Gift Guide: For Audiobook Fans
For our last gift guide, we’re featuring audiobooks perfect for regular audio listeners, children or families looking for a great choice for long car trips. These are all great choices for kids 8-12, except for the final pick, which would be best suited for teens or adults who love well-written magical mysteries.
D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire, read by Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier, Kathleen Turner and Matthew Broderick
Kids and adults will love this comprehensive overview of Greek mythology, narrated by some of the finest celebrity voice talent around. The audio begins with the Greek creation story and then moves to individual major and minor gods. The stories of the gods are vividly told, and once listened to, will not soon be forgotten. Children will be fascinated to learn the roots of literature, art and science that can all be found in these myths. And young readers who enjoy the Rick Riordan books will find even greater meaning in the origin stories!
Chomp by Carl Hiaasen, read by James Van Der Beek
A reality survival show, an animal wrangler, a mysterious disappearance and all of the strange, comic characters you typically find in Hiaasen’s books make this audiobook a winner for kids 8-12 or family road trips. Hiaasen’s books are a terrific blend of humorous situations, environmental messages and wacky hijinks and always feature smart, independent kids. James Van Der Beek, best known for “Dawson’s Creek,” is a skilled, funny narrator with a gift for voices, making this listen even more enjoyable.
Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead, read by Jesse Bernstein
Another great choice for an audiobook the whole family can listen to together, Rebecca Stead’s middle grade novel is a humorous and touching look at friendship, change, bullying and dealing with difficult family situations. Georges, new to a New York apartment building, befriends the mysterious Safer, who claims to be a spy. But as Safer pushes him to take risks he is less and less comfortable taking, Georges must decide if it’s worth it to take a stand and risk losing his only friend. Parents may guess some of the novel’s twists but kids will definitely find much to surprise them in this thoughtful read. Bernstein, the narrator, does a wonderful job breathing life to the main characters.
The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens, read by Jim Dale
If you haven’t read or listened to John Stephens’ thrilling first book in the Books of Beginning series, The Emerald Atlas, I would recommend starting with that first. But for the many fans of this series, you won’t want to miss this new book, narrated by one of the best audiobook narrators in the business, Jim Dale, best known for the Harry Potter series. (He also narrated the first book). This book is an adventurous romp through time, full of dwarves, elves and dragons. Kids will love siblings Kate, Michael and Emma and will be on the edge of their seats listening to the challenges they face courageously. This is a worthy sequel and will leave you clamoring for book three, and Dale’s narration makes the audio version even more exciting than the book.
The Diviners by Libba Bray, read by January LaVoy
Libba Bray has outdone herself with this first of four books, set in 1920’s New York. The atmosphere combined with history and her pitch perfect storytelling is making me take the long way home so I can keep listening. It’s a murder mystery with magic and paranormal powers and evil and creepy characters in creepier situations that will totally give you the creeps and you still won’t want to stop listening. And bonus, reader January LaVoy may be the best I’ve heard, she truly brings every one of the large cast of characters to life. –Kate
We hope you have enjoyed our week of gift recommendations. If you are still searching for the right pick for that hard-to-buy-for reader in your life, you can ask us for our input via our Facebook page!