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    Books & Reading

    Merry Early Christmas: 100+ Free Kindle Books

    November 29, 2011 by Brandy Vencel

    So…you want to know what I loaded on the Kindle for E-Age-Nine? I’m pretty excited about it. I tried to get a nice variety of books — all things I would consider buying, but wouldn’t have the ability to procure before he is too old for them. I’ll try and divide the list up a little so you can get an idea of what I was thinking when I was doing this for hours upon crazy hours.

    Want to load a Kindle for an elementary-aged child for FREE? Here are 100+ books to get you started!

    For years I’ve kept an extensive list of books I’m looking for. I like to try my luck at used book stores when I can. The books below were carefully picked, even if I didn’t preread them all. First and foremost, each and every one was checked against the official AmblesideOnline list, that I might not accidentally have him read a book before its time. My second criteria was (obviously) that the books be free of charge. This doesn’t mean I won’t eventually pay to put books on his Kindle, but as a general rule I like to pay money for physical books not electronic copies.

    This particular child of mine can easily read a book in a day while still doing his regular lessons, playing outside for hours, and doing his chores. I really thought he must be skipping words (or worse), but he can have elaborate conversations about what he has read, so apparently he is just fast. He has patiently read and re-read every age-appropriate book in our family library. I think he is ready to read broadly, and that is one my goals in allowing him to have a Kindle. (Many of you know I am not a gadget person and often doubt technology’s appropriateness.)

    What else? Well, if you are going to look for free Kindle books, I’d suggest knowing what you are looking for. Having a booklist is helpful, to start. But knowing your favorite authors helps, too. You can search for a book you know and love, and see “what else” other customers bought, and sometimes that leads you on a fun little rabbit trail. I hesitate to use those rabbit trails for children, though, unless I’m prereading. This here is a collection of trusted authors, or titles I gleaned from trusted sources. I cannot claim that I will not have any regrets with these choices, but I think I’ve done as best I can considering the circumstances.

    My only fear is that it is a little heavy on Victorian writers because that is what is readily available. Sigh.

    I was hoping for a KJV Bible (he really wants one) and a full Vulgate, but I couldn’t find either for free. Also, Charlotte Mason mentions a living astronomy text that she uses with very young students — I think in volume 1. I wish I knew the title. If you already have a Kindle library for a boy around nine years of age, I’d love to know some of your favorite titles (or, even better, get a link to your titles). Even though this looks like a long list, I’m sure I’ll be back at the drawing board a year from now.

    It should go without saying that, within each category, these books are in no particular order — books from a series are probably not in correct order. Also, because these are free, they are probably literally cheap — meaning the tables of contents may not be linked, they may be difficult to navigate, etc. Finally, if you are not into the Kindle thing, any book can be clicked, and then you can choose “other formats” to see hardback and paperback copies (if available, which they usually are). So have fun!

    Historical Fiction

    Spiritual/Biblical Resources

    Mythology/Legend and Greek/Roman Tales


    Fiction/Literature and Short Stories

    Fiction: Geography/World Civilizations




    Science/Nature Study

    Non-fiction: History and Geography

    Books for the Holidays

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  • Reply Darnia December 21, 2011 at 4:39 am

    Thanks so much for this list I have just bought kindels for my daughetrs for christmas and this saves a lot of hunting. Merry Christmas!

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts December 7, 2011 at 4:38 pm


    I *really* appreciate your warning, and I’ll be taking the book off of his Kindle. I actually was thinking later that I ought to have *asked* for any criticism of the list, because that is one of my biggest misgivings about not being able to pre-read all of this. I am using lists of books I’ve collected from my “trusted sources” but that doesn’t mean I would even agree with myself entirely! When we acquire a handful of books at a time, I can usually keep up. πŸ™‚

    So again: thank you for the warning!

  • Reply Karen G. December 7, 2011 at 8:28 am

    This is really awesome–what a great list, and how nice to link to everything!

    I hate to say anything negative about such terrific work, but I’d think twice and then three times before giving “Just David” to a kid–and then I still probably wouldn’t give it to anyone as young as your son. (It would be great for discussion about philosophy with an older child.) I would encourage you to read it yourself–and compare it to Rousseau’s philosophy of childhood perfection and innocence which is corrupted only by society, and not from within.

    I know the book is recommended prominently in some circles, but after reading it, I’ve never understood why.

  • Reply Kimbrah December 6, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    We have a Nook, so I don’t think my link would be helpful. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts December 6, 2011 at 5:06 pm


    I have wondered about that! I would LOVE a link to your E. Nesbit collection. I own most of Pyle’s books already, but I only have two or three Nesbits. I do not mind paying a little if I know that it is a great product.

  • Reply Kimbrah December 6, 2011 at 7:23 am


    I wanted to say that you have to be careful with the free books. Sometimes the are digitally “read” and transcribed and the resulting product is filled with random gobbledygook. It is very frustrating to get into a book and realize half of it is unintelligible nonsense. Really frustrating. I have found that the cheaper paid editions are much better. I paid .99 or 1.99 each for a complete E. Nesbit collection and a complete Howard Pyle collection and other than not having pictures, they are without error. Just a heads up. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Sarah December 1, 2011 at 3:13 am

    Brandy, this is the KJV I spent .99 for and love:

    I’ve had three Bibles on my Kindle at one time (now down to two) and this one is by far the easiest to navigate in order to find a specific verse.

    Also, a word of caution. Make sure to never, ever set anything on top of the Kindle. This is kind of a “duh” warning, but I’m here to tell you it happens. My son accidently leaned on my Kindle with his elbow when it was partially covered by a notebook on a table. I had been reading something,taking notes, AND checking my son’s school work, which was why it became partially covered with the notebook.

