7 Places to Buy Children’s Books: 1000 Books Before Kindergarten Challenge

With so many engaging children’s books, it can get expensive trying to stock an engaging library. Having books that not only you want to read, but that your children will want to hear is so important! These are our 7 favorite places to buy children’s book to grow your personal library on a budget.

We love to read. I mean we love it. Ry and I were both the kids who snuck flashlights under the blanket to stay up all night reading, him Harry Potter, me Nancy Drew. While we don’t spend as many late night hours reading now, we do still get in as much reading as we can a day. I love to keep our bookshelves fully stocked, and I’m very proud to say that we have passed our love of reading on to Aaliyah. Every day we read at least 2 children’s books to her, and we’ve been growing her little library at a nice pace.

I love to keep track of my own reading on Goodreads, and set my own reading challenges to keep myself on track. Last year, by cutting down on phone time before bed, I was able to read 50 books! When I saw the 1000 books before kindergarten challenge I was so excited to join in! I love that it is a way to motivate us to keep up on our daily reading, but also create a list and a keepsake for her as she gets older.

The rules to the challenge are simple: read 1000 children’s books before your little on starts kindergarten. The website has reading log trackers, and you can check out your local library to see if they participate in the program. For us, I’ve decided to keep track in a journal I keep as a sort of baby book so she can have it forever. Although we have been reading to her since she was born, we are “officially” starting our challenge a little late. Still, counting just the books we have on our shelves and our current library rentals we’ve hit the 200 book milestone! We’re going to try to get the full 1000 without counting our repeat reads!

Where to buy

Buying 1000 children’s books can get pricey. Finding bargains on books is a bit of a treasure hunt! Book shopping (for kids and adults!) can be so much fun, and these are our 7 favorite places to look.

1.thrift store

Whether it’s Goodwill or a local thrift store, it’s a great place to look for books. With prices being $1.99 for hardbacks, $.99 for paperbacks, and $.59 for children’s books, it’s rare that I ever leave our Goodwill without at least a few new titles to read.

Our Goodwill has a huge book selection, which means great choices, I have found some amazing vintage art books there, but they are only organized by price so searching can be a little difficult.

2 used bookstore

We love supporting small business, and love visiting our local bookstore for some great book deals! When visiting a used bookstore it’s important to make sure they have a good children’s book section, as many just focus on novels. We are lucky that ours has an amazing selection, and we can spend an hour sorting through the boxes and shelves.

If you don’t want to hang on to your books after reading them, you can see if your local store will accept them for credit! We can bring in a few books and make a few dollars to put towards our new ones.

If you’re ever in San Diego, La Playa Bookstore in Point Loma is magical. Their selection and prices are great and LOOK at this children’s books section! We spent a few hours here and really enjoyed it!

3 Dollar store

Hidden away next to their school supplies and coloring books, the Dollar Tree has an amazing collection of board books! While not the best for older kids, they are simple and fun books for toddlers and infants. We’ve found great books on counting, the alphabet, shapes, and animals. A lot of the time they are character based, including My Little Pony, Sesame Street, and Disney characters.

I like to buy a few of these and keep them in my purse or car!


I am a little ashamed to admit that before last year I hadn’t been to the library since middle school! I don’t know why, it’s a great resource not only for books, but also activities and social time for kids. Our local library has a great children’s books selection, weekly story time and crafts, and free access to computers with educational apps and games!


Of course you can get tons of books by simply renting them at the library. I like to place holds on books that I want to read so that it is easy for me to pick up when we get there. I then let her wander through the children’s section and pick out whichever books she thinks are interesting.


Being able to rent ebooks was a game changer for my reading. It allowed me to read whenever I wanted without a reading light, or keeping Ry up with the lamp on!Using my library card I downloaded the Libby app, and I now have access to thousands of ebook titles for free.

On top of novels for me, they have a great selection of children’s books as well. Some of their titles will even read out loud and turn the page! This was great when we took our last road trip, after downloading a few books I didn’t have to worry about books taking up space in our luggage.


Check your local library for a Friends of the Library Sale! Ours holds one 4 times a year as a fundraiser for the library. If you want books for super cheap, this is definitely the time to get them. To pay you make a stack of your books, and they charge you 25 cents for every inch!

Our stack from the last sale had almost 30 books, and I only paid $4.25!


Of course you can find endless book titles on Amazon! With lightening deals and 2 day shipping, it makes it easy to find great books.

To make it even easier, here are a few of our favorites for you to check out!

Aaliyah’s Current Faves

Angelina Ballerina

1000 Animals


Lexi’s Forever Faves

The Art Forager


The Sisterhood

The Perfect Mother

Ry’s All-Time Favorites

Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban

Tuesday’s With Morrie

Artemis Fowl

Where are your favorite places to treasure hunt for books?

We’ve already hit the 200 books milestone! I look forward to more reading and shopping together!

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  1. We love books at our house, so this is a good read. I like the 1000 book challenge. We read books in preschool each week at home, and read other books too. We have a stack of library books constantly. We love amazon for new books. We keep books in the car from the dollar store, so it’s no big deal if they get ruined. Thank you for a great blog.

  2. Oh! Are you in San Diego ? I’d like to try that bookstore !

    I wish we had room for books. We have a good collection but I just love to see the look on my sons face when he sees slrmtbjbg new.

  3. I love the idea of the challenge. I have a three year-old daughter and I think this would be great for her. Thanks for sharing your tips.

  4. Joanna says:

    I used to read a lot as a child and my to go place to get books from was the library. I remember that in school we had free passes to go to the local library, where they had so many books.

  5. Christa says:

    I love this challenge! My little one is 3 and loves to read. He usually has a favorite book that he’ll read over and over for days before moving on. I love watching his love of reading grow.

  6. stickymudandbellylaughs says:

    What a fab challenge! We are all bookworms in our house so we are always on the lookout for a good read! 🙂

  7. Your baby is adorable!! How amazing that you are doing this challenge. There is no greater gift than teaching our kids a love for reading

  8. jeannette9712gmailcom says:

    1000 books before kindergarten challenge? What a GREAT idea! Our local store accepts credits for books and swap outs in a small section. I love that stores do this for the book lovers.

  9. Love this list! I am a Kinder teacher and fully support the 1000 books before Kinder. I wish all parents focused on reading as much as you.

  10. lynn armstrong says:

    This is great! I shop at a similar store for used childrens books in my town. It is nice to save a little money and get some classics you might not be able to find. Thanks for your reading list as well!

  11. Elizabeth O says:

    it is really a great idea. Thanks for sharing those tips.

  12. Angie says:

    Love the idea of this challenge! One of my friends gave us as a baby shower present a library with tons of books. We’ve been building on it since then! My daughter loves books!

  13. My son just loves books! I like to get books from thrift stores or dollar stores as well! I’ll have to look into some of the other ones that you mentioned and see what great titles we can find. Thanks for sharing!

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