The bulk of advice to parents who want to establish a strong foundation for literacy in their kids is simply to read to them daily. I wrote yesterday that, “Children don’t learn to read by being read to.” However, daily exposure to books is certainly a part of the foundation. With my 2-year old, I’ve already seen our daily reading sessions significantly expand her vocabulary. For example, she learned the words yummy and yucky from Leslie Patricelli’s Yummy Yucky board book and she definitely learned the word penguin and probably learned many adjectives from Fiona Watt’s That’s Not My Penguin… board book. Plus, she’s benefited from countless other vocabulary enrichments from books.
One of my favorite parts of reading with my daughter is finding out what books capture her love and attention. I’m a big believer in testing a wide range of authors, genres, illustrators and storytelling styles in search for books that she can really connect with. Free books, like those offered on Google Play, help to expand the depth and breadth of the books we read together.
To help other parents find out what books inspire their kids, here’s ten illustrated ebooks for kids that you can get for free via Google Play. I’ve tested them all and they display beautifully, with illustrations, online. They also can be displayed on any Android device with the free Google Play Books app. Just be aware that the smaller screen size of Android smartphones places some constraints on the overall visual impact of illustrated books. I prefer viewing illustrated books on a computer or tablet device when possible. However, I also like the convenience of using a smartphone when no other screens are available.
Organized in order of approximate age level, the ten free ebooks are:
- Twas the Night Before Christmas | By Clement Clarke Moore | Published January 1912 | Age level 2 and up
- The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher | By Beatrix Potter | Published January 1906 | Age level 3 and up
- The Roly-Poly Pudding | By Beatrix Potter | Published January 1908 | Age level 3 and up
- The Tale of Peter Rabbit | By Beatrix Potter | Published January 1908 | Age level 3 and up
- The Aesop for Children | Published January 1919 | Age level 4 and up
- Just So Stories | By Rudyard Kipling | Published January 1912 | Age level 4 and up
- Riley Child-Rhymes | By James Whitcomb Riley | Published January 1898 | Age level 4 and up
- Riley Child Verse | By James Whitcomb Riley | Published January 1906 | Age level 4 and up
- The Roosevelt Bears: Their Travels and Adventures | By Seymour Eaton | Published January 1906 | Age level 9 and up
- Peter Pan and Wendy | By J.M. Barrie | Published January 1921 | Age level 10 and up
If you like these ebooks, you’ll also like these children’s stories that you can read aloud from your smartphone.