Reading helps kids expand their imagination and learn more about the world through stories they can relate to. But with book shortages and a little thing called inflation, books feel more expensive than ever. But I got some tips on how to get free books for kids.
Some book programs, like Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, will mail kids’ books directly to your home for free. We also found some companies that let you do free book swaps or reward you with a book if you reviewed another one. And if you’re worried about clutter, some places offer free kids’ books online for instant access.
For more deals, make sure to download The Krazy Coupon Lady app to stay up to date on offers as promotions go live. Below, find legit ways to get all kinds of kids’ books for free, for all ages. Also, text HACKS to 57299 for more smart shopping tips.
1. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library gives every child one free book each month.
While you’re busy working 9 to 5, you can stretch your children’s creative muscles by signing up for free books through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. More than 190 million books have been gifted to date!
Each child in your family up to the age of 5 is eligible for one free book per month. Not all locales take part in the program, however, so check out the site for availability and restrictions. If your neighborhood isn’t currently participating, you can still sign up for updates to learn when the program becomes available in your area.
2. The CDC offers free books for young kids.
Through their Amazing Books for Children program, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers free books and downloads for infants through elementary school. You can get free shipping on hard copies of the books, and the materials are also available for download.
The printed copies of these publications have limited availability each day. If you find that any of the items that you want are currently out of stock, you can try checking again the next day when more copies may become available.
3. Get free comics during Free Comic Book Day on the first Saturday in May.
Make sure not to miss Free Comic Book Day. It’s a special day in May when select comic books shops across North America give away comic books for free. In 2023, the event fell on Saturday, May 4, and giveaways included a Captain Underpants sampler, Spider-Man, Stranger Things, Archie, and Doctor Who. You’ll want to visit multiple shops to get at least one free comic book per store. To find a participating shop in your area, use the Free Comic Book Day store locator.
So, how are these comics free? Free Comic Book Day is facilitated by a panel of comic book publishers, retailers, suppliers, and Diamond Comic Distributors. Every year, publishers apply to provide free comic books to independent comic book stores to give away to patrons. Win-win!
For more information, free downloads, interviews, and sneak peeks of the comics offered, go to FreeComicBookDay.com.
4. Take a book (& give a book) at a Little Free Library.
Speaking of book exchanges, there are more than 90,000 book-sharing boxes in neighborhoods and high-traffic areas.
Little Free Libraries‘ mission is to serve neighborhoods and communities that don’t really have access to books. With their Impact and Indigenous Library Programs, you can borrow or keep a book. Just know that if you choose to keep a book, it’s generally expected that you’ll share one from your own collection.
5. Kids who read eight books this summer get a free book from Barnes & Noble.
The Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program welcomes children in grades 1 – 6 to join in the fun. Encourage your child to select eight books from their personal collection, borrowed from a library, or purchased from Barnes & Noble. They can then complete the provided printable reading journal.
Once your child finishes reading, simply return the journal to your nearby Barnes & Noble store between July 1 and August 31, 2023. As a reward, your child will be able to choose a free book.
6. Check out library ebooks from home with Libby and Hoopla.
It goes without saying — but I’ll say it anyway — your local library is one of the best places for kids to score free books. Better yet, you can access an even larger library by checking books out digitally. Libby and Hoopla are two apps that allow you to sync your library card with a digital catalog of ebooks that you can check out from your local library for free! Once you check out the book, you can read it on your selected device (Kindle, smartphone, tablet with the Kindle or Libby app).
7. Find free kids’ e-books through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
If your child has an e-reader or access to the internet on a computer, laptop, or mobile device, there are thousands of free kids’ books they have access to online. The digital copies can be downloaded to your device and are completely free. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, Amazon offers hundreds of free Kindle books for kids. You’ll just download them directly to your Kindle or mobile device with the Kindle app and they can start reading.
Barnes & Noble also offers over 5,000 free digital books for kids. You can download them to your Nook reader or download the Nook app to your smartphone or tablet. These two retailers aren’t the only resource for free e-books and digital titles.
Check these other resources for free e-books and digital copies.
- OpenLibrary: Affiliated with Internet Archive, they offer free online books for kids. With over 37,000 works, it caters to reading levels from preschool to 12th grade.
- Project Gutenberg: Provides 60,000+ free eBooks, including a vast collection of children’s books. Sort by popularity or newness to find desired reads.
- International Children’s Digital Library: Free access to thousands of titles, from classics like Where the Wild Things Are to contemporary stories like Harry Potter.
- BookBub: This service notifies you about free and deeply discounted ebook recommendations based on your preferences. They also have a free ebook section with a handful of titles for kids.
- FreeKidsBooks.org: Allows you to sort books by age or subject. Read books for free online or download your own PDF copy.
