Thematic Reading List: Public Domain Books = Free Books


While many families find themselves under stay at home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a good story can provide hours of fun distraction. But, with schools and libraries closed, finding free books may seem like a challenge. Fortunately, it is not with eBooks. Your local libraries have a wide selection of e-books. Thousands of public domain books (books that have no copyright or the copyright has expired) are available through Project Gutenberg, Open Library , and International Children’s Digital Library. Additionally, companies like Audible and Penguin Random House are offering free select eBooks until April 30. Visit their websites for more information.
Our list includes some of our favorite books that are now in the public domain. Check out your local library’s eBook collection or some of the websites listed above to read these beautiful classics with your children.


0394890485 My Father’s Dragon
By: Ruth Stiles Gannett

A young boy runs away from home to rescue an abused baby dragon held captive to serve as a free twenty-four-hour, seven-days-a-week ferry for the lazy wild animals living on Wild Island.
0486423662 Five Children and It
By: E. Nesbit

While exploring around their summer home, five brothers and sisters find a Psammead, or Sand-fairy, in a nearby gravel pit. The Psammead is magical and, every day, the ancient and irritable creature grants each of them a wish that lasts until sunset. Soon, though, they find their wishes never seem to turn out right and often have unexpected—and humorous—consequences. But when an accidental wish goes terribly wrong, the children learn that magic, like life, can be as complicated as it is exciting.
9781612474359 Black Beauty
By: Anna Sewell

Ever wonder if animals feel as people do? Narrated by the horse Black Beauty, this touching autobiography reveals the joys and trials of a beast of burden and takes a close look at the relationship between people and animals.
4871873056 The Story of Doctor Dolittle
By: Hugh Lofting

Presents the adventures of a kind-hearted doctor, who is fond of animals and understands their language, as he travels to Africa with some of his favorite pets to cure the monkeys of a terrible sickness.
1402211708 Peter Pan
By: J.M. Barrie

A mischievous boy who can fly and never grows up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang, the Lost Boys, interacting with mermaids, Native Americans, fairies, pirates, and occasionally ordinary children from the world outside of Neverland. Those children happen to be siblings Wendy, John, and Michael.
9780486407845 The Secret Garden
By: Frances Hodgson Burnett

When Mary Lennox arrived in England from India, she was as uncomely as a weed, and every bit as contrary. Lonely and confused, she spends long hours hiking across the Yorkshire moors or wandering about the gardens surrounding Misslethwaite Manor. One afternoon she discovers the entrance to a secret garden, one that for ten years had remained locked and lifeless. Mary soon learns that the garden holds its own cold secret, one that has lain fallow for too long, and threatens to destroy her newfound happiness.


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