Sometimes we recommend children’s books that you can buy online through our Amazon affiliate account (as a way to support LanguagePreschools.com!).
Other times, like today, we are sharing nothing but FREE children’s resources you can take advantage of. Specifically, we’re promoting free children’s stories in other languages, all of which you can find online.
Keep in mind that most of these sites (although not all) don’t appear to be maintained or updated regularly. Don’t let that deter you from using them, though. After all, who can complain about tools that we can use at no cost to us?
Disclaimer: The links on this post are Amazon affiliate links, which means that if you click on a link and make an Amazon purchase, we get a small kickback–at no extra cost to you. By using our links, you are helping to keep Language Preschools up and running, so thank you!
Here are nine online sources where you can find free children’s stories in other languages:
Free Children Stories groups books according to age (3-5, 5-8, 8-10), rhyming versus non-rhyming, and Spanish. The “Cuentos en Español” section looks to only include stories about the ABCs, so it’s not extensive, but the stories within are still free!
The Fable Cottage (and the Various “Language Experiments”)
These online resources are probably our favorite because they are so beautifully created. First you have The Fable Cottage, which features short classic children’s stories in both text and audio. Here you’ll find Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Hansel and Gretel, and others in Spanish, French, Italian, and English. Audio is by native speakers. The non-English ones have the option for parallel text.
The various “Language Experiments” that we refer to in the heading of this section include the following:
- Spanish Children’s Stories
- French Children’s Stories
- Italian Children’s Stories
- German Children’s Stories
Like the free children’s stories found in The Fable Cottage, these language experiment sites have classic kids’ stories in text and audio format (read by a native speaker), along with translation-to-English functionality.
The audio portion is especially beneficial for monolingual parents who are raising bilingual kids. Even if you’re not familiar with the pronunciation, or sounds of the language, you and your children can still enjoy (and learn from) these stories.
Children’s Books Forever is great because it has free children’s stories in many, many languages: Afrikaans, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Indonesian, Spanish, Swedish, and more. That’s not to say there’s a ton of content (because there isn’t), but this will get you and your kiddos through a few bilingual storytime sessions.
As a family who frequently watches The Land Before Time on Netflix, we are very much into dinosaurs right now, so we love the Tyrone dinosaur books in the German section. Children’s Books Forever has a variety of other types of stories too, though. These are fabulous for printing and binding.
We find this site a little difficult to navigate because there’s a lot going on on the homepage (and every page, really). But if you just look for the “Read Books” tab in the navigation, you’ll get where you need to go. Use the “Books by Country” or the “Advanced Search” dropdown options to reach the books in your family’s target language. Books from nearly 60 languages are represented. The more commonly spoken and learned languages have dozens of stories to choose from.
Lingolibros has one free book, but in several languages, so we thought it was worth sharing. In Spanish, Portuguese, German, Greek, and Italian, “Life of Basil” is a free ebook that you can download through Barnes and Noble for a Nook or on the app stores (Google Play and iTunes) for smartphones and tablets.
If you browse the Amazon Kindle Store, you can usually find free children’s stories in your target language. For example, we did a search for “Spanish children’s books for Kindle free” and came across plenty of free downloadable books. Try searching in your own target language (if it’s not Spanish), and see what pops up.
Epic! offers a digital library (accessible via the web and mobile devices) of more than 25,000 children’s books. Don’t be misled: it is not free. However, you can get a free 30-day trial, which is why we’re including it in this post. With Epic! you get unlimited access to all these resources (books, videos, quizzes, and more) for only $7.99 per month after your free trial ends.
In addition to English content, Epic! provides content in Spanish, French, and Chinese. We are waiting for them to add books in even more languages!
BookBox is different from the other resources in this post because its stories come in the format of animated YouTube videos called “AniBooks.” These cartoons are subtitled, with each word in the story highlighted as it is read. Although the website doesn’t seem to have been updated in a while, the YouTube channel is thriving with more than 300,000 subscribers and new video uploads in one of 40-plus languages every few days.
Bible for Children won’t appeal to all of our readers, so that’s why we’re including it last in this list. This site has children’s Bible stories from the Old and New Testaments, along with illustrations. What’s great is that Bible for Children’s content is available in 165 different languages! There’s also an app, available for purchase through Amazon, but if you’re just looking for free, stick with the web resources.
Several other sites for free children’s stories in other languages also exist.
Many of them are specific to one language, so we didn’t add them to this post. If you do an online search for “Free Children’s [Name of Language] Books Online,” though, you’ll discover these sites.
We want to thank the publishers and content creators who have made these children’s language learning resources available free of charge. They didn’t have to, but they chose to. This way, language learning can be more accessible by all families, regardless of income.
And, if all else fails, you can even try your hand at writing your own stories, like Adam Beck of Bilingual Monkeys suggests in his post, Turn Your Kids into Eager Readers with This Fun, Simple Strategy.
Did we miss any online resources for free children’s stories in other languages?
Leave us a comment to let us know.