Gemma-Rose’s 83 ebooks arrived from Heritage History. A single CD dropped into our mailbox on Tuesday afternoon.  I immediately slipped the CD into my computer which I’d already connected to an ereader, via a USB cable. A few clicks of the mouse…and there was a new library of books waiting for Gemma-Rose to read. I separated out the Twins books and The Little Cousin books into folders of their own so Gemma-Rose could find them easily. Then my youngest daughter thanked me with a smile and headed off to the sofa to begin reading. I think she was excited as I was.
Many years ago when I was a child, my sisters and I enjoyed The Bobbsey Twin Books. We had a whole shelf of them. Being the eldest sister sometimes has its advantages: I inherited our childhood  Bobbsey Twin book collection and now their tan hardback covers fill a couple of our bookshelves. My girls have read them all and have really enjoyed the adventures of the two sets of twins.
Although we have many Bobbsey Twins books, we don’t have the full series. At least not in paper versions. If we put our ebook versions together with my childhood friends, we might have close to every book ever written. Yes, the Bobbsey Twins are available as ebooks.
The Bobbsey Twins books were written by Laura Lee Hope. In our search for new books, we discovered that there is no such person as Laura Lee Hope. This name is a pseudonym for a group of authors who wrote various books in the series.
The Moving Picture Girl series and The Outdoor Girls series were also written by Laura Lee Hope.
We found many of Laura Lee Hope's books on the ManyBooks site and downloaded most of them.

Then I discovered the website, An Old-Fashioned Education. The owner of this site has published links to many free ‘in the public domain’ books. She has organised the books according to subject. We had great fun searching through her list of Fiction for Girls series: more books to download!
There is also a Fiction for Boys section, but with no younger boys in our family, we didn’t follow any of these links.
I have a few very old and beautiful copies of some of G.A. Henty’s historical fiction books. The books are nearly 100 years old. And although the books are a delight to hold, the ebook versions tell the same stories. All G.A. Henty’s books are available as free downloads. Because these books deal with history and Henty was a Protestant, I have steered away from any that I think may have an anti-Catholic point of view. An Old Fashioned Education also has an Historical Fiction section of book links.

There are so many other authors whose fiction books are available as free ebooks: Beatrix Potter, H. Rider Haggard, (author of King Solomon’s Mines), Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens... That's just a start. If you search the ManyBooks catalogue I am sure you'll find lots of other interesting free books.
Here's another list of children's series from The Gutenberg Project and links for the free ebook versions.
Here's a suggestion for a mother's reading: Robert Hugh Benson for such exciting Catholic novels as Come Rack! Come Rope!
And would you like some Free Catholic ebooks?

I have shared just a few of the available links for free ebooks. If you know of other good sources of free books please let us know.
All this talk of ebooks! I am remembering all the books I have downloaded and not yet enjoyed. I think it is time for a cup of coffee and a little bit of ereading...
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  1. Fantastic!!! and catholic books! emailing this list to my dd:)

  2. It's amazing how many books those little ereaders hold! I'm really enjoying my ereader - it's like having an instant library.

    I'm thinking of getting an Ipad for the children, now, as I've just discovered all the educational apps and the coloured children's books that are available for Ipad. You have to have a special printer to print but there may be a way around that by uploading to Google documents and then printing from the laptop - I'll have to find out.

    Can't wait to find out your book recommendations:)

  3. I hope your daughter finds something she likes from the links, Erin.

    There are some great free classic Catholic ebooks available - writings of the saints, books about the saints, novels, books about the Mass, the Bible... I have a separate SD card just for Catholic books.

    God bless!

  4. I haven't done much research on the iPad, Vicky. What are the advantages of one over an ereader? I am guessing colour is one though there are colour ereaders (but I think they are backlit like a computer). Are iPads backlit? Will it be like reading a computer screen?

    Will you buy each of your children an iPad or have one to share? Will you get ereaders as well?

    Sorry, lots of questions! Such an interesting topic. One last question: are there cheaper brands that imitate an iPad?

  5. I don't think there are any real advantages of the Ipad over the ereader - I think they are just different. I'd like to get ereaders for each of the children, eventually, but I want to get the Ipad now, while I've got the money (there not cheap, unfortunately!).

    I'll use the Ipad for the educational apps (science, geography, interactive maths, history, etc), internet research, blogging, ereading, videos (it connects to the TV), etc. We'll be able to take it out with the Broadband, too.

    I've used Carrie's Ipad and the ereader is good. It has a touch screen and lots of features. I looked at a coloured history book on it and it was nice to read. I've also found out that the printer can be bought for $69 - bargain!

  6. Sue, This post is so timely. we are in the market for an e reader. We will probably go with an andriod one, rather than an ipad. the links to the book collections -WOW !!

  7. Oooh, what a fun post! I used to think that perhaps my vocation (or avocation really) was to read all the old books that had been forgotten. Now I love knowing so many others are enjoying these treasures, and the e-readers make it so easy.

    Thanks for all the free book sites, Sue!

    And in answer to your question: Is there a cheaper version of iPad?
    My son Joseph is working at a Barnes and Noble store selling their e-reader, the nook. I got one 18 months ago, Joseph got one for his 21st birthday in May, and we bought Tony (husband to me, father to Joseph and Dom) one for Father's Day...(all before he worked there). We love them!

    There are now 3 main types of nook available. The original e-reader is the one Jos and I have. In place of the kindle keyboard it has a touchscreen, but just in that same area, the bottom section of the gadget. The main reading screen, with e-ink (non backlit) is not a touch screen.

    Tony got a "simple touch" which is simply all touchscreen, and lighter weight than ours. It also uses e-ink and is simply an e-reader.

    The final one they are selling, the color nook, is an iPad competitor. It can handle various apps for games and such, has a wifi browser, is all touchscreen, and will let you read books like an ereader but NOT with e-ink. I think iPad and this color nook have a specially low lit feature for the e-reading, and I think eye strain would be less than reading on a computer, but not as perfect (no eye strain ever) as e-ink. But it is all in color, which is handy for reading magazines too, or children's books.

    Nonetheless, I think most of the free books available are pre-copyright treasures (like the Bobbsey Twins!) and you wouldn't need color for them anyhow...

    But Joseph has been selling quite a few of the nook color, because they are a great cheaper iPad competitor - I suppose you'd need to know which features and abilities you were looking for on the iPad and make sure the nook color had them. But this color nook costs at least 1/2 the price of the iPad...a big savings!

    Thanks again for the links :)
    much love,

  8. Thank you for stopping by, Leanne. Let me know when you get your ereader. There are so many books available, lots I'm sure Brid would enjoy!

  9. Hi Suzie!

    All those old books are being rediscovered which is wonderful. You are not alone in your mission to keep these books alive! The girls and I were musing over this: When such people as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens were writing their books (by hand) they never could have imagined that one day their stories would be instantly transmitted around the world and read electronically. What is the future for your books, Suzie? How will people in a hundred years be reading them?

    Thank you so much for sharing all that valuable info about the Nook: 1/2 the price of an iPad! Well worth investigating. I wonder if this would suit Vicky. At the moment we aren't worried about colour. Yes, we are enjoying all those old classics which are in B&W anyway. But in the future...

    Our family is just leaving the picture book stage but I wonder if anyone has investigated e-picture books. Would a larger screen be needed to appreciate them properly? And colour, of course.

    I hope you find something to enjoy via the links. God bless!


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