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 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 is 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 use the Libby App to get free e-books. 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 and 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 is the best place to get books. The library has everything! We love the library! Of course, the library has limitations as you can only get physical books when they are 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 over and ask your local librarian how 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 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.
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 book’s themes, so it’s a great springboard for topics to discuss with your kids.
Dolly Parton’s 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 by mail to your child every month.
Update: We just got our first book from Imagination Library, and I could not be more thrilled! As you can see, it’s “The Little Engine That Could,” a childhood classic, so I am so happy to own it! Having these books for the kids to look at and read all the time is so important; amazingly, it is free!
You get a free book by mail every month! What could be better? Signing up for both of these free book 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’s website and print out their summer reading program log. Have your kids read eight books this summer, record them on the reading log, and then head over to your nearest Barnes & Noble and get a free children’s book!
Kellogg’s Family Rewards
I hesitated to include Kellogg’s Family Rewards in the list because it’s not 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, buying cereal just to get the book is not free.)
(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 there is a limit of 10 books for a household, they can also apply for their own books, and you can get even more books!
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; you are golden!
Craigslist 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.
Facebook Buy Nothing Groups
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.
Sign Up For Author And Illustrator News
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.
Follow BookTokers and Book Influencers
Hop onto social media and follow BookTokers and other book influencers on TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram. Influencers, authors, and publishers often host giveaways you can easily enter to win free books (sometimes signed copies) for your kids.
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!
What To Do With Old Books
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. All is good if they are being read by a kid (or adult!) somewhere. I’m happy to be the one providing free books for kids that are not my own!
I love getting my kids physical books for them to own and have. However, there are a lot of advantages to using children’s e-books for your kids’ devices. Here is a list of all the ways to get free kids’ books online.