About 10 years ago, I fell in love with audiobooks. I felt torn because I had adult books I wanted to read and prize winning children’s books that also deserved my attention. Audiobooks became part of the solution! I began looking forward to my time in the car.
Audiobooks can be enjoyed by the whole family. Consider taking them along on your next road trip. For this post, I have selected audiobooks that families can enjoy listening to together.
On the Reading Rockets Website, Denise Johnson lists these benefits of listening to audiobooks.
- Introduce students to books above their reading level
- Model good interpretive reading
- Teach critical listening
- Highlight the humor in books
- Introduce new genres that students might not otherwise consider
- Introduce new vocabulary or difficult proper names or locales
- Sidestep unfamiliar dialects or accents, Old English, and old-fashioned literary styles
- Provide a read-aloud model
- Provide a bridge to important topics of discussion for parents and children who can listen together while commuting to sporting events, music lessons, or on vacations
- Recapture “the essence and the delights of hearing stories beautifully told by extraordinarily talented storytellers” (Baskin & Harris, 1995, p. 376)http://www.readingrockets.org/article/benefits-audiobooks-all-readers
The Harry Potter books are among other things, hilarious, but never more so when they are narrated by Jim Dale who creates over 200 voices and special effects for all the wizards, muggles, goblins and house elfs that pass through Hogwarts. The Harry Potter volumes are among the top selling audiobooks of all time. Children who have already read these books will notice things they missed.
Country music singer and actor, Lyle Lovett, brings Kathi Appelt’s adventure tale, The True Blue Scouts of Sugarman Swamp to life. Two raccoon scouts, Bingo and J’miah are trained to wake the Sugarman, a Yeti like creature, in the event of trouble. And trouble is coming! Jaeger Stitch, world-class alligator wrestler, plans to turn the peaceful swamp into to the world’s tackiest theme park. To make matters worse, a gang of feral hogs are headed toward the swamp. Lovett has the perfect southern drawl. This story will appeal to a wide range of ages.
I raved over Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan’s Echo in an earlier post. (https://librarianlou.wordpress.com/2016/03/15/for-music-and-history-lovers-2/) This recording helps complete the book. The harmonica pieces are printed in each section, but its not the same as hearing the music which will be more familiar to parents than their children.
In the section set in Nazi Germany, the heavy but clear German accents are vital in creating the characters of evil Nazi leaders as well as the kind voices of Frederich’s father and uncle. Dialogue that looks confusing in print will be clearer in the audio version. Echo won the 2016 Newbery Honor Award and the audiobook won one of two 2016 Odyssey Awards for outstanding productions in children’s recordings.
Don’t let the costs of audiobooks discourage you. Many are available at the public library. Services like Audible are also making these books more accessible.