While audiobooks are not exactly new technology, the advent of sites like Audible provides a renewed interest in the product as a comfortable reading device for tools. Many younger readers struggle when they read a book because they cannot fully engage with the text.
Audiobooks fix this problem by providing a narrator who reads the children books with an active and engaging voice. In this way, audiobooks are a lot like owning a professional storyteller available at the click of a button.
In this article, we provide a list of what we think are the best audiobooks for kids. But, before we get started, let us look at some frequently asked questions associated with the service, as well as the specific way we rank the books on this list.
Here are some of the most popular frequently asked questions about audiobooks:
What Are Audiobooks and How Do They Work?
As its name suggests, an audiobook is just that: a talking book. Depending on the version of the audiobook produced, the words from the book are read either by professional recording artists, or the author themselves!
Audiobooks first became popular during the era of tape technology, but they have since gone through many different iterations. Today, the most popular listening method used today is on digital devices like phones, tablets, or computers.
With sites like Amazon producing massive libraries of content, the amount of audiobooks continues to grow by the day. Most of these audiobook services require you to download the title, but others allow you to stream as many as you want when you want.
You can purchase an audiobook either by subscribing to a service — which offers reduced prices or monthly-allotment tokens — or by buying them independently of a subscription. However, keep in mind that without a subscription they cost quite a bit more.
What Audiobooks Service Provides the Best Selection of Children Books?
Unfortunately, there is not an audiobooks service that caters exclusively to children. Luckily, there are websites with extensive collections of great children’s novels. Some of our favorites include Audible, Scribd, Libro.FM, Librivox, and Downpour.
What Devices Can You Use For Audiobooks?
In addition to the traditional tape and compact disc players of audiobooks, you can also use almost any digital device — as long as it is recent enough. Here are all of the tools that you can use for listening:
- Apple and Android tablets and phones
- Kindle Fire
- Sandisk MP3 Players
- Creative MP3 Players
- Garmin & TomTom GPS Devices
- Windows and Mac computers (you can also stream via Cloud Player on these devices)
- Kindle Paperwhite (10th Gen)
- Kindle Oasis (9th Gen)
- Kindle Oasis (8th Gen)
- Kindle (8th Gen)
- Kindle Oasis (8th Gen)
- Fire Tablets
- Kindle Keyword & Kindle Touch
How We Review the Best Audiobooks for Kids
While it would be easy to include an essential list of children’s book “greatest hits” in audiobook format, we believe in giving kids a bit more of a selection when it comes to the latest titles. When we compiled the audiobooks for this review, we wanted to include several various titles — from timeless kid classics to new favorites of ours.
Reading can be an excellent way of introducing complex topics for kids in a safe environment where they can think them through with the help of some great characters. As such, we rank books that deal with these topics in a safe, engaging way higher up on the list.
Books can be a powerful teaching device that introduces children to tough-to-swallow concepts like death, evil, and racism. While some parents might prefer to shelter their children with sanitized stories, we prefer audiobooks that address the facts of life in a way that any kid can grasp.
However, we understand that some parents might want to hold out before introducing these concepts to their children. As such, in each review, we provide a brief synopsis, as well as some of the themes that the work tackles. This way, you can know what the audiobook contains in terms of subject.
The sound component is another important factor that goes into our review process. Does the audiobook narrator read the book well? Do they alter their voice to keep the narrative engaging for children?
Overall Price Range for Children’s Audiobooks
Typically audiobooks are very affordable. But, before you commit to a purchase, make sure you check online with a quick internet search first. Some of the incredibly favorite audiobooks may be available online for free from your public library system.
However, keep in mind that these versions may not be easy to load, or you may have to get on a waiting list.
Top Five Best Audiobooks for Kids
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Anyone that read [amazon link=”B0000W6SOK” title=”Charlotte’s Web”] during their childhood immediately remembers the classic tale of friendship. The novel features Wilbur the pig and Charlotte the spider. Wilbur becomes endangered of being slaughtered and Charlotte hatches a cunning plan that will save his life.
