Essential Children’s Audiobook Listening with Golden Voice Narrator Jim Dale

Jim Dale

Jim DaleThe incomparable Jim Dale has a voice and narrating style that make him instantly recognizable. He has received multiple awards during his career, including Grammys, Audies, and an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire). He even held the Guinness World Record for Most Character Voices in an Audiobook. His recordings for kids are truly among the best of the best in family listening. While you can’t go wrong with any Jim Dale recording, these are my recommendations for essential listening with kids. Read more…

Sonja Cole
As a former middle school librarian and author of Booktalking Around the World: Great Global Reads for Ages 9-14, Sonja’s mission is to get kids excited about books.

6 Tips for Listening to Audiobooks with Kids

Audiobook Listening for Kids

Audiobook Listening for KidsReading with our ears can have educational benefits at all ages, but my favorite benefit of listening to audiobooks with kids is the priceless connection of experiencing a good story together. If your family has never listened to an audiobook, getting started can feel daunting, so here are some tips to get you up and running. Read more…

Sonja Cole
As a former middle school librarian and author of Booktalking Around the World: Great Global Reads for Ages 9-14, Sonja’s mission is to get kids excited about books.

Love for the ALA Media Awards

Robin’s Roundup February 1

Sadie

Odyssey Award SealFor more than 80 years, the awards given by the American Library Association have set a high bar in children’s literature. The Caldecott and Newbery medals are the best known among the multiple awards that honor excellence in books, video, and audiobooks for children and young adults—collectively the Youth Media Awards. Of course, our favorite is the Odyssey Award, given to the best audiobook for this essential audience of listeners. This year the Odyssey Award goes to SADIE. AudioFile reviewer Sharon Grover said in her review, “Courtney Summers’s powerful story of love, neglect, abuse, and revenge is narrated with irresistible urgency by Rebecca Soler and Dan Bittner, along with an ensemble of supporting narrators.” Sharon’s praise and Earphones Award were prophetic—and no wonder, as Sharon was one of the founding librarians who helped establish the award in 2008. Read more…

Robin Whitten
Robin is the Founder & Editor of AudioFile Magazine. The AudioFile Blog is her newest project to offer new voices and recommendations for audiobooks.

8 Wintry Kids’ Listens

Stay warm with cozy listening!

Snowy mittens

Snowy mittens

Where I live in New Jersey, kids go to sleep on winter nights hoping to wake up to a SNOW DAY— a snowy world of no school. Whether you love the snow, hate it, or live in a climate that never sees it, I have picked a bunch of cozy winter listens for your kids to snuggle down with this month and embrace the joys of winter.

Bear Snores On

BEAR SNORES ON
by Karma Wilson, read by Karma Wilson
Weston Woods Studios, Ages 4-6
 

As Bear hibernates through the winter, Mouse and an ever increasing group of friends take advantage of the comforts in Bear’s cave by cooking a feast under his sleeping nose. This reading by the author allows young listeners to appreciate the rhyme and beat of the story, and to soak in the humor of the midwinter merriment. Read more…

Sonja Cole
As a former middle school librarian and author of Booktalking Around the World: Great Global Reads for Ages 9-14, Sonja’s mission is to get kids excited about books.

Listening to Martin Luther King, Jr.: Audiobooks That Illuminate His Legacy

Robin’s Roundup January 18

President Lyndon B. Johnson and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. meet at the White House, 1966
President Lyndon B. Johnson and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. meet at the White House, 1966
President Lyndon B. Johnson and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., meet at the White House, 1966

Audiobooks create a immersive and affecting way to understand and celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. His accomplishments will continue to resonate for generations, but the short period when he was active with the Civil Rights Movement from 1955 until April 4, 1968, was a mere 13 years. There is much to explore among these audiobooks, and many opportunities to be inspired by Dr. King, “A prophet of justice, a leader of tremendous will, a moral and spiritual defender of good.” (“View From the Mountain” by Maja Thomas, AudioFile, February 1999.) Read more…

Robin Whitten
Robin is the Founder & Editor of AudioFile Magazine. The AudioFile Blog is her newest project to offer new voices and recommendations for audiobooks.

Portraits of Nelson Mandela in 8 Audiobooks

Robin’s Roundup July 20

Nelson Mandela

"Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gauteng" from The Good News, 13 May 2008

This week marks the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela. With celebrations and tributes happening around the world, I wanted to share 8 audiobooks that offer unique portraits of the South African leader. In the audio medium we can not only hear Mandela’s voice in speeches and interviews, but also experience his memoirs and other writing. Read more…

Robin Whitten
Robin is the Founder & Editor of AudioFile Magazine. The AudioFile Blog is her newest project to offer new voices and recommendations for audiobooks.

Robin’s Roundup: January 26 New Audiobook Reviews

Stories by Heart and with Heart

They All Saw A Cat

Actor John Lithgow’s long career is studded with awards—Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Golden Globe—for his many roles as  varied as the undercover extraterrestrial professor in “3rd Rock from the Sun” to Winston Churchill in “The Crown.” He is currently appearing on Broadway in his one-man show, STORIES BY HEART.

Lithgow puts a lot of heart into all his work, and as author and audiobook narrator he’s a consummate storyteller. Reviewed this week is a charming children’s audiobook,  THEY ALL SAW A CAT. Lithgow has written for children and recorded other audio, including Dr. Seuss’s OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! Ten years ago Lithgow’s memoir, DRAMA, was celebrated on the October/November 2011 AudioFile cover, and was one of the year’s Best Audiobooks. I love the interview we did with him, and he has an array of audiobooks to explore. Read more…

Robin Whitten
Robin is the Founder & Editor of AudioFile Magazine. The AudioFile Blog is her newest project to offer new voices and recommendations for audiobooks.

Audiobooks and Literacy: Purposeful Performances

6 audiobooks with narrations that will thrill you, comfort you, and send you off to bed

Manhattan Beach

Every day we read, listen to, or watch a variety of media with specific purposes in mind: to gather information, find entertainment, explore a new culture, or participate in our own. Each should vary in delivery if we are to satisfy our goal: to learn, to relax, or to share in a sense of community. There is no one-size-fits-all presentation for a certain kind of content, and no one way of engaging with that content that will work for everyone.

Manhattan BeachAnd so it is when you choose audiobooks for yourself or for children. Beyond content, what sort of performance might best fit the material and help listeners satisfy their immediate needs? Luckily, the audiobooks available to us today continue to show growth the in diversity of their expressive styles as well as their range of content, both for adults and children. Some performance styles particularly enhance and expand the particular kind of content you seek on audio.

Looking for a satisfying escape through story? Certainly the acting performance of a skillful narrator—or multiple narrators, like in MANHATTAN BEACH—can move a thriller or a cozy mystery or a celebrity biography from page to sound, with highly enhanced entertainment value. Read more…

Francisca Goldsmith
Francisca Goldsmith has worked with teens, collections, and administering branch services in public, school, and academic libraries in the U.S. and Canada. Connecting communities to information and supporting new Americans in learning both language and culture are her passions. To those ends, she’s worked with audiobooks and listeners for the past 20 years.