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Kids LOVE Audiobooks

Updated on October 26, 2015

What sounds do kids make when they listen to an audiobook? All is quiet and peaceful.

Audiobooks are mesmerizing, thrilling, tear-jerking, thought provoking, thoroughly entertaining.

Listen in the car or with earphones. Rainy day playtime becomes calm and happy with an audiobook playing in the background. Sibling rivalries fade away as the story consumes the room.

Appreciate books on a new level by listening, just like enjoying a live play or a concert.

These are some of our family favorites.

Photo courtesy of www.lowvilleacademy.org

Short stories on CDs are great for those daily car trips or play times. - My favorites come with music in the background.

We drove my kids to different schools across town, so we spent considerable time in the car. I chose to listen to these CDs primarily for the cranky twins in the back seat. My sixth grade son was old enough to appreciate the fact that they weren't fighting, so he didn't complain. Later in the year, my son had a writing assignment to write his own fable. His teacher was amazed at his colorful tale. My son said he got his ideas from all of the fables we had been listening to in the car on the way to and from school. And here I had been using the short stories to calm my younger girls...

Improving Literacy

"The simple act of listening to a story has a powerful impact on a child's literacy skills. If you have a child who is struggling to understand what he is reading, using audiobooks in conjunction with their daily reading practice could actually improve their ability to remember what the story is about, and help them internalize the meaning."

-Audiobooks Help to Improve your Child's Literacy (LINK below.)

Beverly Cleary Courtesy of the Falk School
Beverly Cleary Courtesy of the Falk School

Written Words Come Alive!

Sometimes authors read their own stories. Other stories are read by famous actors.

Eric Idle was an English actor in the movie, "Monty Python". He read "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." with amazing flair. And his accent...wow!

Denzel Washington narrated the short story "Anansi" in the Rabbit Ears series, complemented by beautiful African music and drums.

Shel Silverstein read and SANG his poetry from "Runny Babbit." It is tempting to dance a jig while listening.

E.B White read his own book, "Charlotte's Web", every character coming to life with his voice.

Beverly Cleary also read her own Ramona novels. She gave a lovely talk about her writing process at the end of the stories. (Her picture is courtesy of the Falk School.)

Mary Pope Osbourne reads all of her "Magic Tree House" audiobooks, giving Annie and Jack their own special personalities.

These books just come alive like a play performed on a stage. I hope you enjoy these audiobooks as much as my family does.

Family Vacation Exhaustion - The "Magic Treehouse" audiobook saves the day.

www.magictreehouse.com
www.magictreehouse.com

Recently I went on a "family" vacation with my 6 year-old twins to visit Grandma and Grandpa. We had just started reading the series, "The Magic Tree House" out loud to them at the beginning of summer vacation. We were also reading the series "in order" so we could solve the mysteries. It was quite a project to find the next book at the library. We didn't want to purchase all fifty! We were were overjoyed to find that the library had them to check out both in paperback and on the Kindle.

My girls were hungry for more "Magic Tree House"- crying "Read, read, read!" This is a great feeling, of course, having your children BEG to hear a book. But alas, on a family vacation, parental units tend to become exhausted. Grandma, bless her heart, pre-ordered the audiobooks of the "Magic Tree House" 36-40 at her library. We popped those CDs in, gave the girls some crayons and coloring books, and immediately crashed for an afternoon nap. Again, at bedtime, when the kids were bouncing and adult patience was running low, in went the CD. The lights were dimmed, and the little bodies were horizontal on the beds, mesmerized by the words.

So why buy audio CDs when they are at the library? Well, the books are not always at the library. Grandma had to order them from another library branch and hope they would arrive soon. Also, the most popular audiobooks often have scratches. Unfortunately, we couldn't listen to the end of "Magic Tree House" #39 because the disk kept skipping. (Wow, the girls were mad.) We got the hard copy the next day, and all was good in the world again. Phew.

We buy the classic audiobooks that we absolutely adore. I have compiled a list of the All-Time great audiobooks, which we have listened to again and again. These have appealed to my son and daughters- and to any adults in the vicinity.

photo: www.magictreehouse.com

We LOVE Roald Dahl. Charlie Bucket got us to the airport. - Roald Dahl inspired Grandpa to write a book!

