I used to be one of those people who refused to read e-books. I just loved old fashioned printed books too much. I still love them. I love the smell of new books. I love the smell of old books. I love book covers, the sound of pages turning, and the little gifts you sometimes find hidden in the end papers. But I digress, we live in a digital world, and my little girls will be digital natives, to use a popular term from my teaching classes in college.
When I gave in to the world of e-books, I discovered a lot of pros. For example, you can read in bed on your device without needing to get up again to turn off the light. I can hear my mom now, “You’re ruining your eyes reading in the dark!” Well, all I’m saying is, it’s better than my old flashlight. Another pro: you can carry a big pile of books everywhere and still have room in your purse for all of the kid-stuff you end up hauling around because Momma, can you hold this?
Today I wanted to share with you some places we find great children’s e-books. I’m not going to talk about Amazon or Barnes and Noble, because everyone knows about those places, right? These are four places you may not know to look, where you can find reasonably priced or even free e-books.
The first is the Story Time App I mentioned in my last post. I wanted to share a little more detail. The App is FREE, but does have in-app purchases. Still, a lot of the books are also free. I discovered some beloved Usborne books have interactive, animated e-book versions available here. Are they books disguised as games, or games disguised as books? Either way Bear loves them. She can develop her technology skills dragging and moving objects in the book, and she loves finding the hidden animations on each page. I like that all the books have a “read to me” button that narrates when I want to let her be a little independent, or an “I will read” option, where I can be the one to read to her (because I do love to do the voices). Our favorite is probably Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster by Michelle Nelson-Schmidt ($3.99 in app).
Jonathan James has a whatif monster following him around all day. It fills his head with self-doubt about everything from climbing trees, and trying new food, to painting pictures and playing ball. This negative little monster makes him imagine all the worst case possibilities until Jonathan finds his voice of confidence to talk back to all the what ifs. As someone who struggles with social anxiety, I love the concept of talking back to your fears and worries. What a great strategy for fostering positive thoughts and healthy brains!
The next place we find great e-books is on Scribd, an e-book and audiobook subscription site. I originally got a subscription for me but I’ve been using it more often for new books for the girls. You get 8 e-books and 3 audiobooks a month, plus access to their monthly free picks. They have a great selection of Sesame Street books for preschoolers, and for older readers they have a huge collection of YA novels, graphic novels, and comic books. She’s a little young for them, but Bear likes to read the Veggie Tales comics sometimes! You can try Scribd for free for 2 months, by clicking here.
The adorably illustrated Bobby, with his big glasses and swoopy hair is what first drew me to this e-book. Bonnie loved it because she is enthusiastic about all things aquarium, just like Bobby who wants a pet shark for his birthday. His parents don’t pick up on the clues he’s dropping, so instead of a shark, he ends up with an adorable, cuddly puppy. Shark lovers can NEVER become dog lovers… Until Bobby discovers that sharks and puppies have more in common than he first thought. Maybe Bobby grows to love his new puppy for all the wrong reasons, but the humor and heart of this book are great reasons to check it out.
The next two places we find e-books are resources from our library. Now, your library might not have the same resources as our super awesome incredible library in Chattanooga (seriously, I’m not exaggerating) but it’s worth checking, because I didn’t know we had access to all of these amazing books FOR FREE until this summer. To all my Chattanooga home schooling mama friends, check it out!
We discovered the Tumble Books Library during our library’s summer reading challenge. It is an e-book library just for kids. There are read-alongs, animated picture books, national geographic videos, and books in French and Spanish. SO MANY COOL LEARNING TOOLS HERE!
Chicken Big by Keith Graves lends itself well to the Tumble Book format, I think. The narrated video showcases Grave’s fantastically silly illustrations in this read-aloud book that plays with the classic tale of Chicken Little. On a teeny farm a HUMONGOUS chick pops out of a giant egg, and the other chickens in the coup aren’t sure what to do about it, or what the big chick even is. Is he an elephant? Bear loves to play this one again and again.
The last place we love to find e-books is on the free Overdrive app. Again this is a resource we can access with our library card number, but the app itself is available for apple and android devices for free. Once you log in with your library card, you can find Clifford, Thomas the Train, George, and lots of other character based books. We’ve also discovered some of Melanie Watt‘s and Doreen Cronin‘s popular books through Overdrive. There’s a great selection of grown up, and YA books hiding here too. One that I was delighted to find on Overdrive was Andrea Beaty’s Rosie Revere Engineer, because girl power!
This rhyming book is about a shy little inventor who learns confidence from her great-great aunt Rose who worked building airplanes years ago (you can guess who she is based on). Rosie is determined to help her aunt fly, and learns the value of imagination, determination, and trying again even after you fail. I love the inter-generational relationships in this book, and the way it teaches that success is not limited by failure – a lesson I want my girls to learn.
So, where do you find great e-books? Are there places I don’t know about yet? Let me know in the comments!