call of the wildFor centuries, people have snuggling up to a good book at bedtime. Some people have complained that electronic materials just don't have the same "warm fuzzy" feeling as a book. On the other hand, don't knock it until you've tried it.

Many classic books for young people are available online including Hugh Lofting's The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle, Voltaire's Candide, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Jack London's Call of the Wild, Anna Sewell's Black Beauty, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Thoreau's Civil Disobedience, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

Go to one of the following sites and browse the possibilities of great books online. Try searching for a popular classic author or work: Internet Archive, Bartleby, Online Books Page, and Project Gutenberg. Or, check out the Top 100.

eye means readRead the following materials resources related to electronic books for children and young adults:

eye means readRead the following materials on this page related to fiction materials for children: Audio Books, Electronic Books in the Real World, Fiction on CD & DVD, Web Books and Selection.


Audio Books

playawayAudio books are a popular electronic technology for young people. In the past, many libraries have provided books-on-tape and books-on-CD. A growing trend is toward books-on-MP3. These can be downloaded to portable MP3 players such as the iPod.

However self-contained MP3 players are growing in popularity with libraries. The Playaway provides a book on a small portable MP3 player with earbuds. It requires a triple A battery. A number of children's books are available such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlotte's Web, Inkheart, Three Cups of Tea, and Watsons Go to Birmington. Books are also available for young adults.


Electronic Books in the Real World

Electronic books are great to read in the car because they are "back lit" and don't distract the drive like an overhead light. Laptops are literally a bed warmer with their soft purr and warm bottom.

Interactive Book BoxSome parents purchase "lap-ware" to read to their children at night. These are interactive books designed for a parent to read as a child sits on their lap. Berenstain Bears Clean Up from Sound Source Interactive is an example of an interactive book that reads the story aloud to children.

Although many interactive books are sold on CD-ROM, an increasing number of materials are available for handheld devices, as smartphone Apps, and specialty "smart toys" such as LeapPad Books.

Although some parents and teachers aren't easily persuaded of the value of electronic books, recent research is demonstrating their value in teaching and learning.

eye means readRead Are Electronic Books Effective in Teaching Young Children Reading and Comprehension by Jamillah Grant in the International Journal of Instructional Media (2004, Vol. 31, Issue 3, p303, 6p) (PDF document). (IUPUI password required).

For those who love traditional books, don't despair. E-ink will soon revolutionize traditional books. E-ink allows books to be reused over and over. Readers receive a "blank" book containing special paper. They simple "scan" the book and the pages are automatically printed. Rather than wood paper, the pages are made of tiny electronic material.

Whether reading on an e-ink reader, smartphone, or tablet, it's important to remember it's the content that's important. E-books are a great way to motivate young readers. For instance, Viz media produces manga for children and young adults. When you combine this popular format with the e-reading experiences, you may be able to motivate reluctant readers. Below is a manga book on an iPad.


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Fiction on CD & DVD

Everyone loves a good book. Many print materials have been converted to the "ebook" format. In some cases, sound, animation, and information resources have been added to the original text and graphics.


Many interactive books for children available on CD-ROM. From Mercer Mayer to Dr. Seuss, you can find many popular authors and characters. After reading the page aloud, the computer lets the child explore the animation on the page.

Fictional materials include linear, “read-aloud” books, interactive books, and novels. Some of these resources provide “hypertext”. In other words, users can click on words to link to additional definitions, pronunciation guidance, pictures, or other information.

Green Eggs and Ham BoxLiving Books, DK Interactive Learning, Scholastic and Trivola are only a few of the many interactive book series for young children. Living Books's New Kid on the Block, Stellaluna and Green Eggs and Ham (shown on the left) are all examples of books that have been converted to the CD format. Some books can even be personalized. You can also find folk and fairy tales. Edmark's Stories and More contains lots of activities to go with their short stories.


Young Adults

Fictional materials aren’t just for children. Many classic and popular books for teens and adults are available as ebooks. Using a special device such as a Kindle or software on your computer such as Adobe eBook Reader, you can download and read novels. The Dinosaur Field Guide and Stephen King's Riding the Bullet are two examples.

There are an increasing number of fictional works that provide a nonlinear fictional world for students to explore rather than using a “page-turning” book metaphor. More of these unique exploration environments will be designed as computers become more sophisticated and virtual reality elements become more integrated into computer software.

Comic Book LibraryAn increasing number of young adults are reading graphic novels and comics in an electronic format.

eye means readRead Sequential Art, Graphic Novels and Comics Workshop by Annette Lamb for more ideas and lots of examples.

Go to the Marvel Comics website. Skim a classic comic. This site provides some of their most popular comics online at their website. They also have a few materials available on CD-ROM.

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Web Books

An increasing number of web-based books for young people have emerged. Some of these websites are sponsored by well-known organizations, while others are start-ups focusing on the new online reading market. For instance, The Diary of a Wimpy Kid began as an online reading experience before becoming a physical book, then a movie.

eye means readGo to the FunBrain Reading website. Skim Diary of a WImpy Kid, Callahan Cousins, or Camp Conidential. For younger students, try a FableVision story such as Tess's Tree.


Some websites provide a mixture of subscription and pay reading experiences. For instance, the Sesame Street ebook website rotates books providing a few for free online reading each week. Elmo 'N Daddy shown below is an example. Notice the tools across the top of the page.

Elmo and Daddy

If you don't have much experience with web-books, consider a trial of one of the subscriptions such as Tumblebooks or Scholastic's BookFlix.

You can also read classics online at websites such as the Project Gutenberg or Children's Books Online.

If you have a handheld device or web on your phone, consider resources designed specifically for the small screen such as Lexcycle.

A growing number of websites let your read and create your own online books. Check out examples at BigUniverse and TikaTok.

Learn more at Electronic Books and Online Reading from Teacher Tap.


When selecting interactive books for children and young adults, carefully explore the features of the program. Also, consider how it will be used. For example, a growing number of teachers are using e-books with their interactive whiteboard such as a SmartBoard. In other cases, you might be thinking about students using the e-book independently.

CliffordLook for the learning aspects of the interactive book. Many ebooks for children including activities and thinking games. Some include multiple reading levels and help to increase independent use. The example on the left is one of many Clifford books from Scholastic called Thinking Adventures.

Go to Scholastic and read a Clifford Interactive Storybook.

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