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A Librarian’s List of Awesome Audiobooks for All Ages

In this time of “Safe at Home”, I’m finding it harder and harder to find moments alone to recharge while I social distance with my family. The struggle is real. Those precious solitary minutes in the car commuting to work vanished. One of the things I am grateful for? The magic of audiobooks. I pop in the earbuds and listen as I knit a row of that baby blanket I’m working on. Plus, I send my daughter upstairs to craft and listen to her current audiobook. Or, I turn one on while we are all working on a puzzle. I already enjoyed audiobooks but now they are truly a lifeline.

While I most often recommend books you read with your eyes, these are my audiobook recommendations for kids of all ages.

Audiobooks for Preschoolers

Winnie the Pooh

A full cast including Judi Dench, Stephen Fry, and Geoffrey Palmer make this classic unbelievable. This has been a nightly request in our house for years and holds a special place in my heart. The perfect audiobook for preschoolers.

A Bear Called Paddington  (series)

Paddington and his sweetly innocent ways are always a hit! Some in the series are narrated by the talented Stephen Fry and others by Hugh Bonneville (yes, that Hugh Bonneville from Downton!). A can’t miss audiobook for preschoolers.

Don’t Let the Pigeon (series) 

Read by the legendary Mo Willems himself! Your littles will be fully engaged with this audio with shouts and raucous laughter. Full entertainment guaranteed. PSA: this might not be the best for quiet time…

Ada Twist, Scientist. (series) 

I love Andrea Beaty’s books about curious, tenacious and precocious kids including Rosie Revere, Engineer. Iggy Peck, Architect. This is one of my favorites in book format as well as audio. Narrated by Bahni Turpin.

Audiobooks for Early Elementary Age

Magic Treehouse  (series) 

Brother and sister, Jack and Annie, discover a magical treehouse in their backyard that will transport them in space and time to solve mysteries and adventures.  Kids love the adventure and learning about times gone-by or lands faraway. Read by the author herself!. 

Ramona (series) 

Ramona is always up to SOMETHING and never afraid of ANYTHING.  Read by the dazzling Stockard Channing, these timeless tales of Ramona Cleary and her family will keep your kids enthralled for hours. Relive your own childhood through spunky Ramona or just enjoy the quiet while your kids are preoccupied.

Boxcar Children Mysteries (series) 

The Aldens have taken off solving mysteries in this endless series. The team of industrious siblings head off to find lost treasure, rescue stolen recipes, and retrieve lost fortune!  Gently suspenseful, your kids will love the family dynamics and resourcefulness of the Alden siblings. Read by various authors.

Roald Dahl’s Treasury (any) 

Roald Dahl has captured imaginations for generations. Everyone has their favorite (mine are Matilda and Giraffe, Pelly and Me). Your kids will find their own. This collection is narrated by the author himself who adds humor and suspense in perfect balance. 

Audiobooks for Tweens

Inkheart 

Spellbinding is the only word. Meggie lives with her dad, a poor bookbinder with a secret talent.  He can read books into life. No,really. Characters come out of the books and into Meggie’s world. A dragonfly here, and a magical sprite there, isn’t too bad.  When an evil despot from another world comes to their door, however, the adventure becomes REAL. The legendary Lynne Redgrave herself reads these characters vividly into your world.

Ghost 

One for four books in a collection with Sunny, Patina, and Lu about talented athlete with wildly different home lives all striving to win on an elite track team. Jason Reynolds is a masterful poet and novelist.  Don’t miss any of his books.  Narrated by Guy Lockhard

I Survived… 

Would you survive one of  history’s greatest tragedies? From the sinking of the titanic to Hurricane Katrina, this series depicts realistic scenarios of survival for the young hero or heroine. This popular historical fiction series is read by various authors. 

Blackthorn Key

Terrific for those older fans of Harry Potter, this fast paced mystical adventure to keep you  entertained! A young apothecary’s apprentice must decipher codes, solve puzzles and evade a secret brotherhood as he attempts to solve the mystery of his mentor’s murder, his last secret and ultimately the world. Read by Ray Panthaki. 

Middle & High School (Young Adult Audiobooks)

The Hate U Give 

Bahni Turpin’s narration of this bestseller is not to be missed. Even if you’ve already read the book or seen the movie, please try this audio.  This heartbreaking novel tells the story of Starr as she witnesses her best friends murdered by police and how her life unfolds from that point forward.  Bouncing between home life in the projects and her school life at an elite (largely white) prep school, Starr tries to reconcile the racial assumptions and systemic injustice she is experiencing. 

Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage 

The first in Philip Pullman’s companion series to the Golden Compass, this steampunk story details the harrowing adventures of young Malcolm, an innkeeper’s son, who stumbles upon a clandestine conversation about something magical called dust and an equally secret baby at the priory! IMHO, this book is better than the original series and I’m working my through Book 2 now.  Michael Sheen is a gifted narrator.

Children of Blood and Bone 

Magic world fans this one is for you!  Bahni Turpin (have you figured out I LOVE this narrator?!) brings to life Zélie, a teen who vaguely remembers a time when magic was in harmony with the world. She also remembers when her maji mother was murdered by the savagely ruthless king and all magic forced to disappeared- until now. Zélie must figure out how to control her own emerging powers and save the kingdom.  Interwoven with west African mythology, this is truly a treasure for fantasy fans.

Eleanor & Park 

This is the tender story of two unlikely friends- you guessed it- Eleanor and Park. They share one thing in common- music. Set in 1986 and told through alternating perspectives, follow these two soulmates as they navigate through High School angst, family insecurity and ultimate first love. I dare you not to tear up… Bonus: the author includes a great playlist! Narrated by Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra.

These are just a sampling of my faves and are all downloadable through your library or audible.com.  Share some of your favorites and ask for more recommendations in the comments below.

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