The International Children’s Digital Library Offers Free eBooks for Kids in Over 40 Languages

For all of the free lit­er­a­ture and essays avail­able online, a sur­pris­ing­ly small amount is geared toward chil­dren. Even less is aimed at chil­dren who speak for­eign lan­guages.

The Inter­na­tion­al Children’s Dig­i­tal Library offers chil­dren ages 3–13 free access to the best avail­able children’s lit­er­a­ture in more than 40 lan­guages. Librar­i­ans find and dig­i­tize books pub­lished around the world and present them in their orig­i­nal lan­guages.

The site acts as a meta learn­ing tool. It is designed to be easy for chil­dren to use by themselves—by sim­ply click­ing “Read Books,” a list of favorite titles pops up—but kids can learn how to search too, by their own age, types of char­ac­ters, genre, book length, lan­guage and geo­graph­i­cal region.

The home­page fea­tures rec­om­mend­ed and pop­u­lar titles, like Tyrone the Hor­ri­ble, writ­ten in Span­ish. Where trans­la­tion rights exist, the library works with vol­un­teer trans­la­tors to pro­vide addi­tion­al lan­guage ver­sions.

The library is a project of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Maryland’s Human-Com­put­er Inter­ac­tion Lab and there is a research com­po­nent to the project. Work­ing with chil­dren in New Zealand, Hon­duras, Ger­many, and the Unit­ed States, researchers are look­ing at how chil­dren per­ceive oth­er cul­tures out­side their own.

The library’s broad­er mis­sion is to make it pos­si­ble for chil­dren all over the world to learn to use a library sys­tem and read a range of qual­i­ty lit­er­a­ture. The inter­face aims as much at inter­na­tion­al chil­dren as it does immi­grant chil­dren in Amer­i­can cities and rur­al areas.

Books are avail­able for free and with­out an account. An account, how­ev­er, allows a child to cre­ate their own book­shelf of favorites that can be shared with oth­er users. A guide for teach­ers includes a train­ing man­u­al and tips for how to use the library to teach cre­ative writ­ing, library search skills and for­eign lan­guages.

You will find the Inter­na­tion­al Children’s Dig­i­tal Library in our col­lec­tion 200 Free Kids Edu­ca­tion­al Resources: Video Lessons, Apps, Books, Web­sites & More.

More dig­i­tized chil­dren’s books can be found at the Library of Con­gress.

Adults, don’t miss our oth­er col­lec­tion, 800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kin­dle & Oth­er Devices.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hear the Clas­sic Win­nie-the-Pooh Read by Author A.A. Milne in 1929

Watch Ani­ma­tions of Oscar Wilde’s Children’s Sto­ries “The Hap­py Prince” and “The Self­ish Giant”

The Clas­sic 1956 Oscar-Win­ning Children’s Film, The Red Bal­loon


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