Wednesday, December 26, 2012

10 Great Free or Nearly Free E-Books for Kids

This post was inspired by two of my (four) sisters.

One sister has a daughter with a Kindle and is always looking for something new to read.

The other sister has two girls who received a Kindle Fire for Christmas, and was looking for ideas of good free or nearly free books for the device.

I wanted to put out a quick list of good reads that would keep a younger reader (I'm thinking middle-grade level on up) busy for a long time.  I've chosen books that are classics and ones our family has returned to again and again.

There are so many great books in the public domain that free or nearly free reads are plentiful.  I think there are also some series and books worth spending out for, and having them in your Kindle library for reading anytime.

I can picture that my sisters, and some others, might complain, "oh, my kids have read that," but honestly, having favorite books around to read "just because" can be a really good thing.  Who said one must not re-read a great book?  Not me!

I'm only providing the Amazon links to this, since Kindle and Kindle Apps are what we use for e-reading.  If you use a Nook or read in iBooks or GoogleBooks, what is your experience with free or near-free books on those platforms?  Please share away with your experiences, and your favorites.

These are in no particular order, by the way:

1. Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher.  I'm pretty sure I got this as a free book several years back, but I can't find a free edition.   This is 99 cents and well worthwhile

2. The Anne of Green Gables series (11 book set), $1.99 by Lucy Maud Montgomery.  This has all of the Anne books in the public domain, plus a few other LMM titles.  I think it's well worthwhile, or if you just wanted to go with the 99 cents Anne of Green Gables, you could, but why stop there?

Certain LMM titles are free on the Kindle--I think the first one we got was Rilla of Ingleside, but it shouldn't be legal to read that one first since it is very last in the series.  So go spend the $1.99 and read through the series and enjoy.

3. Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter.  Finally, a truly free one!  The story itself is beautiful, and after finishing you can watch one of the two really nice movie versions of this old classic, one starring Hayley Mills as Pollyanna, and one newer one that was on PBS some years back.

4. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  Free.

5. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  Free.  I like this one best of all of Burnett's books.

6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Free.  Also several good movie versions if you read through this one.

7. Betsy-Tacy Treasury (first 4 books of Betsy-Tacy editions) is $9.78.  This is really worthwhile because it is the first 4 books in the Betsy-Tacy series, at less than $2.50 each.

8. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.  It is $6.38 on Kindle, not a bad price.

9. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy in One Volume by J.R.R. Tolkien.  Only $9, or $3 a book.  A great value.

10.  For splurging:  The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis.  I was shocked that the Narnia series cannot be purchased as a set, and need to be purchased inidividually at about $6.50 each.  Not bad but it does add up.

However, I see that in April Harper Collins will be releasing a complete Kindle "set" of the seven Narnia books for $50 (FIFTY DOLLARS!).  I must confess that my first reaction is WOW, that is steep!!!!!!  I hope there is a lot of great content to justify that kind of purchase, since you can purchase the entire set separately for about $45.

We only have one of the Narnia books on Kindle; when we first got our Kindle one of the kids accidentally purchased Prince Caspian, and since I didn't realize you can return a book you bought by mistake, we kept it.  We have at least three full "real book" copies of the series (just like with LOTR), and so  we don't "have to have" the Kindle version.

If a Kindle owner purchased all the books listed above (excluding the pricey Narnia series), you would spend less than $30 for a great collection of classics to enjoy again and again.  Even if you bought the nearly free ones, you would spend $3 to get a ton of classics.

I know I will be adding more books to this list, and I can think of a few right now. Which ones did I leave out?  What are some of your favorites?

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