Why Audiobooks Can Help Children Read & Where To Start?

The world looks a little different for children now than it did when a lot of us were growing up. Now, kids encounter screens every day at home, at school, and everywhere in between. While so many things have been revolutionized by the integration of technology, it’s still super important that children still get the opportunity for screen-free time so they can develop the skills that will help them later in life, plus it will allow them to explore and develop their interests.

Thinking of new ways to keep your kids entertained without a screen can be tough, but if you haven’t given audiobooks a try, then now is the time! According to the Audio Publishers Association, listening to audiobooks triggers the same language processing in the brain as it does when physically reading.

Audiobooks also allow readers of different levels access and enjoyment of the same books, which could open up a whole world of reading opportunities to so many children and people in general.

Now that schools are back in session in many places, the need to “unplug” and enjoy some screen-free entertainment is at an all-time high, so we’ve put together a small list of essential audiobooks as a starting point for you to press play on for your kids (and they’re such great stories that you may just want to listen too).

Something Classic

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, narrated by Douglas Hodge

Publisher Summary:

Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last!

But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!

Read more and sample the audio →

Something New

Pax, Journey Home by Sara Pennypacker, narrated by Michael Curran-Dorsano

Publisher Summary:

From bestselling and award-winning author Sara Pennypacker comes the long-awaited sequel to Pax; this is a gorgeously crafted, utterly compelling novel about chosen families and the healing power of love.

It’s been a year since Peter and his pet fox, Pax, have seen each other. Once inseparable, they now lead very different lives.

Pax and his mate, Bristle, have welcomed a litter of kits they must protect in a dangerous world. Meanwhile Peter—newly orphaned after the war, racked with guilt and loneliness—leaves his adopted home with Vola to join the Water Warriors, a group of people determined to heal the land from the scars of the war.

When one of Pax’s kits falls desperately ill, he turns to the one human he knows he can trust. And no matter how hard Peter tries to harden his broken heart, love keeps finding a way in. Now both boy and fox find themselves on journeys toward home, healing—and each other, once again.

Read more and sample the audio →

Something Educational

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Rivalry, Adventure, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements (Young Readers Edition) by Sam Kean, narrated by Robert Petkoff

Publisher Summary:

A young readers edition of the New York Times bestseller The Disappearing Spoon, chronicling the extraordinary stories behind one of the greatest scientific tools in existence: the periodic table.

Why did Gandhi hate iodine (I, 53)? How did radium (Ra, 88) nearly ruin Marie Curie’s reputation? And why did tellurium (Te, 52) lead to the most bizarre gold rush in history?

The periodic table is a crowning scientific achievement, but it’s also a treasure trove of adventure, greed, betrayal, and obsession. The fascinating tales in The Disappearing Spoon follow elements on the table as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, conflict, the arts, medicine, and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them.

Adapted for a middle grade audience, the young readers edition of The Disappearing Spoon offers the material in a simple, easy-to-follow format, with approximately 20 line drawings and sidebars throughout. Students, teachers, and burgeoning science buffs will love learning about the history behind the chemistry.

Read more and sample the audio →

Something for Teens

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley, narrated by Isabella Star Lablanc

Publisher Summary:

Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold to look after her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team.

Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug.

Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source. But the search for truth is more complicated than Daunis imagined, exposing secrets and old scars. At the same time, she grows concerned with an investigation that seems more focused on punishing the offenders than protecting the victims.

Now, as the deceptions—and deaths—keep growing, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go for her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.

Read more and sample the audio →

Something For the Whole Family

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, narrated by Del Roy

Publisher Summary:

ARE YOU A GIFTED CHILD Looking for special opportunities?

When this peculiar ad appears in the newspaper, dozens of children enroll to take a series of mysterious, mind-bending tests. (And you, dear listener, can test your wits right alongside them.) But in the end just four very special children will succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and resourceful
children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules.
As our heroes face physical and mental trials beyond their wildest imaginations, they have no choice but to turn to each other for support. But with their newfound friendship at stake, will they be able to pass the most important test of all?
Welcome to the mysterious benedict society.

Read more and sample the audio →

Looking for Book Recommendations?

• Here are the audiobooks our members have been loving, along with our staff picks that we’ve been championing.

• Looking to share your love of books? Our handy Book Clubbin’ questions make it super easy to start a book club. Or, Netflix n’ buddy-read with this year’s book-to-screen adaptations (just be prepared for the perennial debate: is the book better than the movie/show?).

