9 Ways to Get Free Books for Kids, No Strings Attached
Reading is excellent for your child's mental and emotional development. Here are 9 ways to get free books for kids so that their supply of inspiration is never inhibited by cost.
"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." ~ Dr. Seuss
There’s little doubt about the impact that a book can have on a child! It’s bonding, it’s learning, and it’s love all rolled into one! It expands a young mind, teaches them to think, and encourages them to imagine. Books don’t always make our priority lists when we’re dealing with inflation and trying to make ends meet on groceries and household goods. So check out this list of ways to get free children’s books that I’ve put together to help keep your kiddos reading!
1. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library TOPS my list because it is such an AMAZING program placing books in children’s hands! How it works is that you will sign your child up as a newborn and then each month through the age of 5, they will receive a book for FREE! Yes, FREE! These are age-appropriate books that are mailed directly to your home at zero cost to you! Dolly’s father couldn’t read or write, and she felt it kept him from fulfilling his dreams. This is why she wanted to create a program that empowered kids to embrace possibilities.
Dolly deeply believes that the seeds of dreams are often found in books and that’s how her program began! Pretty awesome, right? And it’s the real deal! No catch! They’ve donated over 200 million books to date. That’s quite an impact! So get your child signed up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and then make sure that you go tell all your friends to sign up their kids too! (Do note, that it may not be available in all areas, but they are constantly expanding, so even if you don’t see it for your area now, you’ll want to keep checking back!)
2. Little Free Library
Have you heard about the Little Free Library? They, too, are passionate about getting books into the hands of kids! These Mini-Libraries are free-standing, weatherproof, cabinets or sheds allowing children to not only get books to read, but also give ones they’ve already read back for other children to read. It works like a library but without a card! Volunteers and local sponsors donate time and books – over 300 million books have been shared already! And it’s not just for kids – you’ll even find books for yourself there as well!
To find free childrens’ books near you, use the little library locator or download The Little Free Library’s app. I think that’s what surprises me and yet warms my heart the most – I’ve found 31 of them just in my town. I had no idea there were that many! And did you know you can start one too?! You’ll find that information on their website as well. This is a REALLY cool program!
3. Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program
Barnes & Noble hosts one of my favorite summer reading programs! How it works is that kids in first through sixth grade simply read a designated number of books (It’s 8 books this year, but that number has changed over the years.), then they write about their favorite part in their Reading Journal. (It’s not a long entry – just a sentence or two.) They can then bring that completed Reading Journal to their local Barnes & Noble bookstore to choose a FREE book! (The books they can choose from are listed on the Reading Journal.)
The program runs July 1st through August 31st each summer. It’s also a great way to keep kids reading while school is out for the summer.
4. Your Local Library
I mean, it IS the obvious one, but it’s the best too – your local Public Library! Getting a card is easy (and in most cases FREE) and will unlock the door to a huge world of books, both in the physical and digital formats! They offer some really awesome programs too! My local library offers Toddler Time where they bring some of the stories to life for the little kids. You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” play out in a group of giggling tots! It’s very cute and the kids absolutely love it. It’s where we’ve picked up some of our favorite stories! Our library also offers a Summer Reading Program, allowing some cool prizes as they reach each level on their reading journey.
These programs are FREE, so just some added fun for families when they are members. Oh, and did you know you can borrow more than just books? You can get movies too and there are even FREE family movie nights!
5. Free Kids Magazines
No, it’s not a book, but let’s be real, encouraging kids to read is what we’re all after! Magazines are perfect for that, and with some FREE ones available, we’re not complaining! Besides, they are going to LOVE getting their own mail too!
The LEGO Life Magazine combines reading and their favorite toys as the topic! There are comics, creations, stories and more all rolled into an issue. So if your child is between the ages of 5 and 9 you can get them a FREE subscription to the LEGO Life Magazine. The magazine is delivered directly to your home five times a year. Even shipping is free!
Sign your kids up to get the Netflix Family Magazine and enjoy games, stories, & activities featuring all their favorite Netflix characters. It’s an actual, physical magazine that kids of all ages and stages can hold in their hands and enjoy.
