We posted our favorites in 2012. But an update is long overdue! There are many quality children’s books in the public domain. These books have survived the test of time! The challenge is to find them. Yes, you can search Project Gutenberg or Google Books. But if you are looking for an easier path, here are our best choices for streamlined locations to search for children’s books — treasures in the public domain:
1. Gateway to the Classics
We formerly linked to Baldwin Online Children’s Literature Project (a site we have used since the beginning). The two sites have been combined. You’ll find over 700 stories by nearly 400 authors.
2. 19th Century Schoolbooks
Anther site we have used since the beginning! Here you will find readers, spellers, grammar resources, and other textbooks. A favorite!
3. An Old-Fashioned Education
One of our Featured Sites! It too has been around for a while and appears to no longer be updated. However, the books remain and the site is a wonderful resource for a wide variety of books on a wide variety of subjects (see the left sidebar).
You may also be interested in the Full Curriculum offered. Read more in our review.
4. Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature
A digital collection hosted at the University of Florida. There are some real treasures in here! Beautifully illustrated books are included.
5. Timeless Truths Free Online Library
Another oldie but goodie. Their collection includes “devotionals, biographies, and true-to-life stories, mostly written during the latter 19th and early 20th centuries.” Many selections Christian home educators will appreciate!
6. Children’s Books Online: The Rosetta Project
Beautiful picture books!
7. Library of Congress Children’s Book Selections Collection
Digital collection includes over 70 books, most of which can be downloaded in PDF format. For example, The Baby’s Own Aesop.
8. Read.gov: Classic Books
Also from the Library of Congress. There is overlap but the format is different. There are also fewer books in the collection.