Children’s ebooks: Should you invest in a mid-term reader, and where can you get children’s ebooks for free?

Summer vacation is upon us, and whether you’re planning a week away or staying home, having a good selection of ebooks will ensure you always have great entertainment in the palm of your hand.

For children in particular, e-books can be a fun and educational resource. Maybe their school has set reading goals for them, or maybe they just like to read for fun. Either way, knowing where to find great kid-friendly e-books is a must.

We assess the benefits of taking an e-book reader on vacation, reveal where you can access the best titles (both paid and free) and how you can toggle parental controls on your child’s e-book reader to give you peace of mind while they sail.

Kobo or Kindle? Our rigorous lab testing makes it easy to browse our proven models – ask our expert ebook reader reviews.

Ebook readers or paper books?

E-book readers and paper books both have their pros and cons, so which one you decide to use will generally depend on your needs and preferences.

Nothing quite matches the tactile feel of a paper book, and you might be more inclined to avoid e-book readers as a way to cut down on your child’s screen time. A real rugged book is also more likely to survive a bit of a rough ride and drop on a sandy beach than its electronic counterpart. It won’t run out of battery either.

However, if you are looking to take several reads with you on vacation, investing in an ebook reader may be the right thing for you. Some parental settings even allow you to limit your child’s screen time (more on this below).

E-book readers are lightweight and portable, and you can download and store thousands of titles in one place. So you won’t have to worry about packing piles of bulky books to take with you.

Where to find free and cheap ebooks for kids

E-books tend to be cheaper than paper books anyway, and you still don’t have to spend a fortune to access hundreds of kid-friendly titles digitally. There are resources available so you can get a huge range of ebooks for free (or at a low price, at least).

For more information, you can head to our guide on where to download free or cheap ebooks.

You can find and download free children’s books from a range of online stores and apps, such as:

  • Amazon’s Kindle – Stocks thousands of popular children’s books, from a wimp’s diary to a very hungry caterpillar, many of which are completely free to download. You can read on Kindle, Amazon Fire devices, Apple and Android devices or on the Internet.
  • Google Play Books – sells a huge range of kid-friendly ebooks, and you can search for books by age group or subgenre on the Google Play Store online. Google Play Books can be read on Android smartphones and tablets or on your computer.
  • Kobo – Apple’s main e-reader competitor, Kobo books can be read on Kobo e-readers, Android or Apple devices, or through your computer (using the Windows 10 or masOS app). Kobo’s store offers a wide range of children’s books for fun and educational purposes.
  • Apple Books – accessible only on Apple devices or Macs, Apple Books offers e-books by many popular authors, such as Roald Dahl, Jaqueline Wilson and David Walliams. You can also search for author collections specifically

If you’re looking to download more educational ebooks for kids, or if they’ve done holiday reading homework, we’ve found Oxford Owl eBooks to be a fantastic resource for more learning-focused reading – plus, it’s completely free.

Signing up is quick and you’ll have access to hundreds of primary school books suitable for ages 3-11. Most of them are geared towards developing reading skills and learning phonics, and include popular titles such as the Biff, Chip and Kipper series.

This resource is best accessed online for viewing on a laptop, computer or tablet. See our selection of best tablets for kids.

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Can I toggle parental controls on an ebook reader?

Most eBook readers will have some kind of parental controls built in. This will usually be accessible via “Settings”.

  • For Kindle users, you can set and toggle parental controls such as screen time limits, bedtime settings, educational goals, and smart filters that only allow your child to see approved content .
  • For Kobo users, a 2019 update included the ability to add a 4-digit PIN allowing users to access the store, web browser, and certain settings on a Kobo eBook reader.

Parental Control Limits

It’s important to note that while parental controls are an effective way to restrict what your child can see and access, the best way to monitor their activity is to pay attention to what they’re doing.

Keep an eye out for updates that may change your parental controls and change password PINs frequently in case your child remembers it.

Safety is the most important thing when buying tech for kids, so check out our guide to the best tablets for kids for our verdict on the best models.