By Amber Keck, Children’s Librarian
The use of audiobooks is on the rise for all ages, and Manhattan Public Library has a lot to offer, both digitally and in CD format. With an MPL card, you can check out five physical audiobooks at one time. After registering the card with the Sunflower eLibrary, you can check out five titles on digital format as well. Digital audiobooks can be downloaded to any mobile device or tablet via the free Overdrive app. For help with downloading digital audiobooks, view the tutorials online or speak with a librarian.
The physical and online collection include audiobooks for children and adults. If your child wants to follow along with the text, MPL has book bags that include a picture book and the audiobook on CD.
Audiobooks offer many benefits to readers of all ages, including the introduction of new vocabulary, critical listening, and a model for good interpretive reading and reading aloud. When listening to audiobooks, a person can “read” at a higher level than usual and connect with the story in a more visceral way. Since summer is the season of vacations and long road trips, stop by the library and check out these recommended titles that your whole family will enjoy.
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale If you are going to have a lot of listening time on your hands, this is the series to start with. Jim Dale is the master of audiobook narration, using multiple voices to bring the characters to life. If you are unfamiliar with the series, be advised that, as the series progresses, there tends to be more violence and mature content.
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series by Maryrose Wood, narrated by Katharine Kellgren A teenaged Penelope Lumley is hired as a nanny for a family who just adopted three children who were raised by wolves. As she helps them adjust to human life, they come across many mysterious situations and have to problem-solve their way to safety and understanding. Maryrose Wood’s writing is whimsical and hilarious, and Katherine Kellgren’s narration is filled with entertaining voices and the necessary animal sound here and there.
Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, narrated by Tim Curry A 13-book series filled with quick wit and extraordinary circumstances, this series will have everyone rooting for the Baudelaire children as they endure through a. . . series of unfortunate events. Parents can appreciate the puns and seemingly unbelievable events, while kids will appreciate the individual characters and their strengths.
The Ramona series by Beverly Cleary, narrated by Stockard Channing This classic series follows young Ramona Quimby through struggles with her family, school and just simply growing up. Everyone will be entertained by her crazy antics and quite literal take on life. Ramona learns life lessons in a way that is accessible to children and laughable to parents. Stockard Channing reads in a matter-of-fact way as Ramona faces life head-on with occasional confusion.
Peter and the Starcatchers series by Dave Barry, narrated by Jim Dale A prequel to J.M. Barrie’s beloved Peter Pan, this series follows the adventures of Peter and his friends on the high seas. Because the story is full of action and entertaining characters, each person in the family is sure to have a favorite villain or orphan boy in each of the storylines.
If you have younger children in your family who would like to follow along with the book, here are a few series that can be enjoyed by the parent-driver and child alike:
Henry and Mudge series and Annie and Snowball series by Cynthia Rylant Cynthia Rylant has been writing early chapter books for kids for decades and still amazes readers with each publication. The above series follow, respectively, a boy and his dog, and a girl and her rabbit.
Manhattan Public Library staff would love to help you find your next great audiobook. Stop by any service desk to get a great recommendation for your road trip or other activity in need of a story in your ears.