List of Public Domain (Free) Books for Kids, by Grade Level

[EDIT Oct 2016: changed link to Reading Library to new website]

I’m a frequent user of Project Gutenberg, which distributes free eBook versions of books in the public domain.

Be A Learning Hero, a site I administer, has great lists of suggested books for kids to read at each grade level, and guides to aid parents in discussions with kids about those books. In working on getting that launched this summer, I wanted to know if any of our books were available at Project Gutenberg, so we could just link to them (none were, but we added WorldCat links to make it easy to find them at a local library).

Anyway, while working on that, I realized that there is no convenient online list of free books for kids, organized by grade level. There are lists of public domain books for kids, and there are lists of books for kids by grade level, but nobody seems to have combined it all in one place. So I thought: SEO gold!! And then I put this together.

If you know of more good free books for kids, let me know in the comments and I’ll add to the list.

[Links go to the author page on gutenberg.org; the book page on gutenberg.org; and the source of the grade level recommendation.]

Book Title Author
Grade Level (approx.)
Fairy Tales Grimm, The Brothers K-3
Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz Baum, L. Frank K-6
Raggedy Ann Stories Gruelle, Johnny 1
The Light Princess MacDonald, George 1-2
The Happy Prince and Other Tales Wilde, Oscar 1-4
The Secret Garden Burnett, Frances Hodgson 2
Heidi Spyri, Johanna 2-6
The Tale of Peter Rabbit Potter, Beatrix 3
The Arabian Nights: Their Best-known Tales Wiggin, Kate Douglas Smith 3-5
The Swiss Family Robinson Wyss, Johann David 3-8
My Father’s Dragon Gannett, Ruth Stiles 4
The Velveteen Rabbit Williams, Margery 4
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Baum, L. Frank 5
The Adventures of Buster Bear Burgess, Thornton W. 5
The Adventures of Chatterer the Red Squirrel Burgess, Thornton W. 5
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Carroll, Lewis 5
The Story of Doctor Dolittle
Lofting, Hugh 5
White Fang
London, Jack
5
Anne of Green Gables Montgomery, Lucy Maud 5
The Enchanted Castle Nesbit, E. 5
The Railway Children Nesbit, E. 5
Adventures of Tom Sawyer Twain, Mark 5
Jack and Jill Alcott, Louisa May 6
Peter Pan Barrie, J.M. 6
Jungle Book Kipling, Rudyard 6
Black Beauty Sewell, Anna 6
Little Women Alcott, Louisa May 7
Call of the Wild London, Jack 7
The Princess and the Goblin MacDonald, George 7
Treasure Island Stevenson, Robert Louis 7
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm Wiggin, Kate Douglas Smith 8
The Wind in the Willows Grahame, Kenneth 8
Robinson Crusoe Defoe, Daniel 9

20 thoughts on “List of Public Domain (Free) Books for Kids, by Grade Level

  1. Erin

    What a great resourse! May I read any of these out loud on my Reading Teacher FB site? I want to read Aloud classics for children who may not otherwise read them. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Matt Morgan Post author

      These are public domain works. You can read them aloud, satirize them, reprint them and claim them as your own, or print them out and chop them into thousands of tiny bits to make a children’s literature collage. Go for it!

      Reply
      1. Tara

        Can anyone suggest a good one that doesn’t have too much content that is now considered politically incorrect.

        Reply
        1. christina

          When I was a kid I loved the Secret Garden and Heidi. I don’t think they have controversial issues in them except that they both are about orphans – and I know some people are wary of reading kids stories that are about the death of a parent. Alice in Wonderland is also great for kids who like silly stories.

          Reply
      2. chanthy

        Hi

        Thank you so much for sharing this!
        I wonder if these books are actually still hold copyright to them? My 7 years old love books and she is very interested to read children books aloud and share them on youtube. I am just wondering if you know there is copyrighted on these books still?

        Thanks

        Chanthy

        Reply
        1. Matt Morgan Post author

          They are public domain works, in the USA and in many other countries. I encourage you to look up what that means in your jurisdiction. Thanks!

          Reply
  2. Cathy Frazier

    Hi, I discovered Project Gutenberg looking for The Boxcar Children (they show as Box-car) a good 2/3 book which my students always love even though it is so old fashioned. Thank you for this great resource, especially now in the time of sheltering in place.

    Reply
    1. Cathy Frazier

      Oops, read the beginning of the download of The Boxcar Children and the book has been significantly revised since this version. Can’t share it with my students. Sorry.

      Reply
  3. Cathy Frazier

    Oops, read the beginning of the download of The Boxcar Children and the book has been significantly revised since this version. Can’t share it with my students. Sorry.

    Reply
    1. Cathy Frazier

      I loved The Secret Garden too, however, since the parents die of a cholera epidemic it could probably be a little scary for children right now. Peter Rabbit is always fun for younger children and this has all the beautiful illustrations.

      Reply
      1. Matt Morgan Post author

        Hey, I’m just thrilled that people are finding this ancient post of mine (which is the one I worked hardest on!) useful. Thanks for coming & thanks for all the helpful thoughts!

        Reply
        1. Sarah Kurvinen

          Hello,

          Are any of the modern stories for younger kids in the public domain?
          This is a very useful list thanks

          Reply
          1. Matt Morgan Post author

            You’re welcome!

            There are lots of newer books that are out of copyright, but that’s a pretty new development so it may be hard to find digitized copies of them. See

            https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/a3534j/libraries-and-archivists-are-scanning-and-uploading-books-that-are-secretly-in-the-public-domain

            for more information on work New York Public Library has done to get people access to newer books, and work some other orgs are doing to make them available.

  4. Amanda

    Hello Matt, I want to thank you for your generous share. This is a fantastic resource. I appreciate you and what you do.

    Reply
  5. Hala

    Hi Matt,

    I would like to ask you please can I use any of the listed stories and make some new graphic and animation on it and upload it on my YouTube Channel, with out any legal issue,
    is there any copy rights for re using them.

    Please advise.

    Reply
    1. Matt Morgan Post author

      They are public domain (at least, in the USA, and in many other places). I encourage you to look that up and understand what it means so I can avoid giving you legal advice. Or look further back in the comments here to a time I was less concerned about that and answered a similar question. Thanks!

      Reply

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