Grandpa was driving us back to the airport at 5am (dark o'clock) after a wonderful 2 week vacation. The kids were cranky and sleepy, but not sleeping. We had two airplane flights to get home. I really didn't want the kids to sleep in the car this early in the day. I was hoping for in-flight napping.

So I brought out my favorite audio CD, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" by Roald Dahl. While we watched the sun rise out of the car windows, we were transported to the land of Charlie Bucket. Even my son, the ever critical "tweener" was silent. At one point, Grandpa whispered under his breath, "This is really good writing." We arrived at the airport just as Charlie found the Golden Ticket.

Now Grandpa is the type of guy who enjoys a quiet breakfast while listening to NPR. Amazingly, after dropping us at the airport, Grandpa drove back to a his quiet house and listened to the whole "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" audiobook AGAIN from the beginning. They both thought they had read the book to us as children, but couldn't remember the story at all.

Grandpa happens to be a published writer himself. He was so inspired by "Charlie" that he wrote his first chapter book for children in the following week. Wow, audiobooks can be powerful. I'll let you know when Grandpa's book is published. (wink.)

James and the Giant Peach
James and the Giant Peach

I can't stop thinking about certain relatives in my family when listening to this book. I think this audiobook is better than the movie.

 
The BFG
The BFG

Even though the book is about a "Big Friendly Giant", my more sensitive daughter doesn't like listening to it. My other kids love it.

 
Charlie and The Chocolate Factory CD (Unabridged)
Charlie and The Chocolate Factory CD (Unabridged)

My all time favorite. Love this.

Remember Eric Idle from Monte Python? He is the Best narrator for this story. Nails it.

 

Narrative Stories about Composers

I love all of these amazing musical stories.

"Beethoven Lives Upstairs" is one of my all time favorites. The story is told from the point of view of Beethoven's young nephew. It is both heartwarming and heart wrenching. Your kids will remember Beethoven forever as a person, not just a composer.

"Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery" and "Bach Comes to Call" are also stories about the composers' lives.

Beethoven Lives Upstairs
Beethoven Lives Upstairs

My all time favorite audiobook. Ever. I will never tire of it. Moves me every time. LOVE this.

 

Audiobook Poll

conversations.nokia.com
conversations.nokia.com

Have you ever listened to an audiobook?

See results

Young Children Love the Classics

"They (Audiobooks) are also a wonderful way to introduce young children to literature that is too difficult for them to read, like many of the Classics. Waiting until a child is old enough to read some of the Classics can be a mistake. Children have to learn to appreciate well-written literature while they are young, before their minds get used to the easy "candy" on the bookshelf.-Audiobooks Help to Improve your Child's Literacy (LINK Above.)

Children's Classics for Younger Kids

Children's Classics are great to own on CD because you can listen again and again and not get bored. Even though they are called "children's classics", adults love listening too. These audiobooks can bring family together while coloring, doing a puzzle, or building with blocks.

Charlotte's Web
Charlotte's Web

This book may be one of the best audiobooks of all time just because E.B. White does such an amazing job of personalizing each character.

 
The Mouse and the Motorcycle CD (Ralph Mouse)
The Mouse and the Motorcycle CD (Ralph Mouse)

Most people know Beverly Cleary for her "Ramona" stories, but this series is just as imaginative and endearing. Boys will be mesmerized.

 
Three Tales of My Father's Dragon
Three Tales of My Father's Dragon

This is a classic which is not as well known as other books. This book makes a great first read aloud for children as young as 4. The cute pictures and animal characters appeal to boys and girls.

 

Children's Classics for Older Kids

Better than the movies? Yep, I think so, but have your kids compare. Even if they already saw the movie, they will be interested in comparing details to the book. Was anything left out of the plot in the movie? Were the characters different in the book? Or if they haven't seen the movie, make listening to the audiobook a prerequisite. The movie could be a celebration.

Finally if your child is doing a book report for homework, listening to the audiobook could help get them interested, or reinforce the reading they did by themselves.

The Chronicles of Narnia Complete 7 Volume CD Box Set (Unabridged)
The Chronicles of Narnia Complete 7 Volume CD Box Set (Unabridged)

I put this in the "older" kids reading, although I suppose some younger children could deal with the themes of loss. There is a bit of violence too.

