The Children's Corner of the Virtual Library
By Judith Maginnis Kuster
This column features online books for children. All of the sites below are worth an in-depth exploration. Discovering what is online makes me envious of parents with young children and speech-language pathologists working with children today! A good book in the hands of a good clinician can produce great treatment sessions!
Text and picture books
- The Rosetta Project (www.childrensbooksonline.org) is a collection of nearly 2000 antique children's books from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The pages of the books are jpegs and many are translated into different languages. Sound files are planned in the future.
- The University of Maryland's International Children's Digital Library (www.icdlbooks.org/) states their goal is "to select, collect, digitize, and organize children's materials in their original languages and to create appropriate technologies for access and use by children 3-13 years old." The book pages are jpegs
- The Digital Book Index (www.digitalbookindex.com/) provides links to more than 88,000 titles. Nearly 50,000 are available free. Exploring the listing of over 1200 children's books, there are links to online versions of many classic Golden Books (www.antiquebooks.net) such as "Baby's Mother Goose," "The Five Little Firemen," "The Taxi That Hurried," "Little Red Riding Hood," "How to Tell Time," "The Animals of Mister Jones," and "Words."
- Project Gutenberg (www.gutenberg.net/index.shtml), begun in 1971 by Michael Hart, is the first and largest single collection of free electronic books. It features "Light Literature" including children's favorites such as "Alice in Wonderland," "Peter Pan," and "Aesop's Fables."
- Several of Aesop's Fables (www.umass.edu/aesop) are illustrated and retold by art students from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The students have created both traditional and modern versions of these stories with a lesson.
- Over 650 Aesop's Fables are on this site, as are all 127 of Hans Christian Anderson's Fairy Tales (www.AesopFables.com).
- Webbing Into Literacy was designed especially for rural Head Start teachers (http://curry.edschool.virginia.edu/go/wil/home.html). There are illustrated nursery rhymes and a variety of Alphabet Books (http://curry.edschool.virginia.edu/go/wil/home.html#Alphabet), The site also provides a listing of 101 inexpensive books with suggestions for use as well as materials and lesson plans to accompany each
- Reading A to Z (http://readinga-z.com) is a subscription site, but also has 30 free downloadable sample books (www.readinga-z.com/newfiles/tour/tour7.html).
- Bedtime Stories (www.bedtime-story.com/bedtime-story/indexmain.htm).includes a beautiful edition of Alice in Wonderland (http://www.bedtime-story.com/bedtime-story/classics-aliceinwonderland.htm) with illustrations from many different versions.
Stories That Are Read
- Nine children's stories from the Internet Public Library (www.ipl.org/div/kidspace/storyhour) includes, an online and a downloadable animated version of The Fisherman and His Wife (www.ipl.org.ar/youth/StoryHour/Fisherman/fish.html)
- Billy Bears Story Books contains animated PC downloadable storybooks (www.billybear4kids.com/story/books.htm), but there are also online options that are cross platform, including Tiny Titles: Write a Little Book (www.billybear4kids.com/TinyTitles/TinyBooks.html).
- Children's Storybooks Online (www.magickeys.com/books/index.html) is filled with illustrated children's stories including award winning storybooks online (www.magickeys.com/books/links.html). Some of the stories are animated and include coloring books to print out.
- Animated ABC book (www.pacificnet.net/~cmoore/alphabet/index.htm) by Rolando Merino.
- Room 108 has several animated stories with sound effects (www.netrover.com/~kingskid/108b.html)
- Starfall Interactive books are designed for beginning reading activities here (www.starfall.com/n/level-a/index/play.htm?f) and here (www.starfall.com/n/level-b/index/load.htm?f)
- Clifford the Big Red Dog provides three animated stories
Additional sites to explore
- Kids' Corner provides access to several of Beatrix Potter's classics (www.tcom.ohiou.edu/books/kids.htm) including "Squirrel Nutkin" and "Peter Rabbit," and other familiar stories in Real Audio, including "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll, "The Frog Prince" and "Tom Thumb" by The Brothers Grimm, Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," and "Just So Stories" by Rudyard Kipling
- Book Pop Virtual Library (www.bookpop.com/bookpop.html) has coloring books and music, but the real treasures here are books and stories written and narrated by children's author, Stephen Cosgrove. Four are currently illustrated.
- The Kennedy Center and RealNetworks put Children's Books Online, including the author reading "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" (www.kennedy-center.org/multimedia/storytimeonline/)
- Mary Cavanaugh's Childrenstory.com uses Real Audio to have stories read to you.(www.childrenstory.com/)
- Storyville (www.alfy.com/Storyville) has several animated, interactive story books.
- Li'l Fingers story books is for young children (www.lil-fingers.com/storybooks/index.html)
Judith Kuster is in the department of speech, hearing, and rehabilitation services at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. All of Kusters Internet columns are on the ASHA Web site in HTML format with active links http://professional.asha.org/news/news.cfm, although URLs change and there is no guarantee that links from previous articles are still functional.
Kuster, JM, The Children's Corner of the Virtual Library, ASHA Leader, May 11, 2004, p. 15ff