell Publishing

Each month, Sylvan Dell makes one of their amazing books free for you to read online.  I am a huge fan of their books, each of which includes activities and creative information in the back of each story.  Visit their website every month to see what book is available. 

Happy Reading!  ~ Jacquie



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Let us know about your 'edventures' :)


You might also like:

Free Read-Aloud & Read-to-Me Stories



silly eagle books Tuesday, 18 September 2012 · Edit Reply

This is such a helpful list! I was just talking to another book blogger about packing books for vacation and was thinking it would be good to get some audio books for car rides. Thanks so much for this list!

bookboon Saturday, 10 November 2012 · Edit Reply

Thanks for the great list of free kids book. This is such helpfull list!

Becky Saturday, 23 February 2013 · Edit Reply

This is AWESOME!! I can't wait to explore each of the links!!

NS Tuesday, 13 August 2013 · Edit Reply

FYI, I can use Tumblebooks free through my library's website. See if your local branch has access to it!

Sue Brewer Saturday, 17 August 2013 · Edit Reply

Wow! Great resource! Thanks for sharing. This will keep me busy?

erbear Thursday, 22 August 2013 · Edit Reply

myRead, inc has some books available for the iPad where you can just read, listen and read, or even watch some animation with them. They only have a few but are coming out with more soon. My kids love them!

sunisa15b Friday, 23 August 2013 · Edit Reply

Thank you fro sharing things!

Natalie Friday, 23 August 2013 · Edit Reply

I love this list of suggestions! My daughter is also a voracious reader, so we always look for more books to read. We appreciate the fact that our library offers Kindle rentals as well, so sometimes we borrow Kindle books, especially when we travel.

Anna@The Measured Mom Saturday, 24 August 2013 · Edit Reply

Wow, I had no idea - thanks for this great list and for sharing at the After School linky!

Kristen Thursday, 29 August 2013 · Edit Reply

Super stoked that I found this! Our district is funding ipads, but there's no funds for apps and such! Thanks so much!

Birute Efe Sunday, 19 January 2014 · Edit Reply

Thank you so much for sharing with us this list. It's such a good news to us.

Bethany Friday, 11 April 2014 · Edit Reply

This is a great list, thank you for all the new ideas! I've also used childrensbooksforever.com - it's only one author, but they are great books!

indira Wednesday, 16 April 2014 · Edit Reply

i use wegivebooks.org every day and they are great! my daughter cannot get enough of it.

Elizabeth Thursday, 10 July 2014 · Edit Reply

Love this! Thank you!!

Sharon Monday, 14 July 2014 · Edit Reply

Many public libraries subscribe to Tumblebooks, so check your library's website or ask and enjoy!

Leave your comment

Guest Saturday, 30 August 2014

About the author

Jacquie Fisher

Jacquie is the founder & owner of Edventures with Kids, a site that shares unique kid’s activities, fun ways to learn and inspriation for family travel.  She is an educator, nature lover and mom to 2 great kids.  Jacquie enjoys exploring new places with her family and loves encouraging kids to be creative & curious!  Visit our About Us section for more information about Jacquie & Edventures with Kids!






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