BOOK RIOT
20 Audiobooks for Young Listeners

In honor of World Read Aloud Day and Dr. Seuss’ birthday, I planned to pick up a copy of my favorite Seuss classic, Oh, The Places You’ll Go! and do a recording of it to share with everyone.  I stumbled across a different Dr. Seuss title, though. It’s one that I hadn’t read in a very long time, and turned out to be the one that actually contains one of my favorite lines:

The book is I Can Read with My Eyes Shut! and while it goes on to stress that you probably shouldn’t do it all that often in case you miss something.  I don’t happen to agree. I mean, I realize that the book was written in 1978, and audiobooks were not the items of convenience that they are today, so I don’t think he’s saying anything against them. Instead, what he’s doing is encouraging children to read in all sorts of situations and for all sorts of reasons. Reading is not just something to be done at school or before bed. Reading can be done anytime, anywhere. And now, 35 years after the book’s publication, I think we’d find that Dr. Suess would embrace idea of the audiobook for any reader at any age.

It is with that spirit in mind that I share this list of fantastic audio finds for young readers. Some of these they may already be familiar with from the listening centers in their classrooms of from classes in the library, others (I hope) will be happy new discoveries. Teach your kiddoes how to read with their eyes shut.

Classics from Dr. Seuss 

Green Eggs and Hamread by Jason Alexander

One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, read by David Hyde Pierce

How the Grinch Stole Christmas, read by Walter Matthau

The Loraxread by Ted Danson

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!, read by John Lithgow

Favorite Picture Books 

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, read by Peter Schickele

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson, read by Hal Hollings

Harold & the Purple Crown by Crockett Johnson, read by Owen Jordan

A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon, read by Jane Casserly

The Dark by Lemony Snicket, read by Neil Gaiman

Longer Listens 

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, read by Graeme Malcolm

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, read by Eden Riegel

Holes by Louis Sachar, read by Kerry Beyer

My Name is Mina by David Almond, read by Charlie Sanderson

Loser by Jerry Spinelli, read by Steve Buscemi

Popular Series

Judy Moody  by Megan McDonald, read by Barbara Rosenblat

How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell, read by David Tennant

The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley, read by L.J. Ganser

Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger, read by Mark Turetsky, et al.

The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins, read by Paul Boehmer

And because I can’t let World Read Aloud Day pass without doing a little reading aloud of my own, here I am reading Dr. Seuss’I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!

My sense has been that people are starting to take picture books more seriously as an art form. Or at least some people are. I think we reached a low point in 2010, when picture books were being slagged off on the front page of The New York Times and dismissed by publishing house’s accounting departments. And I hate to see picture books trashed or, worse, dismissed because there’s so much great and beautiful stuff coming out each year. Of course, there are a lot of bad books too—so many that sometimes I think it can create the illusion that the form is hidebound or imitative or insincere. But that is an illusion.
One Rioter’s pick for The Best Kidlit of 2012

One Rioter’s pick for The Best Kidlit of 2012