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DIY Audiobooks: A Perfect Gift for Little Book Lovers

My in-laws are really good gift givers.

I feel like every year, they give us interesting and unique things that we use and enjoy.

One of my favorite gifts they gave us one year was a set of DIY audiobooks.

As you can imagine, they’ve been used over and over for the last many years.

A set of DIY audiobooks are the perfect gift for grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or even your own children. Just record yourself reading and add the book

A set of DIY audiobooks are the perfect gift for grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or even your own children. Just record yourself reading and add the book

This Christmas version was actually a gift before my children were even born, back in 2006.

The book A Creature was Stirring: One Boy’s Night Before Christmas is a really fun holiday book which contrasts the original Clement Clarke Moore poem with a another poem about a little boy who IS stirring.

As the original poem unfolds stanza by stanza on the left-hand page, the little boy’s poem, where he creeps out of bed, sneaks up on to the roof and takes Santa’s sleigh for a spin, is carried out on the right hand pages.

A set of DIY audiobooks are the perfect gift for grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or even your own children. Just record yourself reading and add the book

A set of DIY audiobooks are the perfect gift for grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or even your own children. Just record yourself reading and add the book

My mother-in-law read the original poem and my brother-in-law, who was pretty young at the time, read the little boy’s part.

They recorded it on a CD and slipped it in a CD pocket in the back of the book so that it was easy to keep track of.

As you can imagine, this is a family treasure.

A set of DIY audiobooks are the perfect gift for grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or even your own children. Just record yourself reading and add the book

My girls love listening to their grandma and uncle, who live hundreds of miles away, read them a Christmas story, and I love that they can listen even when I’m not available to read to them.

A set of DIY audiobooks are the perfect gift for grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or even your own children. Just record yourself reading and add the book

This gift was such a hit with the grandchildren that a few years later, they did another set, this time with a bunch of classic children’s books, including The Story About Ping and The Story of Ferdinand, among others.

This time, my brother-in-law read them all, and they sent along one CD with all the audio tracks and then physical copies of each book so the grandchildren could follow along.

Ella was about two, I think, when they did this, and for YEARS we kept that CD in the car along with the paperback books and we listened to them hundreds and hundreds of times.

I think it’s the BEST gift idea for children, especially if you live far away from family.

When I mentioned it on Instagram Stories a few weeks ago, several people responded saying that they had done it for their nieces or nephews or that they had similar audio recordings of their grandparents from their own childhoods and still could recite pretty much every word of the books.

A set of DIY audiobooks are the perfect gift for grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or even your own children. Just record yourself reading and add the book

You could make an audio CD or you could easily just record a voice memo on your phone and play them on your phone or through your car bluetooth. One commenter mentioned that she had her parents record them as voice memos and then send the memos along and she burned them all onto a CD.

No matter how you do it, it’s such a sweet gift that you’ll probably treasure forever.

I love the idea of doing it for my own children so that they can listen to me read aloud to them at bedtime on their CD players or during quiet time.

And if you need some ideas for books that would make perfect DIY audiobooks, these are eight that lend themselves well to being read aloud:

  1. Corduroy by Don Freeman
  2. Snippy and Snappy by Wanda Gag
  3. Penny and Her Song by Kevin Henkes
  4. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  5. I Really Like Slop! by Mo Willems
  6. Amos & Boris by William Steig
  7. Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker
  8. Groovy Joe: Ice Cream & Dinosaurs by Eric Litwin

Happy listening!

A set of DIY audiobooks are the perfect gift for grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or even your own children. Just record yourself reading and add the book

Photos by Christie Knight Photography

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6 Comments

  • Reply Elley @ Elley the Book Otter December 20, 2017 at 7:14 am

    What an amazing gift idea! My in-laws live pretty far away, and I’ll bet my boys would love to hear their Grandma Jan and Grandpa Chuck read them a story. Too bad they’re so technologically challenged, I doubt we could ever get this coordinated! Oh well. :/

  • Reply Nicole December 20, 2017 at 9:17 am

    We should do this again for my boys this year and I just thought of having the grandparents, or who ever, record a little intro, too. Just like a hello and we love you. My oldest is in kindergarten and I’m thinking of having him read a little Christmas book and sending it back to the grandparents. They’d probably love hearing his little voice reading even more than he loves heading theirs!

  • Reply Helen Harris December 23, 2017 at 5:41 am

    What a genius idea!!! I loved it! We’re the only ones in the US (my family’s all in Brazil) and this year, both my sister and my best friend had babies. I now have a nephew and a niece in Rio de Janeiro. This will be the PERFECT Christmas gift for me to give them through the years, so that they’ll be familiar with my voice. Loved it!!!

  • Reply 24 New and Classic Christmas books - Everyday Reading November 29, 2018 at 1:46 am

    […] A Creature was Stirring by Clement Clarke Moore, illustrated by Carter Goodrich This book repeats the classic “The Night Before Christmas” poem stanza by stanza on the left pages while the right pages have an original poem that shows a little boy who IS stirring and sneaks up to the roof to joyride in Santa’s sleigh. My mother-in-law and brother-in-law recorded an audio version of it to go along with the paper copy about ten years ago, and it’s so fun to listen to them read it (more details about doing your own DIY audiobooks here). […]

  • Reply Paula November 29, 2018 at 5:16 am

    Thinking about doing this. One question. Is there a chime when the page should be turned?

    • Reply Janssen Bradshaw November 29, 2018 at 7:22 am

      They didn’t on our copies, but you could certainly do one!

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