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5 More Children’s Books in the Public Domain

We are living hard, surreal times. I saw a meme recently with photos of blue overall-type fashion and the text: ‘Oh, good, they’re distributing our District Uniforms.’ It might be exaggerated, but it is a bit the feeling we have. In The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins describes a society that is severely divided, both politically and physically. Still, they were better off than we are, they could still hug their elders. We, on the other hand, are physically divided for the sake of health, which is no small concern. Meanwhile, children don’t quite understand what’s going on. ‘It’s my birthday after the virus is gone?’ my son asks often. ‘I hope so,’ I reply. I can’t complain, though, my kids are coping well, but not everyone is. In hopes that it helps a bit, here are five more children’s books in the public domain that you might not have known.

Find my first post with more books here.

Children’s Books in the Public Domain

I offer this list, even though I had pointed you to sources of free children’s books in my post of two weeks ago, because, when you go to the public domain, you don’t find any description of synopsis. Sometimes, you don’t find synopsis even when you go looking for them. The idea of this post is to provide you with the information about these books, and save you the hassle of the research.

Adrift in New York by Horatio Alger Jr.

Adrift in New York cover. Children's Books in the Public Domain
Adrift in New York Book Cover

Also known as Tom and Florence Braving the World by Horatio Alger, Jr. John Linden is a very wealthy man. The people who should inherit his property are his nephew, Curtis Waring, his niece Florence Linden, and his long lost son – if alive. John thinks it would be best if Florence and Curtis were married, and makes it a requirement if Florence wishes to have any of the property. A boy named Dodger was sent to steal one of the wills of John Linden so that Curtis would inherit all the property. But Florence prevents Dodger from stealing, and they become friends.

Horatio Alger Jr. was a writer of young adult novels, in the US during the second half of the nineteenth century. He wrote stories about young people who lived humble, poor lives, and how they achieved a life of security and stability through determination, courage and hard work. His books are often on the theme of rags to riches, and provide a vault of wisdom that translates into any historical period.

Find it here.

The Coral Island by R.M. Ballantyne

The Coral Island Cover. Children's Books in the Public Domain
I love these antique covers.

I was a boy when I went through the wonderful adventures herein set down.With the memory of my boyish feelings strong upon me, I present my book specially to boys, in the earnest hope that they may derive valuable information, much pleasure, great profit, and unbounded amusement from its pages.
One word more.If there is any boy or man who loves to be melancholy and morose, and who cannot enter with kindly sympathy into the regions of fun, let me seriously advise him to shut my book and put it away.It is not meant for him.

Robert Michael Ballantyne is another nineteenth century author, Scottish this time. His juvenile fiction is characterised by subjects he was well versed in, and where a mistake was made, he would go out of his way to learn about it and correct his error. He was also extremely prolific, writing more than a hundred books. The Coral Island is his most popular, and best remembered work.

Find it here.

The Blue Giant and The Branch Witch are not in the in the Public Domain, but you can get them in hardcopy here and on ebook here.

The Flying Girl by L. Frank Baum as Edith Van Dyne

The Flying Girl Cover.
The Flying Girl cover.

“The most successful aviators in the future…are bound to be women. As a rule they are lighter than men, more supple and active, quick of perception and less liable to lose their heads in emergencies. The operation of an aeroplane is, it seems to me, especially fitted to women.”

The Flying Girl, Chapter 19.

The main character of his story is Orissa Kane, a young woman who supports her family with her office work. She is the main financial and motivational supporter of her brother’s endeavour to build a flying machine. When he breaks his leg, Orissa decides to take his place as the pilot, and, as you can see by the quote, her brother fully supports her.

L. Frank Baum is better known as the American author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its sequels. He wrote this book, and second volume, called The Flying Girl and her Chum. Baum lived in a time where feminism was in its rise, women winning the right to vote only one year after his death, and his mother was a notorious feminist, so it is no wonder that he wrote a story where a woman stepped into what, at the time, would have been a realm only thought of as male.

Find this story here.

The Boy Knight, by A.G. Henty

The Boy Knight Cover.

Also A Tale of the Crusades. It’s the tale of a young man facing many trials in battle during the Crusades. The hero of the story, Cuthbert, is a young Englishman who follows King Richard to the Holy Land. It’s one of the more exciting Henty adventures, and any lover of Robin Hood will certainly enjoy this tale. Cuthbert’s presence of mind and common sense, his loyalty, honesty, valor, and quick wits are all characteristics that make him admirable. People learn by example, and the examples set by Henty’s heroes of honesty, integrity, hard work, courage, diligence, perseverance, personal honor, and strong faith are unsurpassed.

Not that the Crusades should be a particular proud time of our history, but it happened, what can you do?

G.A. Henty was a prolific British novelist and war correspondent. He is known for his historical adventure fiction. also writing in the nineteenth century.

Find this story here.

Five Children and It by E. Nesbit

Five Children and It cover Children's Books in the Public Domain

The story begins when a group of children move from London to Kent. The five children are playing in a gravel pit when they uncover a rather grumpy, ugly, and occasionally malevolent Psammead. He is a sand-fairy with the ability to grant wishes. The Psammead persuades the children to take one wish each day to be shared among them. The caveat is that the wishes will turn to stone at sunset. The five children’s first wish is to be “as beautiful as the day”. The wish ends at sunset and its effects simply vanishes. The Psammead then observes that some wishes are too fanciful to be changed to stone. Most of their wishes turn to have terrible consequences. The consequences en up being so bad that the children must ask for a complex series of wishes to make it all right.

This is the first novel of a series. Find this story here.

The second book was The Phoenix and the Carpet, which you can find here. You can also find the third book, The Story of the Amulet, here.

Edith Nesbit is a British author and poet. Her best known work is The Railway Children. She wrote in the nineteenth and twentieth century.

Finally, and talking about children’s books on the public domain (not), just to remind you that The Blue Giant and The Branch Witch are at a reduced price on Amazon (I’m sorry, I couldn’t make them free on Amazon 🙁 ). They are free on Kindle Unlimited, though.

Stay safe!

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