 
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1)

These books are amazing. Kids can listen to them many times and not get bored. I think the first book is the best.

 

'Tweeners

These audiobooks are great for kids who are struggling to free themselves from videogames. if you start them on the audiobook for Book 1, chances are they will pick up and read the rest of the series in hard copy. All of these books are considered "cool".

I consider all of these books just as entertaining as adult literature. Sometimes I think these young adult novels have better plots, only because the authors are forced to leave out the sex, violence and gore which are so prevalent in adult best selling novels.

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1)
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1)

Shucks, kids might even be learning a tiny bit of Greek mythology in this series.

 
The Hunger Games (Book 1)
The Hunger Games (Book 1)

Quick, read the whole series before the other movies are released! I actually think this book rivals Harry Potter.

 
Hatchet
Hatchet

This is a survival/adventure story which reads like a thriller. Gary Paulsen doesn't have a sequel, but his other books are just as good. This whole genre is great for boys "who don't like girl books".

 

When do you like to listen to audiobooks?

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    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      I love audobooks too. I just added a link to this lens on mine. Hope that is okay with you!

    • profile image

      DaniRren 3 years ago

      I agree with you that audio books are great with kids and can be used anywhere including the car. This is a great way of teaching the kids since they are not confined to a certain place and can get on with other activities as well. educationalplay.info

    • Michelllle profile image
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      Michelllle 3 years ago

      @CrazyHomemaker: I agree! ; ) Thanks for reading.

    • Michelllle profile image
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      Michelllle 4 years ago

      @qikey1 lm: oh, we do get many audiobooks from the library. We only buy the favorites that we listen to again and again. Thanks so much for reading.

    • Michelllle profile image
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      Michelllle 4 years ago

      @Dressage Husband: When I first listened to "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" I kept thinking, how do I know this voice? So funny hearing Eric Idle in such a different role. Thanks so much for reading.

    • Michelllle profile image
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      Michelllle 4 years ago

      @NatureFan LM: I love the Magic Tree House books too. Now we are reading A-Z mysteries, another great series.

    • Michelllle profile image
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      Michelllle 4 years ago

      @anonymous: I agree! ; ) Thanks for reading!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Children should be introduced to real books,right from the start.

      After they become functionally literate,then they can explore

      other avenues.

      Let them fall in love with those little retangular objects that

      have been around for centuries. A developing mind needs

      to be exercised. Read to them,then let them read to you

      when they're able.

    • Elizabeth Braun profile image

      Elizabeth Braun 4 years ago from Sheffiled, UK

      We used to listen to a lot of them in the car on long journeys - and we have no kids! Sadly, most of ours are on tape, rather than CD, so we can't do it so much these days.

    • NatureFan LM profile image

      NatureFan LM 4 years ago

      Great resources! This was a very fun read. I believe my daughter has read every one of these. BTW - I LOVE the Magic Tree House books! Not only are they educational and entertaining... there's also A LOT of them (keep 'em busy). :D

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Actually I very rarely listen to them even though I am an avid reader. Congratulations on getting LotD!

    • CrazyHomemaker profile image

      CrazyHomemaker 4 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD and Purple Star! Very nice lens. I LOVE audiobooks. I listen to them on my way to work. I can usually finish one long one or two 6-8 disk audiobooks. This has to be one of the best inventions yet, in my opinion. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • profile image

      jennabeezer 4 years ago

      Although I listened to audio books in school (while I did my math homework) to try and save time, I haven't really gotten to enjoy them as an adult. I think my daughter would love several of these. Maybe next vacation. :)

    • eilval profile image

      Eileen 4 years ago from Western Cape , South Africa

      Great ideas and selections - love the ones you suggested . Congrats on lotd !

    • Blessed Liez profile image

      Kareen Liez 4 years ago from Philippines

      Woot! Lens of the day! No wonder because this is a great lens. I haven't thought of giving audio books to my daughter but I guess I'd consider it now.

    • Michelllle profile image
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      Michelllle 4 years ago

      Thank you!

    • Michelllle profile image
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      Michelllle 4 years ago

      Thanks so much!

