It seems like even the family cat has access to a device, so it’s no surprise that even our youngest readers are utilizing eBooks. While our library collections are full of exciting new content (read along ebooks, beginning readers, and picture books to name just a few), sometimes nothing hits the quality reading spot quite like sharing a classic title. And best of all, there’s no such thing as a holds queue when reading classics with a free and legal public domain download.
Where can I find free titles?
So many books, so little time! You want to make sure you’re using yours effectively. Whether you’re reading on a phone, tablet, dedicated e-reader, or desktop computer you’ll find more than enough titles for your “for later” list. You’ll find public domain titles on multiple sites, so it’s really all about the reading experience. It’s a bit like choosing your phone’s operating system, some of us are Apples and some of us are Androids, and that’s ok! Take some time to find the search and navigation experience that works best for you.
In alphabetical order:
Search for your title and look for the FREE edition, but be careful to not be distracted by pay content. For Android users, titles download easily with one tap to the Play app.
International Children’s Digital Library
“[S]upport[ing] the world’s children in becoming effective members of the global community – who exhibit tolerance and respect for diverse cultures, languages and ideas — by making the best in children’s literature available online free of charge.” With more than 4,600 titles from authors around the world, in more than 59 languages, these titles can be read from any device connected to the internet. The simple search page breaks titles down by ages, length, jacket cover and more. Readers can read anonymously, or create an account to create a bookshelf and save your preferences. Registered users are able to go to the last page they were reading.
Library of Congress
Enjoy the full physical book experience with 51 full-color digital scans, lots of fun for fans of vintage fonts and original illustrations.
Part of the non-profit Internet Archive with over 5,600 editions of 22,000 works published between 1181 and 2017. Fans of comparing editions will appreciate sorting by the number of editions. Sign up to start reading and downloading a variety of formats.
From Oxford University Press, the focus is children ages 3 – 11 and learning how to read. Access over 150 ebooks by signing up for a free account.
2,500 young readers titles that can be read in your browser or download to a variety of formats.
To encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks. Read online or download to a variety of formats, including Kindle!
A good choice for readers that still enjoy having a story read to them. Online only, viewers have the option to choose YouTube or SchoolTube for viewing. Watch out for the “buy this book” button.
The SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s award-winning children’s literacy website, streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. Readers include Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Lily Tomlin, Kevin Costner, Annette Bening, James Earl Jones, Betty White and dozens more. Each book includes supplemental curriculum developed by a credentialed elementary educator, aiming to strengthen comprehension and verbal and written skills for English-language learners.
What’s in the public domain?
In general, works published after 1977 will not fall into the public domain until 70 years after the death of author, or, for corporate works, anonymous works, or works for hire, 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever expires first. (Teaching Copyright, accessed 7/19/2018)
What are your favorite sites to find free children’s ebooks?
King County Library System
This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competency: II. Reference and User Services.
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