Friday, January 3, 2014

Ten Ways to Find Children's Books on the Cheap

Yesterday, the organization Read Aloud posted the following quote on their Facebook page:
 “Growing up in a home with 500 books would propel a child 3.2 years further in education, on average, than would growing up in a similar home with few or no books."
 This quote included the following image, which was shared from FirstBook's Facebook page:

The statistics, to me, are daunting. Fill a home with books, and a child is being primed for success in life. Granted, the epidemiologist in me wants to ask if these studies accounted for confounding factors, but at face value the message is clear: lots of books at an early age are key to later success. 

However, books can be expensive. This expense or perceived expense may be a barrier for some households from acquiring books. For that reason, I feel compelled to share with you the top ten ways I have stacked the books in our home. We are well over that "500 books" mark, but I promise you most of those books we got for free or close to free. I feel that I should begin by saying that I firmly believe the right book for a child is the one that he or she wants to read. A book that will never receive literary acclaimed purchased from the Dollar spot at Target is a great book in our house if the child loves to read said book. So, without further ado, here is my list: 

  1. Get a Library Card! Seems obvious, but so many people do not utilize the full scope of their library system.  Hands down, my favorite use for our library card is the access to electronic books through their Overdrive online eBook library. My oldest daughter and I have used this to borrow chapter books on a whim in our pajamas from bed.You don't need to keep that book forever, just borrow it for now.
  2. Blog Hop- Before starting this blog, it NEVER would have occurred to me that there was this whole world of bloggers giving away books. A while ago, I won three fabulous books from Pragmatic Mom's website. (One of the books I won was Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky, which we read four times tonight.) Her blog is great, and she is constantly giving away books to her readers. Another blog to check out is the Mother Daughter Book Reviews. This blogs links to so many great blogs, and she gives away great new books. 
  3. Check out the Dollar Spot at Target. We have this one Sesame Beginnings book titled Bubbles, Bubbles that I purchased years ago from the Dollar Spot that I can recite from memory. Both of my daughters just LOVE this book. It is simple, but this book is perfect for the earliest reader. No need for an expensive board book when you can entertain a toddler for hours with a book that only cost a dollar. 
  4. Become a supporter of the Kohl's Cares program. If you have a Kohl's near your house, make sure to check out the books they sell for this charity for only $5 a book. I just looked, and their new selection of books include Put Me in the Zoo, The Nose Book, Go, Dog, Go!, Big Dog...Little Dog, and Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb. Not only do they offer gorgeous hardcover editions of these books, but they also sell adorable stuffed animals to go with the books. I don't have some of these books, so I guess I will be heading to Kohl's tomorrow. 
  5. Get a book with that kids' meal. I live in Georgia, and Chick-fil-A is kind of a big deal down here. What is a big deal for my girls are the books they get in their kids' meals. Right now, the books are a series of titles from the #1 New York Times bestselling creators Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin. McDonald's is also offering books now in their kids' meals.
  6. Look for books on the cereal aisle. Every now and then, I will notice that Cheerios will have books inside of their cereal boxes. What better way to start the morning than with a good book? So the plan is to purchase that box of cereal at a BOGO event with a coupon. You get a book and a box of cereal for practically free. 
  7. YARD SALES. My mom is the Queen of scoring great finds at yard sales. When my parents came to visit at Christmas, she brought a bag of books that she purchased for a quarter a piece. Most of the books were in almost new condition. Another person's trash is a ticket to adventure for my kids. 
  8. Volunteer at your child's Scholastic Book Fair. Did you know that Scholastic Book fair volunteers get invited to this very special warehouse sale? And did you know that most of the books at the warehouse sale are at least 50% list price? I was not aware of this small little nugget of information until I received the invitation from my daughter's PTA. It is a book-lover's paradise. Santa purchased MANY of the books that my children received on Christmas morning at a deep discount.
  9. Shop at library book sales. If you followed my advice for number one and got your library card, you would probably be aware that you local library may periodically sell books. The Cobb County Library and The Friends of the Library host a biannual book sale at the Jim Miller Park. Check out my library book sale finds from last March.  
  10. Read up on literary events happening in your community. One event that I love to attend each year is hosted by Marietta Reads! This event includes a wide range of activities, all of which are focused on promoting reading. It is held annually in Marietta Square, and my daughters love every bit of this fall festival. A favorite spot to check out is a section where there are boxes of books for free. Children are given plastic grocery bags and are encouraged to fill the with books of their liking. Read up on my post from that event from last fall. Again, your local library is usually in the know for these awesome events.
I would love to hear your suggestions on ways to acquire children's books on the cheap. Leave a comment below, and add to my list. 


  1. If you have a library card and a frequent at the library, libraries tend to sell, DVDs, adult fiction, mysteries, children books, etc, for .99 cents and also place bargain books by the computer and you see cooking books and non-fiction and others,you can buy 2 or more for 1.50 or 2.50 in that price range or one for .99 cents. The hard covers most don't have the dust jackets and some do, but the donations always go to good place like to the lions club or Children organization.

    Also another good place is your grocery store like Shop Rite, they always have a section of books and fill it and changes every week. They have kid’s books, but don’t see one the day you go, back after restock and you’ll see them. Kid’s books go very fast there. They three for 1.50 and all proceeds change but on the sigh tells you who it is going to that month, there Is two proceeds go to Lions club and Children’s Organization. They sell hard cover, soft cover, books with dust jackets, ones with out, they are all in good condition. It’s a great bargain to a good cause; you see books old and new, and classics. If you don’t mind used this is a great bargain.

    Barnes and Noble
    Barnes and Noble also has a large selction online of Children Bargin books ( ), ranging from starting soft cover 1.99 to peak around 6.38. For Hard covers the lowest some start low as 3.99 and the peak for all is 9.00

    Also Amazon has a great deal on books, they are in deal with used dealers the books are used if you do not mind that and some are ebven new, but the used are even really good there just slightly worn on the spine from reading or crease from a fold om the front page. You get them for 2.99 , 1.00,.99.the more you buy the less the shipping. Even if you are buying a brand new book on amazon it is cheaper most times than it is from a store like B&N and Target, or if popular good luck getting it when you need it in your price range.

    1. These are great suggestions! I completely forgot about Shop Rite because we don't have them down here. When I was little, I always looked forward to going to Shop Rite with my mom because that was the only place I ever remember us buying books. Thanks for reading. ;-)

  2. Jenny, this is a great post! Lots of good ideas....Reading doesn't have to be an expensive habit (can be!) if you know where to look! I posted on my new blog about how to Nurture the Love of Reading in Children, and you seem to be doing a great job of that! I'm amazed at how many books I've found at thrift stores, flea markets, dollar stores, and even auctions! Sometimes auctions have collectible or signed copies of books, but sometimes they might have a box of regular children's books! Love your blog, will keep checking on ideas for my baby grandson!

    1. Just checked out your blog, and I LOVE the sewing you are doing for your grandson. What great ideas! Just added you to my favorites. Thanks for reading.

  3. Don't forget thrift stores! Most have a book section and you never know what you might find...

    1. Yes! Thrift stores are hidden gems for finding children's books. Love that idea.


I would love to hear your thoughts.

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