Storybooks online – free videos of children’s and YA books

Storybooks online

Storybooks online – an introduction

Online video storybooks – here’s a selection of authors reading from their picture books, poems, chapter books and novels, viewable on the YouTube and Vimeo platforms. We’ve tailored this selection to fit with the authors and books on our year group reading lists and our topic book and non-fiction book lists.

A great way to finish the school day, storybook short films of authors reading videos can inspire children to read the complete book, or more books by that author, or to explore a new genre or topic. They will also give children ideas for books to look for in the library and in bookshops.

These videos are all hosted on YouTube and Vimeo, and shared on those platforms by the book publishers or authors, so you will need to visit those sites if you want to play the videos, bookmark them or add them to a playlist.

  • There are many instances that online storytime videos might be useful. For example:
  • Videos can be useful to kickstart book-tasting sessions and encourage reading for pleasure, especially for class teachers who are not literacy experts.
  • Library orientations – YouTube author read-aloud can be a super way to generate buzz about the school library.
  • Storytime videos can be an engaging alternative to reading time or reading periods, particularly for supply teachers or combined classes.
  • YouTube read-alouds and book trailers are an effective way to promote new books in your classroom library.
  • A menu of video book trailers is a stimulating way to give children ideas for what to buy at upcoming book fairs.
  • Online storytime sessions are ideal literacy-related time fillers!
  • Video book readings are perfect to help children choose future titles for school book clubs.
  • A curated bank of filmed chapter readings by children’s and YA authors will be a valuable resource for home-learning and remote teaching.


3-5 year olds 5-7 year olds 7-9 year olds 9-12 year olds Teens and Young Adults Children’s Publishers YA and Teen publishers Poetry Publishers Children’s and YA authors Buy the books in this list

Please note that while our website doesn’t use cookies, be aware that external sites such as YouTube and Vimeo might use cookies.

Online storybooks for 3-5-year-olds

Look Up! by Nathan Bryon

This vibrant picture book was featured in our best books for summer 2019.


Octopants by Suzy Senior

With lots of rhyming and plenty of pants, this will definitely appeal to preschool children.

Super Duper You by Sophy Henn

An inspirational and thought-provoking picture book that’s featured in our All About Me topic book list.

The Giant Jumperee by Julia Donaldson

A catchy and memorable read aloud by the best-selling children’s author Julia Donaldson.

When a Dragon Comes to Stay by Caryl Hart

A beautifully illustrated picture book story with diverse characters.

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

This classic and unforgettable picture book features in our year 1 books list.

Stick Man read by Axel Scheffler

A must-have book for infants, read by world-renowned illustrator and writer Axel Scheffler.

Online storybooks for 5-7-year-olds

Beegu by Alexis Deacon

A modern classic that’s great to discuss in PSHCE. Featured on our science fiction and STEM topic book list.

Shark in the Park by Nick Sharratt

With snappy rhyming lines, this is a wonderful story to read aloud. As featured in our books for reception list.

The Last Wolf by Mini Grey

This clever reimagining of Little Red Riding Hood is a powerful and memorable book to read again and again.

The Tide by Clare Helen Welsh

A wonderful book that celebrates family bonds.

Elmer by David McKee

A classic picture book that’s perfect to inspire classroom artwork. Featured in our books for reception list.

The Bumblebear by Nadia Shireen

A determined bear decides to wear a disguise to fool the bees and reach the honey. But will his disguise be rumbled?

Online storybooks for 7-9-year-olds

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Full of twists and turns and funny characters, this modern classic is recommended on our year 4 books list.

You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum by Andy Stanton

Featuring delightfully nasty characters, this book is a surefire hit and featured on our year 3 books list.

The Great Chocoplot by Chris Callaghan

Packed with funny characters, this middle-grade story is featured in our food-related topic books list.

Sam Wu is NOT Afraid of the Dark! by Katie & Kevin Tsang

A fast-paced short chapter book that’s featured in our recommended book series to encourage reading for pleasure.

The Boy Who Grew Dragons by Andy Shepherd

A charming and heartwarming story that’s ideal to read aloud with junior classes. Read our review of book 4 in the series.

Gangsta Granny by David Walliams

A favourite in junior classroom libraries, this is a great story to encourage children to read for pleasure.

Online storybooks for 9-12-year-olds

Another Twist in the Tale by Catherine Bruton

A superbly constructed middle grade novel. Read our in-depth review.

No Ballet Shoes in Syria by Catherine Bruton

A great text to read with upper junior classes. Featured in our best books of summer 2019.

Darwin’s Dragons by Lindsay Galvin

A compelling read that will appeal to children interested in science and nature. Read our review of Darwin’s Dragons.

Space Oddity by Christopher Edge

A gripping middle-grade novel that is featured on our science fiction topic book list.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

A memorable and original fantasy crime novel that will grip upper junior pupils. Featured in our year 5 books list.

A Pocketful of Stars by Aisha Bushby

An atmospheric read set in Kuwait and London. Our August 2019 fiction book of the month.

Orphans of the Tide by Struan Murray

A cracking adventure with relatable characters. Our fiction book of the month for February 2020.

We Believe in Football by Paul Cookson

A powerful football poem by one of the country’s most-read children’s poets.

Online storybooks for teens and young adults

Candy Gourlay introduces Bone Talk

Nominated for the Carnegie Medal 2019, this is an excellent novel to discuss in KS3 book clubs.

The Girl of Ink & Stars by Kiran Milwood Hargrave

This atmospheric and mysterious novel with rich descriptive language is featured in our year 6 books list.

Robin Hood: Hacking, Heists & Flaming Arrows by Robert Muchamore

A rollicking good read that will appeal to less confident readers in KS3 who enjoy fast-paced action. Read our review of book 2 in the series.

Sita Brahmachari discusses When Shadows Fall

Sita Brahmachari discusses When Shadows Fall, a powerful story that will appeal to students in KS4. Read our review.

Boys Don’t Cry by Malorie Blackman

A book trailer for Boys Don’t Cry by Malorie Blackman, a fabulous novel by one of the most featured authors on this website.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

A beautifully written middle-grade novel which will help pupils to discuss and develop empathy. Featured in our diverse books collection.

WINK by Rob Harrell

A book trailer for WINK by Rob Harrell. This uplifting read was featured in our recommended young adult novels for summer 2020.

Liccle Bit by Alex Wheatle

A book reading from the compelling Liccle Bit by Alex Wheatle, a novel featured in our year 8 books list.

A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars by Yaba Badoe

A gripping extract from A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars by Yaba Badoe, whose novel Lionheart Girl is featured in our books for year 9 list.

Buy books from this list

Click the button below to buy individual books featured in this storytime online list, or class sets of any of these books, from UK.

Buy from Bookshop Org UK

Children’s publishers with YouTube channels

Young adult & teen publishers with YouTube channels

Poetry publishers with YouTube channels

Children’s and teen authors with YouTube channels

The School Reading List also has a YouTube channel, a Vimeo channel and a TikTok account.

If you liked this list of online stories, you might also enjoy our collection of magazine subscriptions for children and teens, our collection of online courses and training for teachers, our recommended children’s literature blogs to follow and our picks of the best free and low-cost children’s and YA ebooks.

About Tom Tolkien

Photo of author
Tom Tolkien is a highly qualified (BA Hons, PGCE, QTS) children's literature expert and teacher with over 25 years of experience. He has led inset courses, developed curriculum materials, spoken at conferences, advised on longlisting for several international children's literature literature awards and written for educational publishers including contributing to a BETT award-nominated app. Social profiles: Twitter | Linkedin

This resource was last updated on September 2nd, 2023 and first published in 2022.