My kids love to listen to books. They love it when I read aloud (which is still a major part of our bedtime routine, even though they are now nearly seven and nine). They also love recorded books from Audible. Even though books from Audible are pricey, we have a membership and helps keep the price down. But even if it wasn’t possible to get them at a reasonsable price, I would still think they were a bargain. We’ve listened to many wonderful books while driving in the car. And since we live “out in the boondocks” as I like to say, we spend a lot of time in the car.
The books my kids love are ones they will listen to over and over and over again. Since we’ve gotten such joy from recorded books, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite titles with you. If you can’t afford a aubscription from Audible, check out your local library. They will have a selection you can borrow.
Written by Sarah Pennypacker
Narrated by Jessica Almasy
This series–about a percoious red headed 3rd grader–is a hit with both my own percoious red-head and with her younger brother. And with me as well! The characters are warm and delightful, the conflict and themes are both age appropriate and heart-felt. The fantastic narration highlights the books’ humor as well as their more emotional moments.
Written by Eoin Colfer
Narrated by Nathaniel Parker
An action/adventure series about a boy criminal-mastermind–the titular Artemis Fowl–who gets more than he bargained for when he decides to capture and hold for ransom one of the fairy folk. Fast-paced, smart and an all-around hoot-n-half, the plot and characters of Artemis Fowl will entertain and delight even the most curmudgeonly listener. Frankly, I don’t know why no ones making movies of these! (Or writing books for adults this good, for that matter.)
Written by Roald Dahl
Narrated by Kate Winslet
I think anything writtne by Dahl sells itself. (And–holy guacamole!–narrated by Kate Winslet? How did I not notice that before now? Probably because the story is so engaging.) But if you need more proof, we’ve listened to this one approximately nineteen times. And I may be low-balling that number. The kids simply love it. ‘Nough said.
The Water Horse
Written by Dick King-Smith
Narrated by Nathanial Parker
This is one those rare books that is slow-paced, charming and engaging. It will interest readers, without ever overwhelming them. My kids sometimes get to wrapped up in stories, but this one keeps them listening without every being too scary or overstimulating. It’s just a delightful, lovely tale.
When You Reach Me
Written by Rebecca Stead
Narrated by Cynthia Holloway
Just a friggin’ fantastic book. It’s for a slightly older audience than the others (though mostly in plot complexity, not content). The year I first listened to it, I decided it was the book I’d read that year. It’s mysterious and atmospheric and complex and thought-provoking. I dare you not to love this book. I dare you. In fact, if you listen to it and *don’t* love it, I’ll refund your fifteen bucks. Oh, and it’s a Newberry award winner. Those people know what they’re talking about.
By Louis Sachar
Narrated by Kerry Beyer
Thematically probably more complex than a lot of the others, this book deals with faith, friendship, race relations, and smelly shoes. It’s brilliant. Funny. Tragic. Romantic. Everything you could possibly want. And it’s another Newberry winner. I told you they know what they’re doing over there.
In case you’re wondering, we’ve listened to every one of these books at least three times. We’ve listened to The Water Horse so often I once lied to my kids and told them it had vanished off my iPhone just so I could take a break.
So, yeah, recorded books seem expensive. But if I can get four or five listenings out of it, it’s worth it. That’s roughly $2.50 for four or more hours of entertainment for the whole family.
Do you like recorded books? If you haven’t tried them, try one of the titles on my list. You won’t be disappointed.
Emily McKay lives and writing in the Texas Hill Country with her kids, hubby, and her chickens.