Looking for that perfect gift for a kid who loves to read? This one will definitely win you some brownie points.
The Kindle Paperwhite Kids Edition is a simple e-reader made with kids in mind. It’s durable and water resistant, with a glare-free screen that makes it easy to read anytime, anywhere. With Amazon Kids+, it comes preloaded with a full library of age-appropriate books too.
Kindle Paperwhite Kids specs
E-readers have come so far since I owned an original Nook back in the early-aughts, with a super-delicate display that was prone to die dramatically if you so much as brushed a finger against it. (Granted, I still thought it was the coolest thing in the universe.)
The Kindle Paperwhite Kids retails for $169.99 and offers a 6.8-inch, glare-free display. That means unlike any old tablet you may be tempted to use as an e-reader, this one can be used in bright lights. The brightness is also adjustable, so it can be used at nighttime too.
I was impressed with the glare-free display. It really looks like a paper book laying open in front of you, and I had zero problems reading with it in bright sunlight or darkness.
The device is also waterproof, so an accidental drop in the pool is survivable — making it an even more solid choice for kids.
The Kindle Paperwhite Kids is waterproof, adding some points in the durability column.
Now, what makes this the Kids Edition? First, it comes with your choice of two whimsical cases that will appeal to kids of all ages: Robot Dreams or Trees. Your child of darkness and/or avid sticker collector could also choose a plain black case if they wanted.
Your purchase also comes with one free year of Amazon Kids+ (which is otherwise $2.99/month for both Prime members and non-members), which unlocks access to 1,000s of kid-friendly books. If you have other Amazon devices, it also offers kid-friendly apps, games, and videos.
Finally, you’ll also get Amazon’s 2-year worry-free guarantee — so if the device breaks within two years of purchase, you’ll be able to get a free replacement.
The most important thing you need to know before you purchase a Kindle Paperwhite Kids Edition is that it is NOT a tablet. It’s an e-reader, and an e-reader alone. That means no games, no video, no browser, and the screen is fully black-and-white.
With an Amazon Kids+ membership, it offers access to a full library of kid-friendly books, along with a feature called Vocabulary Builder.
With Vocabulary Builder, your child can look up definitions for unfamiliar words as they read. Each time they look up a word, that word will automatically be added as a flashcard within the Vocabulary Builder tool. Then they can use the flashcards to get more comfortable with these words.
Your kid can also earn fun achievements on the Paperwhite Kids, like “On a Roll” for reading 100 pages, or “It’s Over 9000!” for reading 10,000 pages.
Without an Amazon Kids+ subscription, you will need to be a little more vigilant about providing content for your child to read.
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For older children or teens you may be interested in a Kindle Unlimited subscription, which costs $9.99 per month for Prime members and non-members alike. This subscription offers access to thousands of books for no extra fee. However, you can purchase books for Kindle without a subscription as well.
And to keep anyone except you from being able to purchase books, you can set up a child profile just for the Kindle. This will allow you to assign books purchased through Kindle directly to the child’s profile. It also keeps them out of your books, and prevents them from purchasing books on their device.
Personally, I think the Kindle Paperwhite Kids Edition is a solid choice for kids who are avid readers. The only minor annoyance I’ve encountered is that you can’t lock the screen in portrait mode. Some books (especially the picture books geared towards younger children) are only available in landscape.
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My kindergartener is just starting to read, so since it does books and books alone, the Kindle Paperwhite Kids Edition isn’t something that he’s able to use independently right now.
However, he loves looking at picture books on his Fire tablet, and the tablet also offers more age-appropriate content (that’s still educational) like games and videos. All in full color, too.
For younger kids who aren’t independently reading yet, I honestly think the Fire tablet would be a better purchase. The Fire HD 8 Kids is a good option — with the same free year of Amazon Kids+ and a kid-friendly case for $139.99 — $20 cheaper than the Paperwhite Kids.
Although if you’re a household of travelers, the Kindle offers a convenient and lightweight way to travel with LOTS of bedtime stories.
And for kids who are a bit older (and especially if they are voracious readers) the Kindle Paperwhite Kids is a great gift — offering a full library of age-appropriate books in one sleek, durable, travel-friendly, and lightweight device.
Best of all, it’s a piece of kids’ tech that even the most anti-screen relatives at your next family get-together won’t be able to grumble about. Because, as Amazon proudly states on the sales page for the device, “It’s reading time, not screen time.”