International Children's Digital Library

Our Mission

The ICDL Foundation promotes tolerance and respect for diverse cultures by providing access to the best of children's literature from around the world.

Read books
Book list
Books by language
Books by color
Books by shape
Books by format
Books by genre (different kinds)
Books by character
Books by true vs. make believe

Library News and Notes

June 2, 2021

Dear Readers,

Great news! I was able to rebuild a simple version of the in-browser book reader which has enabled me to add back all of the ICDL books. The interface is not what it used to be, and we no longer have translations of books (only the original language the book was published in) - but we have all ~4,000 books back. The site is fast and reliable and should be able to stay around for some time to come. Happy reading!

- Ben Bederson

May 5, 2021

Dear Readers,

Good news! Thanks to the UMD Computer Science Department, which has agreed to host a static version of ICDL, we have been able to resuscitate the library a bit, and have brought back 1/4 of the books in PDF form (that we have "download" rights for). We had to create a vastly simpler site without many, many of the features - no search, no translations, etc. But about 1,000 of the books are back, and we will work on bringing back more books and at least some aspects of the original site. Please note that we do not have the right to allow you to redistribute these books further, and they are provided to you only for personal use.

Thank you for so many of your heart-warming and gracious emails which encouraged us to find a way to keep the ICDL alive.

- Ben Bederson

April 19, 2021

Dear Readers,

It has been over 20 years since we launched the International Children’s Digital Library. In that time, we have served about 15 million people reading over 1,000,000 hours of children’s books. We launched at a time when the concept of reading books online was a bit odd, and almost unheard of for children’s books. After all these years, as far we know, we are still the largest collection of freely available complete children’s books from around the world. And we did that without ever exposing children to commercial activities or risking their privacy.

But for many years, we have served this mission without any funds. And now all of the founders have moved on to other things in their lives. The servers are very old and dusty and there is no one to maintain them. Our licenses for the books are for use only by the ICDL so while we have considered a number of alternatives, none of them really made sense.

And so now it is time to say goodbye and read with the innumerable other resources in the world. The ICDL has been our labor of love, and we will always remember these books, the volunteers, libraries, publishers, and readers around the world with great fondness.

Keep reading!

- Founders Ben Bederson, Allison Druin, Ann Weeks, Anne Rose and Tim Browne (in memoriam)
Email directors