Free eBook Downloads

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Most kids probably prefer reading books they can hold rather than virtual books.

However, free eBook downloads do make it easy to provide something for your kids to do if they forget to grab a book before leaving the house.

Personally, I think some of these eBooks would be hard for kids to read, because of the small text and lack of illustrations, so they might be more appropriate as read-alouds.

Here are some links to free eBook downloads, grouped by category:

Christmas Stories

Project Gutenberg is a website specializing in free eBooks. This page, the Christmas Bookshelf, focuses entirely on free eBook downloads for kids that relate to Christmas.

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Here you’ll find short stories, plays, novels, picture books, and poetry. Two eBooks that have been marked as “Reader’s Choice” are The Christmas Carol and ’Twas the Night before Christmas: A Visit from St. Nicholas.

Another site where you can download these two books is ManyBooks, which often provides these same titles in more than one version and a variety of formats. ’Twas the Night before Christmas: A Visit from St. Nicholas and A Christmas Carol are both available here. A Christmas Carol comes in two versions. The first is based on an 1843 edition; the other is based on a 1905 edition that included illustrations and an introduction by George Williams.

Young Readers

This page is actually one of 97(!!) pages listing free eBooks for young readers. Titles range from classics like Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, to less well-known books like Blackbeard: Buccaneer, by Ralph Delahaye Paine.

Novels (Middle Grade/YA)

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is a collection of 12 adventures about an eccentric detective (Sherlock) and his assistant, Dr. Watson. First published in 1892, these stories are as popular now as when they first appeared. (This book is also available as a free download from ManyBooks.net.)

The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor is a group of stories that are sometimes included in the collection of Persian tales known as The Arabian Nights. (I have a feeling that more kids have seen the movies associated with these stories than have read the book. At least, that was true for me.)

Main Street, by Sinclair Lewis, was published in 1920. Despite its age, this book is one that young people who appreciate satire will like. The story is about a young woman (Carol Milford) who grew up in the city of St. Paul, Minnesota. Very sophisticated (and liberal), she reluctantly agrees to go along with her husband’s wishes to move to his hometown of Gopher Prairie, Minnesota.

This humorous book unexpectedly became a best-seller in 1921, when it sold 250,000 copies. Critics at the time pointed out weaknesses in the plot, but apparently the public enjoyed reading about Lewis’ portrayals of petty back stabbers and hypocrites living in a small town. However, one Minnesota town near Gopher Prairie – Alexandria, Minnesota – banned the book!

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