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20 Exceptional Audiobooks to Kick-start Your Family Listening

Audiobooks and kids make a great match. Intimate and exciting performances from dynamic voices can help bring the stories to life in new ways. We’ve made some great matches for you, pairing up newer titles along with well-loved classics that all share a similar theme or idea.

There are misfit girls, journeys to self-discovery, battles against injustice, and opportunities to learn about cultures and experiences that may be different from our own. There’s sure to be something that will appeal to every young listener in your life—and will be fun for you to listen to right along with them!

Fantastic Worlds
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ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND
by Lewis Carroll, read by Jim Dale
Listening Library

If you like Wonderland, you might like . . .


HATCHED
by Bruce Coville, read by Matthew Frow, Jeremy Gumbs, and a Full Cast

Listening Library, Ages 8+

BAKER’S MAGIC
by Diane Zahler, read by Tavia Gilbert, Michael Crouch, and a Full Cast
Live Oak Media, Ages 8+

THE HIDDEN ORACLE
by Rick Riordan, read by Robbie Daymond
Listening Library, Ages 10+

Other Times & Cultures
When the Sea Turned to Silver

WHEN THE SEA TURNED TO SILVER
by Grace Lin, read by Kim Mai Guest,
Hachette Audio, Ages 8+

If you like learning about cultures from around the world, you might like . . .

ONE HALF FROM THE EAST
by Nadia Hashimi, read by Ariana Delawari

Harper Audio, Ages 8+

THE RED PENCIL
by Andrea Davis Pinkney, Shane W. Evans, read by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Hachette Audio, Ages 8+

A CRACK IN THE SEA
by H.M. Bouwman, read by Bahni Turpin

Listening Library, Ages 8+

The Battle Against Injustice
The Giver

THE GIVER
by Lois Lowry, read by Ron Rifkin,
Listening Library, Ages 12+

If you liked uncovering the world of THE GIVER, you might like . . .

THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins, read by Carolyn McCormick
Scholastic Audiobooks, Ages 12+

THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON

by Kelly Barnhill, read by Christina Moore
Recorded Books, Ages 10+

THE INQUISITOR’S TALE
by Adam Gidwitz, read by Adam Gidwitz, Vikas Adam, Mark Bramhall, Jonathan Cowley , Kimberly Farr, Ann Marie Lee, Bruce Mann, John H. Mayer, Benjamin Bagby, Arthur Morey
Listening Library, Ages 10+

Discovering the Magic Within
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE
by J.K. Rowling, read by Jim Dale
Listening Library, Ages 8+

If you wish you could learn at Hogwarts, you might like one of these . . .

THE GOLDEN COMPASS
by Philip Pullman, read by a Full Cast

Listening Library, Ages 12+

GRAYLING’S SONG
by Karen Cushman, read by Katherine Kellgren
Recorded Books, Ages 10+

HOODOO
by Ronald L. Smith, read by Ron Butler
Dreamscape, Ages 10+
Keep your eye out for our Behind the Mic visit with narrator Ron Butler!

Family & Community
Because of Winn-Dixie

BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE
by Kate DiCamillo, read by Cherry Jones
Listening Library, Ages 8+

If you shared Opal’s family with yours, you might like . . .

THE EVOLUTION OF CALPURNIA TATE
by Jacqueline Kelly, read by Natalie Ross,
Brilliance Audio, Ages 12+

LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET
by Matt de la Peña, read by Lizan Mitchell,
Recorded Books, Ages 4-6

BROWN GIRL DREAMING
by Jacqueline Woodson, read by Jacqueline Woodson,
Listening Library, Ages 10+

What audiobooks have you listened to with your kids that you would recommend for someone who loves Harry Potter? What audiobook have they loved that helped teach them more about valuing family and community? Share your favorites in the comments!

Find more great audiobooks here, Audiobooks for Kids & Teens. AudioFile’s dynamic lists come complete with with age ranges.

Tease: March New Romance Releases

The March previews for romance should have everyone reaching for their headphones. I can personally recommend the Kristen Proby series read by Sebastian York as addictive contemporary. And I *love* the Maya Banks paramilitary KGI series, especially with Tad Branson narrating.

