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AO Book Resources

AmblesideOnline's Book Resources

We tried not to use any books for this curriculum that are unavailable. With a very few exceptions, the books are either still in print or are online. When an out-of-print is recommended, an alternative is always posted.

For tips on loading etexts and ebooks to your electronic device (Kindle, Nook, etc.), see this page.

Free Online Etexts

Most of the books are available free online. On the booklists for each year, if a book is linked, clicking on the title will bring you to the free online etext. You can print it out or read it from the computer monitor screen or eReader device. Some moms print out a chapter at a time to prevent their fast readers from reading ahead.

The Online Book Page should be your first stop when looking for etexts. They list by author and title and list new books all the time.
The Baldwin Books Project - one of our favorite etext sites. Lisa Ripperton posts vintage books specifically for AO, and sometimes makes published copies available. You can see a list of all the AO books they have available here
Children's Nursey An online library of classic 19th century illustrated children's books, including Lang's fairy books, Beatrix Potter, Peter Pan, The Water Babies...

124 Sites for Free Children's Books Online

List compiled by AO member Kris C. in MA:
Bibilomania has more than 2000 Classic Texts
Classic Readers
The Digital Christian Library
Kids' Corner featuring Beatrix Potter stories with illustrations and in other languages
Page by Page Books
The Literature Network
A Celebration of Women Writers, includes texts from H.E. Marshall and Mrs. Gatty
World-Wide School
Almost 70 G. A. Henty books online to read or download in html format
An Old-Fashioned Education lists free etexts by subject
Henri Fabre's books (Life of the Spider, Mason Bees, Caterpillars, etc) with photos of the bugs!

Also, Google has a book search. This way, when looking for a specific book, you can get hits for online full texts only rather than all the booksellers and other references to the title. Here, too.

Please note that it is not our intention for parents to feel pressured to pay inflated prices for an out-of-print book. No book is so instrumental to providing a CM education that you need pay a lot of money for it. If a book is so hard to find that copies are going for a king's ransom, there is always a book that can be substituted. Valerie's Living Books has an article that addresses this. We suggest you read it before you stress about cowing to price-gouging to get your hands on a book because you saw it on our booklist. :-)

Free Audio Books

A recent trend in online etexts is free audiobooks. More sites and books are appearing all the time. For starters, these sites seem to be actively building their collections:
LibriVox ~ New on Librivox: Recordings of Books on the AmblesideOnline List: Years 1-4 and Years 5-8
Project Gutenberg Audio Library
One of AO's favorite readers, Kara Shallenberg, a.k.a Kayray:
Audio Books with Annie

Where to Find Hard Copies ("real books")

Most books can be found in public libraries.

Most of the books can also be purchased. The book to purchase is always the unabridged complete edition (beware of Landoll classics that say "complete and unabridged" on the front cover, but are not unabridged or complete). Books still in print can be ordered from any large bookseller such as:

Paperback Book Swap is a database for trading books (not just paperbacks). You post which books you want to get rid of, and which books you want. You send off the books that people tell you they want, and you receive the books on your list in the mail. All you pay is shipping to mail the books out. This is quickly becoming the most popular option for AO users. It's only for those in the USA, but BookMooch is a similar program that's available worldwide. sells used books at bargain prices sells used books at discounted prices, as well as new books
Barnes and Noble
CBD Christian Book Distributors

NEW! You can help support the cost of AO's website and domains when you visit from our link and by clicking on the "purchase" links or "Kindle" links from our booklists. We have tried to link to unabridged editions published by reputable book sellers for each book.

** Caveat Emptor: Buyers should be aware of the unresolved accusations against Kessinger for unethical publishing practices, including false claim to copyright ownership of texts which are legally in the public domain. See online discussion here.

** Books published by VDM Publishing (General Books LLC, Alphascript, Betascript, Fastbooks, MoreBooks!, Books LLC, LLC Books) may not be proofread for typos and errors, and may not not have Table of Contents. As well, type-set may be tiny. Wikipedia: "Proofreading is not performed to keep costs low. . . VDM's business practices have been criticized for profiting from the sale of unacclaimed works and for insufficiently disclosing that content is available for free elsewhere."

** Books published by Landoll Classics may not be complete and unabridged, even if the cover states that the book is "Complete and Unabridged."

If a book is not widely available at the common bookstores (such as Hillyer's Child's History of the World, Parables of Nature), and is only available from specific booksellers, a link is provided from the booklist for ordering information.

Out of print books can sometimes be found at the various online used book websites:

Abe Books
Alibris Books
Bibliofind or here
FetchBook - strictly books; can result in a faster search
Ebay sells all kinds of used things for sale, including books.
All Bookstores
Sites submitted by Webmasters that the Advisory hasn't tested: - Compare Book Prices

There are also email lists for buying and selling CM-type books:

These buy/sell groups don't usually list hard-to-find books, but they may still be helpful for those just starting their book collections.

Go to book sales. Call schools and libraries and ask when they have them, or get notified of sales by going here and joining.

If a book is out of print and is listed as part of the curriculum, you can usually find the etext free online. The link for finding the etext is provided with the booklist. Purchasing out of print books is optional.

Buying New Books

Yesterday's Classics offers affordable, high quality paperback reprints of some of the free etexts posted at The Baldwin Project.

You can view the Yesterday's Classics book catalog by subject, author, or title. In the catalog entries you will see a description of each book, its color cover, and a link called "Look inside . . ." that takes you to a pdf preview of the first 1/5 of the book, including the complete table of contents, the front matter, and the first few chapters. From this you can see the size of type and the quality of the illustrations that are included. Depending upon your screen resolution, the printed pictures may appear better than they do on your screen. There is no shipping charge to US addresses for orders of 3 or more books.

These AmblesideOnline books are among those available for purchase:
Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare
The Burgess Animal Book for Children
The Burgess Bird Book for Children
The Discovery of New Worlds
The Fairy-Land of Science
Fifty Famous Stories Retold
Great Inventors and Their Inventions
A Little Brother to the Bear
Madam How and Lady Why
Our Island Story
Parables of Nature
Secrets of the Woods
The Story of the Greeks
The Story of the Romans
This Country of Ours
Viking Tales
School of the Woods
Tales from Shakespeare
The Life of the Spider
"I am glad to take requests for other titles too. Just send me an email at with "Book Suggestion" as the subject."

Lifetime Books and Gifts - "Our mission is to educate, empower and motivate families to disciple their children through the enrichment of quality books that fill the spirit and soul for the glory of God."

Parables of Nature may be purchased from Crooked Pines. I think this is a comb-bound edition; current price says $25 plus shipping.

A Child's History of the World by Virgil Hillyer

Information and prices were current for 2001, and are subject to change. AmblesideOnline has no control over prices and availabliy for these booksellers and makes this information available only as a convenience to members.

The Sonlight edition is a reprint of a 1919 or 1923 edition that is in the public domain. It does not contain any history after that date (WWI?) Paperback $14.95. Do a search for hillyers.

$35 leather-bound updated version (has additional chapters that are scheduled for Year 3):

Farm Country General Store for orders only: 1-800-551-FARM
FAX orders: 1-309-367-2844 All other calls: 1-309-367-2844
Farm Country General Store, 412 North Fork Road
Metamora, IL 61548

Lifetime Books and Gifts also sells A Child's History of the World.

Veritas Press sells the hardcover version (probably Calverts, they are selling other Calvert stuff now). 800-922-5082 address: 1250 BelleMeade Drive, Lancaster, PA 1760. The book is $35.00, Item #105-010, page 16 of the catalog. With shipping, total is $38.50.