Living Books is a term that spans many different homeschooling methods, so chances are good that if you homeschool — you’ve heard the term before. But what exactly does “Living Books” mean?
Living Books are those books that tell a compelling story, draw you in, captivate you, and yet teach. Books that bring the subjects alive: history, math, science, fine arts. Every subject can be brought to life through the use of a Living Book. (If you don’t believe me, read this book about the English Language: King Alfred’s English.)
We have a list of favorite books in this house, and I am always amazed to see how many classic, beautifully-written Living Books can be found for free on Amazon for your Kindle. Buying a Kindle (or putting the free app on your handheld device) is totally worth it when you consider the thousands of dollars of real, Living Books you can get for free! As you go through the list of books below, be sure to look for other books by the same author which are also free. I only listed one per author in each age group, but in general, if they are in the public domain they are free for Kindle. This is our list for elementary and junior high. Are you also looking for Free Classic and Living Books for High School?
Free Living Books for Elementary:
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
The Burgess Animal Book for Children by Thornton Burgess
The Aesop for Children by Wilder
Among the Forest People by Clara Dillingham Pierson
50 Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin
The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit
A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb
The Real Mother Goose author unknown
Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans by Edward Eggleston
A Collection of Beatrix Potter Stories by Beatrix Potter
Raggedy Ann Stories by John Gruelle
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney
The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle by Hugh Lofting
Uncle Robert’s Geography by Helm and Parker
Free Living Books for Junior High:
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
Among Malay Pirates by G. A. Henty
The Book of Dragons by Edith Nesbit
Hero Tales by James Baldwin
The Narrative of Sojourner Truth by Sojourner Truth
The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Lori H says
Thanks!!!! I just put most of these on the Kindle since I know we are going to want to read them. A couple of them are ones I have wanted my oldest to read but she wasn’t interested. She has recently discovered that she likes to read on the Kindle so this may be just what I need. Thank you.
Amy Blevins says
I’m so glad it was helpful!
Awesome post! So helpful! Thank you.
Thanks Amy, much appreciation for compiling this list. I’ll share on my facebook page.
I have read King Alfred’s English and loved it! So much to learn about our language.
Demitry Haire says
Thank you for the list. However, I would not recommend The Voyages of Dr. Doolittle. This book started out wonderfully and then I saw what some people refer to as “the N word” in print, in this book. I cannot believe this book made your list.
Amy Blevins says
I am sorry you are offended by the book. My children have cousins and best friends of every color God made us, because that is the way we live. They know the word is inappropriate and offensive, and we make sure to talk about why. I am not worried about having them read the word in a book, any more then I stop them from reading a book that teaches against creation, or a classic like Shakespeare with references to illicit relationships. We talk about everything and hold it up against our worldview, and that I think is most important. If we shelter our kids so much that they never know that these things existed, when they get out in the world they will think we have lied or they won’t know how to hold these things up to the light of our worldview and make wise choices. It’s a balancing act for sure, and one every parent needs to figure out for their family. It’s not something we should judge each other over.
We also took advantage of the oprion to purchase the audio versions for a super small free!!! My son is an avid reader and will emjoy.
Blessings to you!