New Romance Audiobooks this month, March 2017:

March 7, 2017

BEDDING THE HIGHLANDER
Sabrina York, read by Euan Morton
Hachette Audio

BLUSH FOR ME
Kristen Proby, read by Sebastian York
Harper Audio

BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN: KGI, Book 11
Maya Banks, read by Tad Branson
Penguin Audio/Books on Tape

EVERY LITTLE THING
Samantha Young, read by Angelica Lee, Tad Branson
Penguin Audio/Books on Tape

 

March 14, 2017

FAIR CHANCE
Josh Lanyon, read by J.F. Harding
Harlequin Audio

 ROOM FOR MORE: Cranberry Inn Series, Book 2
Beth Ehemann, read by Carly Robins, Will Damron
Brilliance Audio

 

March 21, 2017

BOUND TOGETHER: Sea Haven, Book 6
Christine Feehan, read by Lily Bask
Recorded Books

IF NOT FOR YOU
Debbie Macomber, read by Khristine Hvam
Random House Audio/Books on Tape

WAKE A SLEEPING TIGER
Lora Leigh, read by Maya Banks
Penguin Audio/Books on Tape

 

March 28, 2017

FINDING OUR FOREVER
Brenda Novak, read by Veronica Worthington
Harlequin Audio

THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE AND DUKES
Laura Lee Guhrke, read by Carolyn Morris
Harper Audio

Find AudioFile’s latest romance reviews each week at RT BookReviews 

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Solve: The Sean Duffy Series

The Cold Cold GroundSeries are a big part of crime fiction, and devotees wait with baited breath for a new installment to come out each year or so, allowing them to visit with old friends as the series characters encounter new exploits and adventures. For me, one of those series is Adrian McKinty’s Sean Duffy series. And because of Gerard Doyle’s long-running and exemplary job narrating, audio is the only way to experience this series for me.

I Hear the Sirens in the Street

McKinty has created a dynamic, complex character in Duffy–a man with a huge capacity for compassion and loyalty, caught up in a world of dark crimes and mercilessness. Duffy’s outer shell is hard and opaque, but those close to him recognize his positive attributes. Doyle understands all this and manages to perform Duffy so that his audience can appreciate the protective characteristics but still see beyond them as well.

In the Morning I'll Be Gone

Doyle also grasps Duffy’s wry humor, the gallows banter that makes his life bearable. McKinty has created this characteristic wit authentically in Duffy, and Doyle delivers it with the perfect dry tone of a copper who’s seen too much death and destruction in his years. That laugh-out-loud humor gets Duffy through his days, and it provides levity for the listener as well. But it isn’t exclusively limited to Duffy’s wit. McKinty can make the presence of a goat in the crime scene bring tears to the eyes of the audience.

Gun Street GirlSean Duffy is the hero of McKinty’s series, but Doyle treats the supporting cast as royally as the series’ namesake. Duffy’s young protege, Lawson, is ambitious, smart, and still a bit naïve, while his partner, McCrabban a.k.a. “Crabby,” elicits a more sage persona that comes with years on the job.

If, like me, you’re a series devotee, be sure to pick up the sixth and newest installment in the Sean Duffy series, POLICE AT THE STATION AND THEY DON’T LOOK FRIENDLY. But if you’re a crime fan who hasn’t discovered this series on audio, you can pick up any of the titles. They function together as a series, but they can easily be followed as individual listens if you have trouble getting them in order. Sean Duffy is an addiction worth having.

Police at the Station and They Don't Look Friendly

The series in publication order includes:

  1. The Cold Cold Ground
  2. I Hear the Sirens in the Street
  3. In the Morning I’ll Be Gone
  4. Gun Street Girl
  5. Rain Dogs
  6. Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly

Do you have a series you’re addicted to on audio?

Behind the Mic: Mockingbird

AudioFile goes Behind the Mic to talk with narrator Nicole Poole. She filmed her comment in her hometown library . . . shhhh . . . adding a bit of eerie mystery to telling us about Walter Tevis’s post-apocalyptic world in MOCKINGBIRD.

“Tevis creates a world where books are used as building materials—they are just strange hieroglyphics.”—Narrator Nicole Poole

mockingbird

MOCKINGBIRD
by Walter Tevis, read by Robert Fass, Nicole Poole
Tantor Media
AudioFile Earphones Award

In a dual narration with Robert Fass, Nicole beautifully portrays Mary Lou, the last mother on a dying Earth. Robots and the last surviving humans make for fascinating listening. Read AudioFile’s full review here.

Nicole Poole
Narrator Nicole Poole
Robert Fass
Narrator Robert Fass

Explore more audiobooks performed by Nicole Poole and Robert Fass.

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Solve: Conclave

The Catholic Church’s election of a new pope epitomizes mystery for the vast majority of the world, and Robert Harris takes advantage of that fact in his new audiobook, CONCLAVE, narrated by Roy McMillan.

Harris weaves in power struggles, politics and puzzles to captivate the audience in this suspenseful pontiff selection. Narrator Roy McMillan takes full advantage of the opportunity to display his range. While not strictly miraculous, his transformation of Cardinal Lomeli, the protagonist, from dispirited to Spirit-filled is most certainly charismatic. And Earphone award-worthy.

Conclave

CONCLAVE
by Robert Harris,
read by Roy McMillan
Random House Audio
AudioFile Earphones Award

Read AudioFile’s full review and listen to a sound clip here, or browse more reviews of Robert Harris’s audiobooks.

Browse all of our newest mystery reviews to find your next great listen!