For the past few weeks, the need to combat COVID-19 with social-distancing has led to closure of many public institutions, including libraries and public schools.

The NYT reports that “with countries across the globe on lockdown and public life at a standstill, more than 1.5 billion children are out of school.”

Kids are at home and need books that are easily accessible online. If you are a parent or teacher looking for free ebooks for children and young adult, you should know that there are reading apps, literacy organizations, and nonprofit organizations offering free e-books.

Some, like Epic and Scribed, typically run a subscription system but are opening up their libraries of children’s books without charge for a limited time.

Check out the list below and bookmark your favorites. They’ll still come in handy when the lockdown is over.



Project Gutenberg: the free library of 60,000 ebooks includes everything from classics to children’s books.

Open Library: Though their parent company, Internet Archives, has come under some criticism, Open Library has an e-borrowing system that gives users free access to books ranging from toddler story books to YA novels.

Barnes and Noble: Barnes and Noble is offering free e-books through its nook reading app.

First Book: First Book offers downloadable e-books to teachers for distribution to students.

International Children’s Digital Library: ICDL provides free ebooks for children in different languages.

Storyline Online: A children’s literacy website featuring videos of celebrated actors reading children’s books. The likes of Oprah Winfrey and Viola Davis have been featured.

Library of Congress: the celebrated US institution offers a vast library of children and YA classics to the reading public.

Epic!: Epic is a subscription service, but they’ve opened up their library of 40,000 children e-books to teachers without charge up until the end of June.

Scribd: Scribd is an ebook and audio subscription platform. But it is opening up its 150,000 children’s and young adult titles to the public without charge for 30 days.


Image by Annie Spratt on Unsplash