I love my stories, and my kids do too. We listen to audio books whilst I chauffeur my kids from activity to activity. Some books work better than others. I have several requirements for audio books, however. I won’t listen to just anything; after all, most books are at least 4 CDs long, or four and a half hours. That’s a lot of time to invest.
My requirements are:
The story needs to interest me. I love my kids, but I’m not going to listen to an entire book that puts me to sleep. I want to hear the story too. besides, it’s my responsibility to listen to it. Opportunities for education and conversation occur frequently. Mom, what does that word mean? Mom, I didn’t understand that. Mom, is that true?
The story needs to interest the kids. While I might enjoy listening to (well, I prefer reading, but you can’t read in the car) a Jim Butcher or Janet Evanovich story, my kid’s won’t. I want them engaged in the story as well.
The story needs some redeeming quality. I like to think my kids will learn something from the story. a successful audio story generates at least a few questions or Mom, can we listen to the story in the house?
Without further ado, here are some books that I have found engaged all of us: my son (5-7 years old when listening to these stories), my daughter (7-9 years old when listening to these), and myself.
Excellent books to listen to in the car with your kids
The Chronicles of Narnia: Kids love these books. if you have a son, show him a toy of Caspian’s sword or Susan’s bow and arrow, and he’ll probably get excited. if your kid likes animals, tell them these are stories with talking animals in them. if you have a girl that likes dress up, explain that there are princes and princesses aplenty. I had my kids listen to each story before they watched the respective movie. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is coming out at the end of 2010, so you better get to it. I’m looking forward to hearing my kids tell me if the monopods they envisioned in their heads match the monopods that end up on the big screen. The books in this series are, in the order of the Narnian world, The Magician’s Nephew, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, The Horse and his Boy, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, and The last Battle.
The Evolution of CalpurniaTate: this is a wonderful book about a young girl living at the turn of the century-the 19th to the 20th centuries to be precise. Calpurnia Tate isn’t interested in embroidery, piano, or knitting, but she loves learning and spending time with her grandpa. Her grandpa, a naturalist, is considered eccentric, but the community puts up with him because he made money when younger and handed over his company to his son. Calpurnia and her grandfather spend six months in the book learning about nature and each other. Opportunities to talk about botany, zoology, and history show up several times in each chapter.
Madeline L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time series: The most common questions my kids had with Madeline L’Engle’s stories were, is that real, mommy? and how does that work, mommy? Meg, her younger brother Charles Wallace, and Calvin battle evil in many forms. They fight evil with love and understanding. In a Wrinkle in Time, they travel across the universe to rescue Meg’s father, who was caught by the evil it. in A Wind in the Door, Meg and Calvin, save Charles Wallace’s life by entering one of his mitochondria. in a Swiftly Tilting Planet, Charles Wallace, with Meg’s help, travels through time with a unicorn trying to make subtle changes to prevent a nuclear war. Meg and her twin brothers (not Charles Wallace or her boyfriend Calvin) travel in time in Many Waters. And finally, in An Acceptable Time, the next generation enters the battle.
Witch Week: On the surface, this book is about witches. Set in an alternate universe, one of the kids in the house is a witch. who is it? The kids try to find out and start accusing each other. To me, this book seemed to mimic the Jane Elliott’s experiment with blue eyes and brown eyes. Either way the kids loved it, as did I, and we found ourselves looking up a lot of stuff on the computer to see if that was really real. Did that happen in history?