Reading is an essential method of learning for children, as is listening to somebody else reading. Whether because they haven’t mastered reading to fully enjoy a book yet, or whether they just like the experience of story time; audio books are the perfect companion to any busy family’s life. We don’t all have time to read to our children every night, but audio books aren’t just for over-occupied parents; the narrators are often talented and impressive actors. A good audio book can bring the make-believe into the here and now.
Stephen Fry reading J.K Rowling‘s Harry Potter
The quintessential inclusion on the list, undoubtedly the most successful audio book of this generation. Stephen Fry reads all seven books from cover to cover in these recordings, it’s difficult to imagine anybody else being able to so closely mimic the voices of the uncountable number of characters. Whether it’s the shy and feminine tones of Ginny Weasley, or the evil and sneering words of Draco Malfoy; Fry’s timing and execution in this tale of magic and wizardry is fantastic. The Harry Potter books are great for kids of all ages, they preach friendship, loyalty, love and the denouncement of evil and treachery. Rowling and Fry are truly the perfect combination.
Caroline McCormack reading Suzanne Collins‘ The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games are a natural evolution for kids wanting something a little more mature than Harry Potter. The Hunger Games is aimed at the slightly older or more capable children who have outgrown children’s books but aren’t quite yet ready for adult fiction. Caroline McCormack is an excellent if not monotonous narrator, at first she seems to have only one mode of speech but as the story goes on and the emotions build, her delivery reacts to the plot line. This is a fantastic audio book for parents who want their children to take the next step in their reading and learning, it incites a lot of the more complicated emotions and, although fantasy, is a very accurate portrayal of love and sorrow in later life. As with Harry Potter, this novel teaches great life lessons about trusting in your instincts and thinking before you act.
Various Narrators reading The Cat in the Hat and Other Stories by Dr Seuss
At the other end of the spectrum, for a much younger generation, we have The Cat in the Hat. A classic story of rhymes, anecdotes, comedy and slapstick; this collection of tales can boast monolithic names such as John Cleese, Dustin Hoffman and Billy Crystal. This makes the list on a purely entertainment value, your children will be rolling in laughter at the antics of the bow-tied mischievous cat. Parents will want to beware of playing this too close to bedtime, as the kids won’t want it to stop and neither will you!