If you have an older child who likes to learn and is curious about medicine and science, you’ll want to check out the National Institute of General Medical Sciences Pathway Magazine. It’s designed for grades 6 through 12. You can even request past issues.
6. Free Digital and Audio Books
It’s true what they say, it’s a digital world! But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It puts things like eBooks right in the palm of our hands in a snap! And with kids itching to get their hands on your phone or to spend time on the tablet, these are a nice option!
Amazon has a nice selection of FREE Kids Kindle eBooks! What’s nice is that they give guidance as to what age group the book is intended for. And the stories are instantly available too! Don’t have a Kindle? No worries! Just download their FREE Kindle Reading App and you’ll be able to read it from the devices you do have!
Barnes & Noble has a HUGE selection of FREE eBooks for kids – over 5,000 of them! I spotted a lot of classics as well as some really fun ones! You will need to download their Nook App to your device, but that’s as easy as going to your app store and grabbing it! (It’s FREE to download!)
OpenLibrary offers free online books for kids. It features reading levels from preschool to 12th grade. (There are books for you as well if you’re interested!) It took less than a minute to sign-up for a FREE account and “borrow” a book! What I like about this one, is that if the book is a part of a series, you can see the next books within the sequence and put them on your waitlist. Series books are really big with the kids, so they’ll just get to keep on enjoying their favorites!
FreeKidsBooks.org allows you to read books online or download to your device as a PDF. You can sort the books by age or by subject. If you can print, you’ll appreciate some of the workbooks they have – your little one can practice their cutting skills, do mazes, and even make their own books!
Storyline Online is also a very cool website worth checking out! It streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. Readers include Oprah Winfrey, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson, Viola Davis, Terry Crews, Connie Britton, John Lithgow, Jennifer Garner, Betty White and dozens more. This is a very cool option for kids that can’t quite read just yet.
Read.gov is your place for the classics! The Library of Congress offers these FREE online books. What’s fascinating about them is that the scans capture the vintage charm, including original fonts and illustrations. It’s really neat to see!
7. Online Book Exchanges
Online book exchanges are great places to find free children’s books that are in great condition. The concept is simple - list books you'd like to swap with others, once your book is requested, mail it to the club member, and in return, you get to choose a book! You do pay postage for the books you send out, but the books you receive come to you postage-paid. Books you request are yours to keep, or you can swap again! BookCrossing, PaperBack Swap, and Book Mooch are some of the popular exchange websites that you’ll want to check out.
8. Facebook Marketplace
You can find anything on Facebook, right? Well, yes you can! Parents purge and kids outgrow books, so it is very common to find children’s books by the box load up for grabs. You might get lucky and find a parent that just wants their space back and list them for FREE, or you’ll find them for a fraction of the cost and be able to build your child’s library up fast! Try your luck and take a peek! (If your child is into Pete the Cat, Junie B. Jones, Captain Underpants, and similar books, I’ve been fortunate enough to grab huge collections of these favorites in one scoop!)
Reading has so many benefits – it reduces stress and helps you relax, it improves your concentration and memory, it allows for vocabulary expansion and strengthens your writing abilities, it enhances your knowledge, and increases your imagination and creativity. It just makes sense to start reading to your child and continue to encourage a lifelong relationship with books once they can read on their own! Hopefully, you’ve just discovered FREE and affordable ways to help you to be able to do that!
9. The Beans & Sparks ClubFor just $1 for shipping, you can get one free book for your kids with the character designed with your child's name and features. When you subscribe, you're prompted to enter your child's name, gender, hairstyle, eye color, and other features. Then, your first personalized book is sent to you for just $1. For more personalized books, parents can sign up for the Beans & Sparks Club for $27.98 per month.
The fun continues! Here are some book titles you can grab for free right now. Don't wait though - these offers won't last long!
Free Books to Grab Now
- Sesame Street Fire Safety Color and Learn Activity Book - Grab it here
- Peta Kids Comic Books - Grab them here
- A free monthly kids' book from Florida's New Worlds Reading Program - Enroll here
- Free educational comic books from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York - Learn more
- Free monthly braille book from the Braille Books Program - Sign up here
- Redeem your points from the My Readers Rewards Club for free books and journals - Sign up here
- Free Childrens' board books in both English in Spanish from the CDC - Grab them here