Top 10 books on CD

One of the things I love most about summer is reading books together with my kids. When their brains are free of all of the requirements of school work and I don’t have to worry about helping with homework, it seems we have more space to soak up the words on a page. Or on a CD.

The boys read from actual books… with pages… nearly everyday. A1, who is going into third grade, is really into King Arthur right now. And M2, who is going into first grade, is reading some great first readers like Mouse Soup and Little Bear.

But we also borrow stacks of audio books from our local library. I love these unabridged books on CD for several reasons. We get the benefits of a read-aloud, but I don’t have to do the reading. It’s fun to just absorb the words along with the kids. Often the person who reads the book has a great voice that fits the style of the book.

When I need a break, I can ask the children to go in one of their rooms together and listen to a book. It’s better than watching TV!

But most of all, we can listen to books while we are in the van. It’s amazing how much reading we can do on a trip to the pool and back or on our way to the library.

Our minivan seems to have a sign on the door that says, “Begin arguing now.” When I open the electric door, the three kids jump in and immediately begin fighting over who will sit where. Or they get into an intense debate on which super hero is the most powerful. Or they start fighting over a red crayon or a blue marker.

I turn on the audio books and … they have to… shhhhh….

Oh, it’s beautiful.

I asked my 8-year-old to help me rank some of our favorite audio books we have listened to in the last year. It was not easy because even #10 is a big favorite. We have listened to many others that didn’t make the list.

Here’s our Top 10… or 11… or 12…

10. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. This is a thought-provoking story of what it would be like to have everlasting life in a world where everyone else grows old and dies. And maybe it seems like it would be cool to be 18 forever. But what if you were frozen at one age, never to grow a day older?

9. The Giants and the Joneses by Julia Donaldson. This is a really cute story about a brother and two sisters who are captured by a girl giant and taken to live as pets in giant land.

8. The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli. We just finished this one as part of our studies of medieval times we will be doing this year in third grade. A little boy shows courage, determination and true character despite his physical limitations. Plus, it’s a book about knights and castles. What boy or girl doesn’t love that?

7. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. A stuffed bunny rabbit gets lost from the little girl who loves him and begins an amazing journey from one owner to another. The stuffed animal learns a lot about love and appreciation through his travels. The ending had me crying with happy tears. We also listened to The Tale of Despereaux by the same author, which we loved, as well.

6. Shiloh by Phyliss Naylor. A boy, his dog, a mean neighbor and a lesson on doing the right thing. Great story.

5. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. My kids had not seen the movie or heard this story before and they found it fascinating. I’m trying to mainly list books that aren’t classics, but how can I resist? I have to sneak in a few other classics favorites here: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum and Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.

4. Drift House by Dale Peck. We were all captivated by this book about a mysterious house and its powers to travel to a world that is not encumbered by time. This is another thought-provoking story about what the world would be like if time did not exist.

3. The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden. This is such a sweet story about a cricket who helps his owner by playing concerts for people in New York.

2. Poppy by Avi, along with the all of the subsequent books, Ragweed, Poppy’s Return, Poppy and Ereth and Poppy and Rye. Poppy is a mouse who faces danger to stand up for the rights of her family against the bigger creatures in the woods.

1. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. We actually own the full seven-book series on CD, which isn’t just read, but performed with various characters. The kids have listened to all of the books dozens of times, but never get enough.

I also realized we forgot one of our favorites when we created the list, so I’ll just have to cheat and put it here: The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall.

I think I loved all of these books as much as my children. So, if you are looking for a good family-friendly read, check out the audio books in the kids’ section of the library.

Now, please tell me… What are your favorite books for children (either in print or on CD) and what is your favorite book that you are reading this summer? I have a few on hold at the library, but I’m always looking for suggestions.

For even more great Top Ten lists, click on over to Oh Amanda’s blog!

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  1. You do have lots to say today:)!! Love it! I also love the idea of peace in the car… will have to try the audio books… we so far have done the portable dvd player(s) for our long trips… I will be checking into the book idea… quiet in the car… hmmm… sounds beautiful!Thanks for the idea!!Laurel

  2. I think it is funny that I asked what people were reading this summer before I read this post. I love books in the car. We are planning a trip to Ohio later this summer and I think we will get one that Ava will listen to also. You can now download them from the library and put them on your ipod…not all of them are ipod compatible, but if you have a zune you are in good shape.

  3. Laurel: let me know if you try it!HLP: I was hoping you would leave your faves… You are such a reader! I have been wanting to try out the downloading thing, but I haven't done it yet.J-J: Thanks for the suggestion. We have checked out almost everything that looks good to me in the children's audio book section, so now I have to find titles to request from other libraries.

  4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on CD is wonderful!! We listened to this in the car last year, and my boys loved it. (And when we finally watched the movie a few weeks ago, Andrew said, "The book was SO much better!") Great post. I'll have to check your list out!!

  5. A favorite book I listened to was The Bone Setter's Daughter by Amy Tan. Sometimes the person reading it annoys me so I end up not liking the book because of it. I am currently reading Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult,The Beach House by Jane Green (?)andThe Friday Night Knitting Club by I can't remember.

  6. Great list!My library lets us download books onto my MP3 but I just can't get into it. I should try though. With a new(er) baby, I haven't read in quite a while.That said, I have absolutely no suggestions. My daughter likes to read a variety of things so I don't even know good kid books right now.

  7. I love this list! I am hoping to discover the joys of audiobooks on our disney trip in July (I kind of forgot before our Alabama trip).

  8. Oh, I just did a Top 10 on audio books, too—I LOVE all your ideas! (Penderwicks & Narnia Radio Theatre were on mine, too) I can't wait to check the rest of these out. You think they are appropriate for a 3yo?(thanks for linking up!)

  9. Popping over from OhAmanda and first visit to your blog.I really enjoyed your book list and loved the idea. Putting it in the vault for my LO in the future.

  10. We are most of the way through Poppy on CD (thank you for the recommendation). One drawback here – I can only drive around the block so many times before I have to declare us "home" and stop the story.Have you read Where the Red Fern Grows? Just saw the movie and loved it. Would think the book would be even better.

  11. We love books on CD. We just finished 2 Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books (remember those from when WE were kids?), and often listen to Adventures in Odyssey. Thanks for the list; we have another long trip coming up in August!Michele

  12. Oh, some of those were in my favorites list as a kid! My favorites list was really long though… One book that jumps to mind and I have no idea if it's on audio — Gone Awake Lake by Elizabeth Enright. Oh, and what about the Borrower books? I'll stop there, because its a slippery slope into four paragraphs of my favorite childhood books… but yeah, sounds like y'all make amazing use of the car time. 🙂

  13. Emily! I had fun reading books with my kids when I homeschooled them one year in middle school. What books have I read (actually listened to) recently? These are my recent favorites: Life of Pi – a young Indian boy, religion and survival on a lifeboat with a tiger. One Thousand White Women – an alternative history of trying to integrate native Americans with the whites. The Shack – A man is invited to meet God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in person.

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