• If you’re looking for something extra, we’ve got author and narrator interviews to give you a gleam inside their worlds.

• For the curious-minded, audiobooks can teach you a thing or two, from nature therapy to personal finance. It can even keep the little ones busy so you can steal some time back for yourself.

New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

6 Perfect Cocktail + Audiobook Pairings

Take a load off, kick your feet up, press play on a new audiobook… but wait, something’s missing! I don’t know about you, but total relaxation for me usually includes a glass of wine or a simple (yet classy) cocktail.

So, if you’re like me, then worry not because we’ve rounded up six classic cocktails and audiobooks that pair perfectly together to make your sippin’ that much better! Grab a glass, some ice, and get ready to wet your whistle!

The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton, narrated by James Cameron Stewart
Pairs with: Martini

What pairs better with a murder mystery/detective story than a martini? I’m just picturing a detective fresh off a case, decked out in their trench coat and fedora hat, sitting in the darkest corner of the bar, and sipping on a gin martini (one olive, please).

The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a twist on the ‘whodunit’ story where Aiden Bishop must find out who killed Evelyn Hardcastle. The catch? Every day he wakes up in a different body of one of the eight guests. With only eight days and eight bodies to get to the bottom of this mystery, Aiden only has one chance to escape once he has the name of the killer.

Read more and sample the audio →

The Summer Villa by Melissa Hill, narrated by Penelope Rawlins
Pairs with: Bellini

Picture yourself perched above the Gulf of Naples, surrounded by lemon groves, and under the Italian sun. That’s where The Summer Villa takes place. Sounds like the perfect backdrop to have a nice, refreshing Bellini in hand.

Kim, Colette, and Annie form an unlikely friendship when they each travel to the Amalfi Coast in need of an escape. Years later, Kim has renovated the same villa into a idyllic retreat and has invited her friends back. As long-buried secrets are revealed will these three friends be able to overcome them?

Read more and sample the audio →

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, narrated by Scott Brick
Pairs with: Screwdriver

The way that Truman Capote tactfully tackles true crime in In Cold Blood shows why this book has remained so poignant since its original release in 1965. In the same way that In Cold Blood has become a tried and true fixture in the literary world, the quintessential screwdriver has the same lasting power in the world of cocktails.

Another reason to pair the screwdriver, consisting of simply vodka and orange juice, with In Cold Blood is because it turns out that this was Capote‘s cocktail of choice. How fitting!

Read more and sample the audio →

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, narrated by Douglas Hodge
Pairs with: Shirley Temple

When I was little I always wanted to be like the grown ups. Whenever we would be out at a restaurant and the adults would have their alcoholic beverages they would always be sure to make me feel included by ordering me a Shirley Temple. We couldn’t do a cocktail round-up without including this sweet sip.

When I think of sweets my mind goes right to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, a classic. A bunch of kids get to take a tour of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and eat all the candy? Sign me up. Press play on this nostalgic listen and grab your Shirley Temple, extra snozberries.

Read more and sample the audio →

Playing with Matches by Hannah Orenstein, narrated by Jennifer O’Donnell
Pairs with: Cosmopolitan

Let’s face it, cosmopolitans are *still* exclusively linked with Sex and the City. That would be too easy of a connection to draw here, so I thought why not sip on this socialite specialty while listening to Playing with Matches by Hannah Orenstein.

This novel takes place in New York City (obviously) and follows Sasha, who finds herself working as a matchmaker for the dating service, Bliss. As she throws herself into her work, her personal life crumbles around her. Sure to make you laugh, Playing with Matches is about the dating world in our modern, technology-heavy world and how Sasha will find her place and her purpose.

Read more and sample the audio →

The Haunted by Danielle Vega, narrated by Holly Linneman
Pairs with: Dark ‘N’ Stormy

Everyone knows this cliché opening to those classic ghost stories, “It was a dark and stormy night…” With that in mind, this cocktail and audiobook combination might be a little on-the-nose. Let’s pair a Dark ‘N’ Stormy with The Haunted by Danielle Vega.

Hendricks just moved into Steele House in Drearfield, New York. While she’s busy trying to forget about her own dark past, it turns out the house that her and her family moved into has a dark past of its own. The Haunted is perfect if you’re looking for something spooky and it’s sure to make the hair on your neck stand on end.

Read more and sample the audio →

New to Audiobooks.com? Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!