    We heard a slight crunch and the screen was instantly ruined. It was under warranty, so it was replaced with no problems, but we’re at the end of our warranty so we are super-vigilant now!

    In regard to downloading books without WiFi, it’s very easy to do with the Kindle’s USB cable. There are instructions at Amazon’s website, and YouTube has videos that demonstrate how to do it.

    For books from the Project Gutenberg’s website, I save Kindle formatted books to my desktop, then transfer them with the cable by just “dropping” them into the appropriate file on my Kindle.


  • Reply Heather November 30, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    Whoa, that’s a serious book list. I’d like to read those myself. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts November 30, 2011 at 8:35 pm


    I hadn’t actually thought about that, but it came with a fancy case that has a stand. I find that boys often read upside down, though. πŸ™‚ I am sure he will get a kick out of using it just because he likes little things like that, and has an “easel” in his room that he uses for picture study, etc.

  • Reply Sallie @ A Quiet Simple Life November 30, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Brnady – Did you buy him a stand for his Kindle that he can use at times? My PT said that he’s seen a huge uptick of teens and young adults the past couple of years because of video games, texting, ereaders, etc. All of these devices that people hold up and look down on put alot of stress on your neck and shoulders. I’m not trying to rain on your parade, but really encourage him to be careful with the posture and how long he uses it at a stretch.

  • Reply ...they call me mommy... November 30, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    WOW! How cool! Thank you! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts November 30, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Sara, I am sure that will happen with some of the books on my list, but I figure he can figure out his favorites and then we can discuss what to do next. I really see some of this as a pre-reading opportunity. He can tell me what is worth adding to the library and what isn’t. πŸ™‚

    Thanks again for the link. πŸ™‚

  • Reply sara November 30, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    I find navigating through every kindle bible annoying, so yeah, I prefer the print. I was specifically looking for an illustrated one. I’m pretty happy with the one I got, but I don’t know if it’s the same one I linked to – it’s hard to tell.

    I don’t like some of the free books (not the one you listed) because sometimes the text is wonky. For example, in the free version of The Railway Children, the words the children wrote on the sheet were invisible on the kindle – so the story didn’t make sense. I wound up having to buy it. That kind of thing has happened more than once, but it’s usually not that bad.

    Sorry so short – the kids are distracting.

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts November 30, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Oh! I forgot to say: THANK YOU! πŸ™‚ I appreciate the link.

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts November 30, 2011 at 3:12 pm


    Are you happy with it? I do not mind paying a dollar if it is a good one–I just wasn’t sure how to wade through them because many turned up when I did a search for it.

    I *do* still wonder if I should buy him a print version instead so that he knows where he is…most Kindle versions, in my very limited experience, do not have the book name at the top like a print version, and so you have to go back to the beginning if you don’t remember where you are…

    I struggle with technology sometimes. πŸ™‚

  • Reply sara November 30, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    I could have sworn I got my KJV free, but maybe I paid .99. I hope this link works.

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts November 29, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    Rahime: I know! This is so hard for me to wait for… πŸ™‚

    Ellen (not to be confused with the other Ellen…he he…): Yes, he has read Princess and the Goblin–it was assigned in Ambleside for Y3. I think he will really enjoy discovering that there is a sequel. πŸ™‚ I’m glad to hear that it is just as likable…I might have to steal his Kindle while he sleeps at night, because I’ve never read it, either! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Ellen November 29, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Fabulous list! I saw _The Princess and Curdie_ and wondered if he’s read _The Princess and the Goblin_, which is the first? My dc loved both of those. I’ll be using your list as a reference!

  • Reply Rahime November 29, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    I can’t wait to hear how he likes it. I imagine he’ll be over the moon with excitement. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts November 29, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    You are all very welcome!

    If you look, you will see that I started a new “Kindle resources” label. Linking the list wasn’t very difficult, so I think whenever I add new titles, I’ll be sure to share them.

    Ellen: This Kindle doesn’t have 3G either, and even if it did, our house is like a bomb shelter for some reason–not even much cell phone coverage! Do you go to Starbucks often? That is one option I’ll use–set everything up on Amazon, and then take it with me to Starbucks and turn it on and it’ll automatically update. I have a reading group that meets monthly at Starbucks, so that works for me. Also, my husband works for local government, so he has free WiFi there also–perhaps your husband has similar access at work? If so, if you set it up correctly before he leaves, all he’d have to do is turn it on and it’ll just do its thing! πŸ™‚ There is so much free WiFi now, we even have coverage at most parks!

    It probably can plug in and download also, but I am still totally ignorant in that department. πŸ™

  • Reply Ellen November 29, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    This looks awesome!!! Thanks for doing this. Also, I have a question… can you download books onto your Kindle easily from the computer? We don’t have WiFi, and the latest simple Kindle doesn’t come with 3G. I’m wondering if there’s some way to plug it in to download…

  • Reply Anonymous November 29, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Thank you so much for posting these. I bought a Kindle months ago, and have just gotten around to reading my first free book on it. It isn’t as bad as I thought it might be…I am so a “real” book kind of girl! I have a nine year old son as well, and this is exactly the reason I bought it: to put books on there that I otherwise couldn’t afford before he has grown! Thank you for this list and taking the TIME to post them all for us.
    Julie in St. Louis

  • Reply Anonymous November 29, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    I guess I won’t get to see him much this year.


  • Reply Pam... November 29, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Wow. Nice list. My 15 yo just bought a kindle fire for himself. We are trying to learn how to load free ebooks, music, images. It’s taking so long to figure it all out for each device in the house. Though your books are for a younger boy, but I will def. keep and use the list. Thanks again.

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