Being able to read a book anywhere we go even when we don't have access to a print copy is one of the great modern conveniences of today's technology. It can also open up the world of classic and lesser known literature to our children to which they may not otherwise be exposed.
In addition to being able to use your Kindle and Nook compatible devices to read the available free eBooks via Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites or using Overdrive, Libby and other such apps to access online literature via your library, there are loads of other places to find free books for kids across the internet without having to have special apps to do so. Here are a few we found recently:
Project Gutenberg Children's Bookshelf – If you haven't already heard of Project Gutenberg, you will definitely want to check this out. It is an all-time favorite place to find over 58,000 free eBooks available in a variety of formats for downloading or reading online. Be sure to bookmark this one.
Library of Congress: Read.gov Kids – Read classic literature that have been scanned into the Library of Congress archive. Each book can be read online or downloaded as a PDF. There is a lot to explore on this site that you may want to bookmark it for easy access.
Internet Archive Children's Library – Similar to the Library of Congress website, you will find digital access to over 3,300 classics to read online. Or register for a free account and you are able to borrow a more contemporary eBook from authors such as Dav Pilkey, Avi, Dr. Seuss, Roald Dahl, Eric Carle, Peggy Parrish, R.L. Stine and others.
Manybooks.net – Read thousands of classics online with this site. These versions of the books are plain text versions from Project Gutenberg. If you wish to download the books in a variety of formats including PDF, ePub, azw3, html, mobi and more, you will need to register for a free account.
Children's Books Online: The Rosetta Project – At this site you will find scanned images of antique and out of print books for all age levels. The beautiful illustrations from these old books makes it worth checking it out as well as the timeless tales. Plus, there is an entire section devoted to books that have a variety of language translations available pop-up windows. Great idea to use in your foreign language studies.
DigiLibraries Juvenile Fiction – You will find over 1,800 juvenile fiction and over 200 juvenile non-fiction classic titles in plain text at this site. Each section is further broken down into subcategories making it a little easier to refine your choices. These eBooks are downloadable in PDF, ePub and mobi formats.
Mighty Book – This is a wonderful website for readers up to 10 years old. Books are sorted into a variety of categories including age level and topic. Using the sidebar menu to choose a category and bring up the list of available titles, click the book title to have it read to you with the words highlighted as they are read. There is music and sound effects added to enhance the stories. Use the "Interactive Version" option under the title to manually turn the pages or select the "You Read Version" to read the book without sound. In addition to the books, there are also games, puzzles, lesson plans and more available on this site.
Children's Storybooks Online – This ad-supported website provides a selection of illustrated original stories some of which have corresponding audio and activities.
Free Kids Books – The original books available on this site can be read online or downloaded as PDFs. The books are sorted into categories for toddlers (picture books with few words), children (less illustrations and more words) and older children-young adult (include chapter books).
Kids World Fun Free eBooks for Kids – Select from over 100 children's eBooks to either read online or download as a PDF on this ad-supported website. There are also poems, short stories, and children's magazine reviews in addition to activities such as coloring pages and crafts as well as some teacher resources.
Storyberries – A collection of classic and contemporary fairy tales, bedtime stories and poems to read online. The site creator did a nice job sorting the stories by topic and category. Some of the category selections include by time, age, type, and more. Find the categorization tools at the bottom of the page.
Long Long Time Ago – You will find fables, fairy tales, folk stories, myths, legends, nursery rhymes and much more at this site, collected from around the world and retold by author Rohini Chowdhury.
Stories to Grow By – On this ad-supported website you will find bedtime stories to read aloud, folktales, legends and myths as well as early readers. In addition to reading the stories online, there are also "audio story podcasts" to listen to and teaching resources.
With such a large repository of online literature at our fingertips, the most difficult part may just be which book will we read first.