Because one big section of my Raising Readers course is about audiobooks, I’ve had scores of questions about what the right age to start audiobooks is.
Of course, like all parenting things, it totally depends on your individual child.
But I’ve found that around age 2.5 is when my girls have all started to show interest in listening to audiobooks.
At that age, since most children are really used to listening to books being read aloud to them, it doesn’t seem like a big jump to go from being read to by a parent to listening to an audiobook.
I also really like to start audiobooks in the car, when many toddlers tend to be antsy and restless buckled into the backseat.
If your library has them, I really like those CD/picture book packs so your child can look at the book while the CD plays.
Over the past few months, as we’ve been driving more frequently because of school schedules, we’ve started listening to more story collections as we drive because they’re short enough for a 5-10 minute drive and easy for my toddler to follow (but my big girls like listening along just as much).
Also, we often check out audiobook collections from the library on CD, but I also love to take advantage of good deals on Audible because then I can just download them straight to the Audible app (it’s free to download and you don’t need a membership – you can just buy audiobooks piecemeal) and then we can listen to them whenever we want, without worrying about dealing with the CDs or renewing them or returning them to the library.
Here are five story collections I’d highly recommend:
The Frances Audio Collection by Russell Hoban, read by Glynis Johns
I am a massive fan of Frances and have been since I was a child. I think they are those magical books that are fun for little kids and adults alike. This is Star’s very favorite CD and we’ve listened to the four stories on this CD at least 50 times in the past month. Every time we get in the car, she asks for this one. It’s read by Glynis Johns (she’s the mom from Mary Poppins and has the MOST distinctive voice).
Frog and Toad All Year written and read by Arnold Lobel
How can you not love Frog and Toad? And the audio versions are SPECTACULAR. Arnold Lobel reads them himself and they have fun music and I just feel happy as I drive along listening to their little adventures. This one is currently a whopping $1.95 from Audible and Frog and Toad are Friends is $2.95, so I think they’re both just worth buying.
Mercy Watson Collection by Kate DiCamillo, read by Ron McLarty
There’s something just so delightful about a couple who treats their pig like a child. My girls are obsessed with these books and I like that they are a little longer (more like 20 minutes for each story) and each CD set or Audible set has 2 stories on them. On Audible, these ones are each about $6 currently.
The Peter Rabbit Collection by Beatrix Potter, read by Peter Batchelor
All the love for Peter Rabbit and company at our house and this one is 95 cents. As in, you couldn’t buy a Wendy’s frosty for this price. And it has 18 Beatrix Potter stories on it and it’s more than 2 hours long, so it’ll keep you in stories for a nice long time.
Arabian Nights by Jim Weiss
Jim Weiss is renowned as a storyteller and narrator, and any time I see one of his CDs at the library, I snatch it up like a Black Friday deal. You can see all his different collections and stories here, but this Arabian Nights one has been a recent favorite in our car. His collections are a great way to introduce your children to classic fairy tales and folk legends.
Bonus that I can’t stand to leave out – we’ve listened to many of the Rabbit Ears CDs from the library and they are very well done too, with tons of different fairy tales and tall tales.
Rebecca Nels says
Thanks so much for posting this, we have several days of rain coming up around here and I’m so excited to have something for my girls to do inside!
Right now we are listening to Paddington at Large, read by Hugh Bonneville, so so good! Also, my littles have all loved Winnie-the-Pooh.
Paige Flamm says
These are awesome recommendations for beginning listeners! Thanks!
I’m glad you posted this…I subscribed to circle round after your post and my kids love it. So much that they keep wanting to listen to the same ones over and over. I can only listen to it so many times… I’ll try these out. 🙂
After seeing this post I picked up the Arabian Nights audiobook at the library and we are loving it.
It’s nice to have some new suggestions! Other favorites in our house include, “Fancy Nancy,” The Princess in Black, and Amelia Bedelia. My girls also love the Wow In The World podcast and anxiously await new episodes.
We are huge audiobookers in the car. My kids would live in the car I think just to listen. We are a little older, but we have found Beverly Cleary’s “Ramona” series and Judy Blume’s “fudge” series to be favorites. We laugh so hard! We are currently doing the “Humphrey” series. We will give Mercy Watson a go. By the way loved “Her right foot” I think it was called from your patriotic picks.
We absolutely have loved and gotten tons of worth out of the Jim Weiss CDs we bought when our children were school age. Another great one that we listened to multiple times is The Toothpaste Millionaire. Kids loved it.
Janssen Bradshaw says
I’ve never heard of The Toothpaste Millionaire! Thanks for the tip!
Thank you for this list! We have the the first Mercy Watson book on hold through Overdrive. Can’t wait to get it! We have been audiobook/podcast listeners for a couple years now and my 5 year old loves them. We found a great series that he listened to multiple times, the Moongobble and Me series by Bruce Coville. Definitely check it out! It also on Overdrive.
Emma Schlamp says
Thanks so much for this! Especially awesome when heading into Spring break as we do some long family trips.
Spotify also has some longer Disney audio books for free. No need to pay for a membership. Just search songs and story and they will all come up.
I look forward to trying out these suggestions. Our library offers Hoopla (LOVE!) and lots of titles to stream so it’s good to get title recommendations. My 5 year old loved Mercy Watson when he was 4 so I’ll look up some of these others to see if they are available
DENISE DONHAM says
Hi, I work in a library and I am looking for a source that has children’s audio books grades K-2. Very hard to find on company that has several titles. I will also need to purchase paperback books to go with the stories. This would be for a listening center. Do you have any vendors that you use?
Danielle Wilson says
Do you know of any children’s books with audio files? Think the same as the books with cds, but instead of cd, a media file, so the kids can follow along with the hard copy while listening to the audio book being read. Something that would tell the kids when to turn the page to follow along with the reading.
The Frances collection is NOT to be missed!