    • Diaper Bag Blog profile image

      Stanley Green 4 years ago from Czech Republic

      Generally whenever possible! But best time is evening, when I have no other jobs and tasks to do...

    • profile image

      ChocolateLily 4 years ago

      Just came back to tell you Congrats on your Lens of the Day!!!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 4 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! I never have listened to an audiobook...interesting subject.

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 4 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      I have not listened to one in quite a while now, as I tend to prefer to read myself. That said I am amazed at the ability of someone like Eric Idle to really bring a story alive and like you I think using them to entertain kids on a long journey is an excellent idea.

      Well done on an excellent LOTD the books obviously even inspired you to write! LOL

    • KateFeredayEshete profile image

      Kate Fereday Eshete 4 years ago from Ethiopia

      I live in Ethiopia and always listen to audiobooks on wet-season evenings when there's no electricity and the rain is pouring down and it's dark and cold. I retire to bed early and plug myself in. I have quite a good collection of old audiobooks. A few are on CD but most are on cassette tape - yes, I still use an old Sony Walkman! Most recently, I've been listening to Elizabeth George's A Great Deliverance. It's been very interesting reading your recommendations and you've reminded me that I must get my children listening to audiobooks. Thanks for a great lens and congratulations on being picked for Lens of the Day!

    • qikey1 lm profile image

      qikey1 lm 4 years ago

      I HAVE to have an audiobook going in the car or my kids argue!! I was considering doing a lens on this topic as well as I am such a HUGE fan! We also have the stories about composers which is a wonderful series! :) Our Library has a great selection of audio books so this is another resource your readers might consider. Great idea for a lens ;)! Thanks for the suggestions!

    • profile image

      ChocolateLily 4 years ago

      @Michelllle: Thanks! Me too. I'm planning on adding a list of audiobooks I've enjoyed to my lens when I get around to it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      We listen in the car on the way to school and on road trips.

    • Michelllle profile image
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      Michelllle 4 years ago

      @ChocolateLily: I'll link yours too! I agree audiobooks should be free. We only own the ones that we listen to again and again. Love to check out audiobooks from the library. I wish more people knew about audiobooks for adults and children.

    • profile image

      ChocolateLily 4 years ago

      I like to listen to them while I'm working on something that doesn't occupy my mind, like crochet, sewing, or cleaning. I love this lens! I'm going to link it up to my audiobooks lens because you've got some great info and ideas. (I also agree with you about the YA novels!)

    • Michelllle profile image
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      Michelllle 4 years ago

      @tfsherman lm: Thank you so much! Audiobooks have become a part of our life. We try to keep screen time to a minimum, but I still need to do laundry/chores and have my younger kids be semi-independent. They play with building toys or crafts while listening. I enjoy them too. A life-saver.

    • tfsherman lm profile image

      tfsherman lm 4 years ago

      What a great list! I buy the audiobooks for my library but I don't actually listen to them much, so I'm going to come to you for an advisory. Also, I'll be adding a link from my site.

    • profile image

      KyraB 4 years ago

      I love to listen to audiobooks and do it quite often when I like to listen to them most though is well doing the dishes after dinner when their is a big load :) I do it through a website mostly where you can listen to books for free that are in the public domain if your interested its called "librivox".

    • Michelllle profile image
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      Michelllle 4 years ago

      @BorednBroke: Really depends on the kids- great question. I'm working with high readers in Lit Clubs. Grade 4 is reading Hatchet. They are the hard core action adventure types. Grades 5/6 Lit Club is reading Watership Down and loving it. Interestingly, Richard Adams told his young children (early elementary) this story before he wrote it down. Thanks for reading my lens!

    • Michelllle profile image
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      Michelllle 4 years ago

      @webmavern: My Mom listens to Audiobooks while she quilts. I like them while doing laundry and chores.

    • profile image

      webmavern 4 years ago

      I used to listen to audiobooks with my kids when they were little but haven't listened to one since. I have just started knitting after a long break and was just thinking I could listen to an audio book while I knit. Also I have a one year old granddaughter and an audiobook would be a great gift idea for her when she's a little older. Thanks for giving me some great ideas!

    • BorednBroke profile image

      BorednBroke 4 years ago

      Nice lens! What grade/age level would you suggest Hatchet or Watership Down is appropriate for?