- Storyline Online: Site with actors reading kids’ stories. It’s part of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, offering literacy programs. Famous readers like Kevin Costner and Oprah Winfrey participate.
- Funbrain: Free educational games, books, comics, and videos for kids in Pre-K to grade 8. Develops math, reading, problem-solving, and literacy skills.
- Oxford Owl: From Oxford University Press. Free eBooks for kids are categorized by age group and cover fiction and non-fiction. Accessible on computers, tablets, or laptops.
- Read.gov: The Library of Congress offers free online classic children’s books. Full-page scans capture the vintage charm, including original fonts and illustrations.
- Storyberries: Free fairy tales, bedtime stories, and poems for children sorted by your child’s age, the topic of the book, and how long it takes to read the story.
- Free Children’s Stories: Author Daniel Errico offers his free works online for kids to encourage literacy and free media for kids.
- ManyBooks: Find classics, like Anne of Green Gables and Little Women, along with self-published titles available to download or read online.
- BookSpring: Free digital online library of ebooks for kids. They can read books online about animals, plants, sports, and more.
- Gizmo’s Best: Features more than 700 websites where you can download free e-books or access thousands of books to read online.
- The Digital Book Index: Thousands of free, downloadable e-books for kids of all ages.
- Wilbooks: Offers free online books kids can read from their computer or laptop. A $1.99 per month subscription is available to access all 2,000 of their titles.
- Children’s Books Online: A digital library from TeachingHistory.org with over 700 titles sorted by age and reading level.
- StoryJumper: These books are created entirely by teachers and students. The entire library can be read on a computer or laptop.
8. Lego lovers can get a free subscription to Lego Life Magazine.
For children ages 5 – 9, Lego offers a free subscription to Lego Life Magazine. This magazine features Lego activities, character comics, posters, building instructions, and even photos of kids’ Lego creations (you can submit your own photo to be featured!). The magazine is shipped completely free and you’ll get five issues per year.
9. Teens can listen to audiobooks for free with AudiobookSYNC and LibriVox.
Now through Aug. 2, 2023, teens age 13 and older can sign up for AudioFile SYNC, a free audiobook program issuing two free audiobooks per week this summer. Parents will need to help download the Sora app (a reading app powered by OneDrive) for computers, iOS, or Android for kids to get access to the audiobook library. Your teen gets access to new books each Thursday at midnight Eastern time. Each audiobook is available to borrow for one week. Once an audiobook has been borrowed, it stays in your Sora app indefinitely.
LibriVox is a global community of volunteers who record and share free audiobooks of public-domain texts. Kids (or their parents) download audiobooks from their websites and listen to them for free. You or your children can also volunteer to read books for LibriVox.
10. Book exchanges let you trade for new-to-you books.
Online book exchanges are great places to find children’s books that are in great condition.
To get started, list the books you want to swap out, and then get access to books others are getting rid of. You’ll pay to ship your book to someone, but you’ll receive your book free of charge as the shipping fee was paid for by the sender.
Here are some of our favorites:
Tip: Book exchanges aren’t just online; check Craigslist and Google to find listings for book exchanges near you to avoid shipping charges.
11. Claim 12 free braille books each year for low-vision and blind children.
The American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults has a wonderful Braille Books Program that gives kids one free Braille book per month from a popular children’s series. Register for the program and check out their huge library of downloadable braille books while you’re there!
12. Become a book reviewer to get free kids’ books.
In this digital age, authors — especially new and independent authors — rely on good reviews. And they’ll give you their books for free in exchange for an honest review. These sites have many different types of books (not just kids’), so be choosy.
Here are some sites that offer free physical or digital books when you sign up to review:
13. Jewish families can sign up for free materials from PJ Library.
PJ Library is an organization that sends free children’s books and music to Jewish families on a monthly basis. Depending on the community, children ages 6 months to 12 years of age can participate.
Find the PJ Library in your community. If your community is not listed, you can request sponsorship through the website.
14. Children enrolled in K-5 in Florida receive free books through New World’s Reading.
Young readers in Florida can receive a free book every month through the New World’s Reading program. Parents select the type of books their child likes to read, and the language (English, Spanish, Haitian Creole, or Braille), and then books are delivered each month at no cost. This is available for kids enrolled at a public or a district-sponsored charter school in kindergarten through fifth grade.
15. Sign up for Swagbucks to get free kids’ books on Amazon.
This one takes a little more work, but it’s totally doable.
Swagbucks is a site that rewards you for completing tasks like surveys. Once you hit a certain point total, you can cash out for Amazon gift cards — which can turn into free books from Amazon. Or Target. Or a bunch of other retailers.
Is Swagbucks legit? We tell you all about it.