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We’ve all been taught that reading is important. Teachers tell us that it 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, children’s books feel more expensive than ever. That’s why we dug into how to get free books for kids — and we found some great tips.
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 free children’s book if you reviewed another one. And if you’re worried about clutter, some places offer free kids’ books online for instant access. Need more ideas to keep your kid entertained besides books? Here’s card games for kids that we love.
Related: Cheap Books for Kids
For more deals, make sure to download The Krazy Coupon Lady app to stay up-to-date on savings and offers as promotions go live. Below find 13 legit ways to get all kinds of kids’ books for free for all ages:
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 kids 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 five 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. 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 2022 the event fell on Saturday, May 7, 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 comics 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.
Related: Adults can get free books too. Here’s how to get free books online for the whole family.
3. 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 Indigeneous Library Programs, you can borrow or keep a kids book. Just know that if you choose to keep a children’s book, it’s generally expected that you’ll share one from your own collection.
Find a Little Free Library near you (or apply to set one up yourself for free).
4. Visit Gizmo’s Best to download free e-books for kids.
The website Gizmo’s Best features more than 700 websites where you can download free e-books or access thousands of books to read online.
Gizmo details each of the websites, and each one is different. From fiction to biographies, math books to illustrated kids’ books, there are thousands of things to read on this list.
Several library sites — such as the University of Maryland’s International Children’s Digital Library, where you can search for books by characteristics such as language and genre — provide free access to thousands of titles, from classics like Where the Wild Things Are to contemporary stories like Harry Potter.
The Digital Book Index is another valuable online resource for thousands of free, downloadable e-books for kids of all ages.
5. Join summer reading programs for free kids’ books and other great giveaways.
Summer reading programs are truly a win-win. First, it’s one of the best things to do for kids in the summer. Next, it’s an activity that results in freebies.
These businesses and organizations offer some of our favorite summer reading programs:
- AudioFile: Teens get two free audiobooks per week.
- Barnes & Noble: Children get a free kids book after reading eight.
- Half Price Books: Kids who read 300 minutes a month get a $5 gift card.
- Timberdoodle: The homeschool curriculum site gave readers a $10 gift certificate.
6. Get free digital kids’ books and enter giveaways at Goodreads.com.
Goodreads.com is a go-to website for book lovers and a good place to get free books for kids. You can browse tons of free e-books for kids and teens and enter to win a wide variety of great books (including New York Times bestsellers). They’ve also got a message board so you can get free books in exchange for a review.
7. 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.
First, list the books you want to swap out, and then get access to books others are getting rid of. Only pay the cost of shipping.
Here are some of our favorites:
Book exchanges aren’t just online; check Craigslist and Google to find listings for book exchanges near you.
8. Get new kids’ books for free at FirstBook.org — just pay shipping.
Publishers have donated countless kids’ books to the First Book Marketplace. All the books in the Book Bank are free for First Book members; just pay shipping and handling — anywhere from $0 to $22. Sometimes the books are single, sometimes they’re in bulk, so be sure to read the description.
All you need to do is register as a First Book Member (for free!), and then go to the Book Bank and start browsing! The prices shown are for shipping and handling.
If you see something you like, get it. Donated children’s books are only available while supplies last.
9. 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.
Related: Is Swagbucks legit? We tell you all about it.
10. 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 popular children’s series. Register for the program and check out their huge library of downloadable braille books while you’re there!
11. 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:
12. 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 six 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.
13. Find free kids’ books using local bulletin boards.
People have stuff they want to give away (rather than toss or donate), and websites like Freecycle and the “Free Stuff” section of Craigslist are good places to see what’s available. You can also look for your local Buy Nothing group on Facebook to find free kids’ books in your neighborhood.
If you don’t see children’s books on there, you can always post that you’re looking for them.