Did you know that children who read with their families at least three times a week are twice as likely to achieve high reading scores in school? Thankfully, it’s not hard to find free books that your family can read together. In addition to your local library, you can find free read-alouds of popular children’s books online—and often, these are read by the author!
If you’re looking for a way to enjoy all kinds of free books with your little ones, check out our list of 30 of the best story time videos. Here you’ll find classics and new books alike, with read-alouds by well-known authors like Marc Brown, Aisha Saeed, Jon Scieszka, and more.
To get the most out of these read-aloud videos, watch them with your child and talk about what you both thought of the story afterward. If the video shows the picture book words along the bottom, you can even help your child practice reading with the narrator.
1. Everybody in the Red Brick Building by Anne Wynter: The red brick building is full of people who are ready to go to sleep. But when a strange noise wakes everyone up in the middle of the night, what are the residents to do?
2. Owen by Kevin Henkes: Owen has a fuzzy yellow blanket that he takes wherever he goes. But when others start to think that Owen is too old for his blanket, what will he do?
3. Arthur’s Teacher Trouble by Marc Brown: In this installment of the Arthur series, Arthur is encouraged by his teacher to study hard for a spelling bee. Will Arthur be able to ace the competition and win the trophy for his class?
4. Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales: Niño dreams of becoming a luchador, and no competitor is too big for him! This bilingual children’s book is a great pick for dual-language learners or children fluent in both English and Spanish.
5. The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World’s Coral Reefs by Kate Messner: If you have any mini-scientists at home, they might just fall in love with this book. This story uses beautiful illustrations to teach kids how scientists are racing to save the coral reefs, a great reminder that everyone has the power to make a difference.
6. Sea Bear by Lindsay Moore: Ever wonder how polar bears survive in their arctic habitat? Learn tons of fun facts about polar bears in this book written by a real-life marine science expert.
7. We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom: When an evil snake threatens to poison her people’s water, one young girl is the only person who can protect it. Can she save the water supply from harm before it’s too late?
8. Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed: Bilal loves helping his dad make their favorite South Asian dish: daal. One exciting day, Bilaal invites all of his friends to share this delicious meal with his family.
9. Bits & Pieces by Judy Schachner: Tink the cat may be old, but he’s always wanted to go on an adventure. When the opportunity to escape arises, Tink becomes an outdoor cat and explores the world around him—if just for one night.
10. Mousetronaut Goes to Mars by Mark Kelly, read by astronaut Scott Kelly: Meteor the Mouse is headed on an interplanetary adventure! He may be the smallest member of this astronaut team, but he still has the power to save the day when things onboard the rocket get tough.
11. Goodnight, Sleep Tight by Mem Fox: Bonnie and Ben definitely don’t want to go to bed. But when their babysitter begins to tell them silly nursery rhymes before bed, will they finally be convinced to go to sleep?
12. The Hula Hoopin’ Queen by Thelma Lynn Godin, read by Oprah Winfrey: Kameeka is determined to beat Jamara at the hula hoopin’ competition. But with tons of chores to do and her neighbor Miz Adeline’s birthday party, will she get there in time?
13. Sam & Eva by Debbie Ridpath Ohi: Sam and Eva both love art, but Sam doesn’t want to share his pencils. When the two begin a battle over who can create the best drawing, who will win?
14. Help! We Need a Title! by Hervé Tullet: Oh no, the author forgot to give this book a title, and the drawings inside are panicking! Can you help them calm down?
15. Bikes for Sale by Carter Higgins (read-aloud starts at 9:40 for this video): Maurice and Lotta love to ride their bikes every day. When a chance meeting brings them together, they both finally have a friend who loves biking as much as they do.
16. Who Would Win? Green Ants vs. Army Ants by Jerry Pallotta: If green ants and army ants were to fight, who would be the victor? This scientific picture book attempts to find out!
17. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka, read by Josh Gad: Have you ever wondered what the big bad wolf’s side of the story looks like? He promises that he’s not a bad guy—just misunderstood!
18. The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak: This book may have no pictures, but it’s still entertaining. All you have to do is use your imagination!
19. Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same by Grace Lin: Ling and Ting may be identical twins, but they are very different. And no matter what happens, they always stick together. In this video, author Grace Lin shares an excerpt from her early reader chapter book.
20. Clark the Shark by Bruce Hale, read by Chris Pine: Clark the shark is a lot of fun to be around, but sometimes he gets too excited and scares people off. Can his teacher, Mrs. Inkydink, help him tone it down a little?
21. The Princess and the Shoe by Caryl Hart: When you think of princesses and shoes, Cinderella’s glass slipper might come to mind. But all this princess wants to do is run around in her sneakers!
22. Love by Matt de la Peña: Love is everywhere, and all we have to do is open our eyes to see it. This picture book celebrates the strong bonds that tie families together.
23. Hark! A Shark! by Bonnie Worth, read by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy staff: Did you know that even though sharks have tons of teeth, they don’t have any other bones? Learn tons of shark facts in this fascinating read-aloud!
24. Shubh Raatri Dost / Good Night Friend (A Bilingual Children’s Book) by Nidhi Chanani: This bilingual children’s book (Hindi and English) is the perfect bedtime story. Follow siblings Bhai and Behan as they say goodnight to all of their animal friends.
25. Bailey by Harry Bliss: Today is Bailey the dog’s first day of school, and he couldn’t be more excited—and nervous, too. Follow Bailey as he chooses the perfect first-day outfit, makes new friends, and resists the urge to eat any homework.
26. Nat the Cat’s Sunny Smile by Jez Alborough: Nat the cat is excited to share a delicious picnic with Hugo Hare and Billy Goat. But when she discovers that her friends are feeling blue, she knows the perfect way to cheer them up.
27. Shoe-La-La! by Karen Beaumont, read by the book’s illustrator LeUyen Pham: These four girls are on a mission to find the perfect shoes. But with so many choices—from fuzzy boots to soft ballerina slippers—what will they do?
28. Stuck by Oliver Jeffers: Floyd’s kite is stuck in a tree, and he’s determined to get it down. But at what cost?
29. Huff & Puff by Claudia Rueda: In this interactive picture book, the reader plays the part of the Big Bad Wolf. Can you blow the three little piggies’ houses down?
30. The Don’t Worry Book by Todd Parr: Sometimes life can be scary or confusing, especially for kids. This book helps kids learn to stay calm and find comfort during times when they feel frightened.