Pros and Cons
We believe Charlotte’s Web is one of the best audiobooks for kids because it teaches valuable lessons. For one thing, it shows sensitivity toward animals that is not easily forgotten. It also explains the value in helping out those who are too weak to help themselves and unlikely friendships.
However, the novel is not perfect. It does feature dangerous situations, and some kids might not be old enough to understand why Wilbur almost dies in the beginning. Generally, we think the novel should be excellent for anyone six years or older but pay attention to the emotional maturity of your child first.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
[amazon link=”B0099SNV7I” title=”The Hobbit”] features the adventures of Bilbo Baggins as he leaves the comfort of his hobbit-hole and embarks on a quest across Middle Earth with a wizard and dwarves. It takes place in the rich world imagined by Tolkien and deals with the timeless themes of good versus evil.
Pros and Cons
The Hobbit remains one of the most cherished fantasy novels ever written, and it continues to adult children and adults alike. As such, we think it an excellent book for bonding parents with their children since both parties can get something out of it. The rich language also grabs the imagination and does not let go.
However, it does feature some violence and unsafe situations that might scare younger readers. It also might be a bit too advanced for children under nine years old. But, keep in mind these cons all depend on the specific reading level of your child.
Ghost by Jason Reynolds
[amazon link=”B01KBC9WM8″ title=”Ghost “] is an inspiring tale about a middle school track runner who most overcomes adversity — from both his teammates and traumatic past — to make the Junior Olympics. It contains messages on the difference between natural talent and practice and the real reason you should do something.
Pros and Cons
We believe that Ghost by Jason Reynolds tackles a complicated subject matter in a way that is both engaging and sensitive. It also comes with a strong anti-drug and anti-violence message that many parents will appreciate.
However, we cannot deny that the book contains mature themes and instances of domestic violence. It also tackles some mature topics like racism — though not in any controversial way. As such, we only recommend it for readers eleven years old and up, or more mature younger children.
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Grace
If you want a novel with a strong, black female character, then you should look no further than [amazon link=”B004DI7WWE” title=”One Crazy Summer”]. This novel addresses issues of racism and family trauma with grace, nuisance, and humor — a fantastic read for children and adults alike.
Pros and Cons
We love this book because it introduces young readers to perspectives that they will not likely read about until high school or college. Issues involving civil rights, the Black Panther movement, and Oakland culture often never cross the minds of children. This novel presents them with nuisance and care.
Though the book does avoid topics of sex, foul language, and violence, it does contain references to the sixties and civil rights movement, which might confuse some younger viewers. As such, we recommend it for children ages eleven and up.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
The “boy who lived” first took the world by storm in the early 2000s, and he shows no signs of stopping. The [amazon link=”B017V4IMVQ” title=”novel”] remains a part of one of the most beloved series ever to hit the shelves. As such, we think it is perfect for the interest and attention of young kids.
Pros and Cons
Unfortunately, there are some cons too. For one thing, the audiobook itself is incredibly expensive when you compare it with other audiobooks — a curse of its enduring popularity. Considering it is not a new release, we think it should go down a little.
Also, some religious families may not approve of references to wizards, witchcraft, and magic. However, this con depends on how strict you are about what you expose your kids to in literature.
More of the Best Audio Books for Kids
[amazon bestseller=”audiobooks for kids” items=”5″]
Hopefully, this list helped give a good idea of some of the best audiobooks for kids available. We did not even brush the surface of all the great titles out there, so we encourage you to search for yourself. But what is our selection for the best audiobook?
We think Charlotte’s Web still works as one of the best-loved books out there. Considering the audiobook version contains narration from the author himself, E.B. White, you get to hear the text precisely as he intended it. We believe the novel teaches essential life lessons and you can read it young and still understand.
Debating about what the best children’s book is like discussing what the best color is: utterly open to individual interpretation. As such, we encourage you to talk to your child and see what kind of stories they seem interested in hearing. Still, we hope we helped you find some of the best audiobooks for kids.