Google Books

Common Sense Media says

Make online libraries, review books, and read the classics.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence
Not applicable
Sex

A search for "sex" on Google Books brings up many links, such as "Cosmo's Guide to Red-Hot Sex," "Ultimate Sex Positions," and many more titles inappropriate for kids. Sometimes even Snippets contain inappropriate language.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

You don't need a Gmail account to browse books, but it's required if you want to add things to your library. Bookshelves and reviews can be made public or private, but the default setting is public. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Google Books is a book-finding search engine with many bonus functions and a great selection of free, public-domain content. Kids can read some of their favorite classics online, like Wind in the Willows and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, among others. They can fill their libraries with favorite books and organize them into categories; they also can write personal reviews or reminders about each book. Reviews and libraries can be made public or private. Google Books is a great resource, but make sure your kids are using it wisely -- it has no content filters. Just as in the regular library, kids can find all kinds of books here, including very inappropriate ones. They can come across explicit excerpts almost without trying. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • reading comprehension
  • writing

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • collecting data
  • decision-making
  • investigation

Creativity

  • combining knowledge

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Kids will enjoy looking for online versions of their favorite books -- they can create organized lists of the books they've read and want to read. Design is simple, and readability depends on the quality of a book's scan.

Learning Approach

Kids will learn research skills as they search the site for books they like. When it comes time to review, they'll use their critical-thinking skills. They'll make lots of decisions while adding books to their library.

Support

With the power of Google behind it, Google Books has a lot of support for users as well as links to Google Play. Audio capabilities would increase accessibility; hopefully that feature is on the way.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading
  • reading comprehension
  • writing

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • collecting data
  • decision-making
  • investigation

Creativity

  • combining knowledge

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Kids can learn organizational skills as they choose categories for their libraries and add books to each list. They'll also compare their opinions about books with other readers' by looking through the site's reviews. Google Books can help kids understand that there are many ways to read: they can read online, use an ereader, listen to an audiobook, or even do it the old-fashioned way -- get a book.

This Learning Rating review was written by Polly Conway

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What's it about?

GOOGLE BOOKS works like the classic search engine, except it only searches books. Enter a title, keyword, or author name into the search box, and the site will give you a series of links, called Snippets, which are short summaries of each title. If the book is out of copyright or the publisher has given permission, you can view the book (Limited Preview), and in some cases you can see the entire text (Full View). If it's in the public domain, you're free to download a PDF. If you find a book you like, click the \"Buy this book\" or \"Borrow this book\" links to see where you can buy or borrow the print book. You can also buy the ebook from the Google Play Store.

Who's compiling this giant online repository? Google's Library Project is working with libraries and publishers to obtain links to all books, even those that are out of print, while still respecting copyright. You also can search some magazine content using the Google Books search tool, and you can save and store favorite books on your My Library page. Within your library, you can write reviews for books and organize them into lists.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This is a rich resource. So many classic books are in the public domain, and Google Books is a fun way to access them all in one place (although the regular library has its merits, too). Kids can read Anne of Green Gables and look at the original 1908 illustrations or look at Homer's Odyssey, all for free. Privacy can be tricky; make sure your kids' libraries are marked private or else anyone can see them. Although it's easy to purchase books through Google Play, Google Books is best used as a resource for free content and as a way to collect and share favorite books with friends.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about reading books online compared to reading printed books. What are the main differences? Which do your kids prefer?

  • Encourage your kids to add their favorite books to a Google Books library -- they'll be proud of the growing list and excited to keep adding titles.

Website details

Genre:Educational
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Google Books was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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