When it comes to education, literacy is so incredibly important. Not only do good reading skills apply to English classes, but they will also enable your child to follow and comprehend lessons in other subjects like science and history.
Luckily, there are tons of amazing children’s novels out there that will both sharpen their reading skills and entertain them at the same time. But as a busy parent, it’s not always easy to find the money or time to buy these books for your kids. Not to worry! There are plenty of great children’s novels to read cheaply online—in fact, many of them are totally free. And these sites are so easy to navigate that kids are able to track down what they want to read on their own.
Here’s a breakdown of 4 different ways to find children’s novels to read online.
When most people think of “books” and “online” in the same sentence, they think of Amazon. Though the website was once known mainly for mailing physical books to customers, now it’s simple to get free ebooks that you can read right in your browser. Here are the steps to find the most popular free children’s books on the site:
1) Click on “Kindle Books” on the upper left
2) At the center near the top, select “Best Sellers & More”
3) Click “Kindle Best Sellers” at the top of the screen
4) On the left sidebar, select “Kindle eBooks”, then “Children’s eBooks”
5) Under “Best Sellers in Children’s eBooks”, click on “Top 100 Free”
6) From here you can narrow your selections by genres like “Mysteries & Detectives” and “Science Fiction, Fantasy & Scary Stories”
7) When you find a book you like, just go to the book’s page and click “Read Now” on the right
The Amazon Kindle Cloud Reader is great for children since they are able to double-click on words they don’t know and be supplied with the New Oxford American Dictionary definition. Here are a few of the great novels your child can currently read for free on Amazon:
- Menacing Misfits: An Epic Fantasy Gamelit Adventure (Darkthorn Academy Book 1) by Robyn Wideman
- Displaced: An Urban Fantasy Romance (The Birthright Series Book 1) by Bridget E. Baker
- Lost Carnival: A Wintervale Tale by Andy DeJong
While Amazon is well-known for selling books online, Project Gutenberg is the e-library for reading books online. With over 60,000 books to choose from, your child is sure to find something they will enjoy. Here’s how to find the site’s most popular children’s books:
1) Click “Menu” at the top and select “Search and Browse” from the dropdown menu
2) Use the Quick Search to search the word “children”
3) Your search results will be a list of children’s novels sorted by popularity
4) Once you select a book, you will be given options to read the book online or download it in various formats like epub, Kindle, and plain text
Since most of the books on Project Gutenberg are in the public domain, this probably isn’t the best site for your child to discover contemporary novels. But it will have many of the books they’re assigned to read in school, and they can easily copy and paste from the browser versions when they want to use quotes in a paper.
Here are a few of the classic novels your child can read for free on Project Gutenberg:
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
- A Christmas Carol in Prose; Being a Ghost Story of Christmas by Charles Dickens
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Complete by Mark Twain
Like Project Gutenberg, Manybooks is an e-library full of free ebooks. One advantage Manybooks has over Project Gutenberg, though, is how incredibly user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing its interface is. Here’s how you can find popular children’s books on the site:
1) Under “Browse Genres”, you can click “Children’s” or “Young Adult” depending on the age of your child
2) Your search results will be a list of books for young readers sorted by popularity
3) Once you’ve selected a novel, you will have the option to read it online or download it in a number of formats including epub, pdf, azw, mobi and more
Just like its interface, Manybooks’ reader is both very nice to look at and easy to use. If you want to go back to the main site at any point, just click “Menu” on the upper left and select “Exit Reader”.
Here are a few of the classic novels your child can read for free on Manybooks:
- A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Lyman Frank Baum
- Peter Pan (Peter and Wendy) by J. M. Barrie
If your child isn’t feeling the free books on Amazon or the classics, Scribd might be a good option for you. The site has an extensive library of books, many of which were published in this century. Here are the steps for finding children’s novels on the site:
1) Click on the menu icon on the upper left and select “Books” under “Browse By”
2) Click “Categories” at the top of the results and select “Children’s” or “Young Adult”
3) Where it says “Bestselling in Children’s Books”, click “View More” on the right
4) Now you will see a list of children’s books sorted by popularity
5) Once you’ve selected a book and signed up for a 30-day free trial, you can download the file or read online
Of course, the hitch with Scribd is that, unlike the other sites on this list, it isn’t free after the first 30 days. After your free trial ends, a subscription costs $9.99 a month. But your child should be able to get some reading done during that free trial, and the site’s selection may prove enticing enough for you to spring for the subscription.
Here are some of the great children’s novels available on the site:
- The Hobbit: 75th Anniversary Edition by J. R. R. Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien
- The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean
- From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
Author’s Bio: Jillian Karger was born in Ohio but has lived in and around New York City for over a decade. Since graduating from NYU in 2009, Jill has had a long string of jobs doing things like scouting books to be adapted for film and researching trivia questions for “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”.
She has done freelance writing as well for sites like Cracked.com, and had her Twitter jokes featured on BuzzFeed and funnyordie.com. Jill has also self-published two novels on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Jillian-Karger/e/B07B894DNW).
Follow her blog posts about books and writing advice, read books and publish them for free at: https://www.fictionate.me.