12 Ways to Get Free Books for Kids

Kids need books. Here are some of the best ways to get free books for kids.

Books are expensive. So I searched for how I could get free books for kids.

Reading is so important for kids. I grew up in a “reader” family, and I still love reading. We don’t have a TV in our house, so we spend a lot of time reading. I’m used to this since we didn’t have one growing up either, so we spent a lot of our time reading.

I firmly believe that it is important for kids to own their own books, not just have some that they borrow. Of course, this is not always an option since books cost money! Sometimes, it takes a lot of money! Jewish books for kids are, in particular, often quite pricey. Having books that reflect your lifestyle and values are really important for kids. It is also important to ensure that you expose kids to different people and ideas through reading.

Kids who own their own physical copies of books are more likely to be smarter and more successful in life (this is true, there were studies done on this. Who doesn’t want that for their kid?) Studies show that kids who own their own books tend to be smarter and more successful in life. If that is not an impetus to start building your own home library, I don’t know what is! Getting free books for your preschoolers will help them in immeasurable ways.

We go to the library a lot, and I utilize the Libby App to get free e-books from the library. However, only I have a Kindle, not my kids. I don’t want my kids to have one, and it doesn’t help on Shabbos when we don’t use any technology. As great as the library is and as great as free online books are, it absolutely does not compete with owning physical books.

Here is how to get your kids books for them to own for free!

How to Get Free Books for Kids

The Library

The library is the best place to get books. The library has everything! We love the library! Of course, the library has its limitations as you can only get physical books when they are actually open, and you have to remember to return them or else they will become “not free” because of the late fine.

But… the library is not just a place to borrow books which you have to return. Many libraries have various summer reading programs, Friends of the Library Programs (where you can get free books that are being discarded), or other exciting programs where you can get free books to keep. This is obviously location dependent so head on over and ask your local librarian about ways to get free books for your kids!

Little Free Libraries

Little Free Libraries are the cutest new trend. They are little libraries that people set up in public places. They offer a bit more flexibility, as there are no late fees or hours of operation, but they are usually small and very limited. If you have one near you, it’s a cute activity and an excellent place to look for some books. Find a library near you and borrow a book!

PJ Library

PJ Library sends a free book to each kid, starting from 6 months old. A free Jewish book comes in the mail every month. They also sometimes include activities to do or some other small project type of thing. We’ve been signed up for years, and we love the books that we get. Here are some of the books that we’ve gotten. As you see, they are very well-loved. All the books have a Parent’s guide with some ideas for discussions about the books’ themes, so it’s a great springboard for topics to discuss with your kids.

Free Jewish Children's Books
All from P.J. library! These are only some of them- we have tons more!

Imagination Library

We actually just signed up for Imagination Library, so we haven’t gotten any books yet, so I can’t show you any pictures. But, I am so incredibly excited to get them! Started by Dolly Parton, Imagination Library sends a  book every month by mail to your child.

Update: We just got our first book from Imagination library, and I cannot be more thrilled! As you can see, it’s “The Little Engine that Could,” which is a childhood classic, so something I am so happy to own! Having these books for the kids to look at and read all the time is so important, and, amazingly, it is free!

The Little Engine that Could that we got for free!
Free Books For Kids: The Little Engine that Could

You get a free book by mail every month! What could be better? Signing up for both of these programs will get you two free books every month! These two programs are the easiest way to begin creating your home library.

New Worlds Reading Initiative

Florida residents whose kids are in public schools may be eligible for a free book by mail from The University of Florida Lastinger Center for Learning. Funded by the Florida Department of Education, the program is designed to help children’s literacy by providing free books for kids. You can sign up on their website or ask your school for more information.

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Programs

Head on over to Barnes & Noble website and print out their summer reading program log. Have your kids read 8 books this summer, record them on the reading log and then head over to your nearest Barnes & Noble and get a free book!

Kellogg’s Family Rewards

I was hesitant to include Kellogg’s Family Rewards in the list because it’s not actually totally free. Kellogg’s has a program to get a free kids book for every participating box of Kellogg’s that you purchase. Of course, this means you have to spend money on cereal. If you are buying cereal anyway, then it’s free. However, it is not really free if you are buying cereal just to get the book.

(Although, if you are a savvy shopper and follow deal sites like hip2save, you may just score Kellogg’s cereal for super cheap on occasion- in which case you get cheap cereal and a free book for a kid. That would be the ultimate). This free book for kids program is different from the regular Kellogg’s Point Program, so click on the right link to get your free book!

If you have any family members who don’t need books (ha!ha!) or are just generous, you can ask them for their leftover cereal boxes to help you get more books- think grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. If they eat cereal but don’t have kids in the house, they will probably be thrilled to save the boxes for you and let you use them to get free books. Since its a limit of 10 books for a household, they can also apply for their own books, and you can get even more books!

 More Ways to get free books for kids:

 

  1. Freecycle.org is a network of people looking to give or barter things for free. See if you can match up with someone looking to give away free kids’ books, and you are golden!
  2. Craiglist has everything on it. Including people giving away free kids’ books. Search for anyone looking to give away kids’ books for free. You would be surprised what you can get for free if you look a little and are willing to pick it up! Make sure to search by location as you don’t want to find something awesome and then discover it’s pretty far away.
  3. Facebook is a great way to find free books for kids. Search for listings on Facebook Marketplace or Local Buy Nothing Groups on Facebook for anyone looking to give away free books for kids or sell lots of books for very cheap. Buy Nothing groups are the quickest way to build up a large library.
  4. Direct from the Author or Illustrator- this takes a bit of work, but if you google and look up authors and illustrators you like, you can sign up for their newsletter and follow them on Social Media. This way, they can inform you of any giveaways that they host. Giveaways happen pretty often, so if you spend time entering giveaways on author’s websites and Social Media, you may be able to snag some books for your kids! This hack is particularly great for new releases that are usually expensive and hard to find 2nd hand.
  5. Goodreads is another place that has tons of giveaways that you can enter. If you take some time and join the giveaways you want, maybe you will win some books for your home library!

 

If any of the books we receive are not suitable for our family, I simply pass them on to someone else or donate them to the library or the Little Free Library. As long as they are being read by a kid (or adult!) somewhere, all is good. I’m happy to be the one providing free books for kids that are not my own!

I love getting my kid’s physical books (to own for free!). However, there are a lot of advantages to using e-books and other free online books for kids. 

Do you love reading? Here are 24 ways to get free books online!

Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.

5 thoughts on “12 Ways to Get Free Books for Kids”

  1. I actually signed our now 3 YO up for Imagination Library in November, and just got the email in June saying we’d be getting books either this month or next. The Walton Foundation is the organizor/sponsor for my area and it is slow. I can’t wait to start getting new books for Elijah though, as he loves to be read to!

    Reply
    • Yes! We just got “The Little Engine That Could” which is an awesome book to own! Its so important for kids to own their own books.

      Reply
  2. I was an avid reader growing up and I remember tallying up the value of my books at one point around 7th grade. I had over $300 worth of books! It’s a good thing we had the public library and school library because I remember some days I would get through 5 books. It took me one day to read something the size of Twilight/Eragon and I would always request bookstore gift cards for the holidays.

    It’s good to see your little ones are enjoying reading; it is the best thing to have particularly with quarantine!

    Reply
    • I had heard of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, but not of the other resources for free children’s books. I’m not a cereal eater, but I could see buying Kellogg’s cereals and then donating them to the food bank. It might even be nice to let the children pick out the cereal to donate, and then have them go with you to drop off food donations at the food bank.

      Reply

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