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Now Hear This: 9 Engaging Audiobooks for Preschoolers
by Jennifer Ridgway
Jenn recently made the decision to take a break from her publishing career to stay home with her twins full time. She loves sharing the joy of reading with her kids (the first thing in the nursery was the bookshelves, which have already been expanded numerous times) and has renewed her love of the library. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, tots, and one-eyed rescue cat, Padiddle.
Audiobooks can be a great learning tool for preschoolers. Some parents may wonder, however, why they should use audiobooks when they can just as easily read to their children. While not a replacement for reading a book aloud, audiobooks provide many benefits of their own, helping kids to expand their imagination and strengthen their listening, pronunciation, and comprehension skills.
There are a lot of places you can find audiobooks for kids, including the library, bookstore, and online. Audiobook publishers take their work seriously, creating amazing productions that feature engaging narrators and performances. Below are a few great audiobooks for preschoolers to start your journey.
by Ezra Jack Keats, read by Quincy Tyler Bernstine
This 1963 Caldecott Medal book never ceases to delight! Listen to this cozy read with your preschooler, and keep them curious about the wonders right outside their door. The adventures of the little boy on a snowy day in the city will get them excited for the change in seasons.
(Ages 0 - 3)
by Derrick Barnes, read by Sullivan Jones
It’s never too early to get preschoolers excited about starting school, and there’s hardly anyone more excited about the first day of kindergarten than the little boy in this story — who’s eager to take on the day, make new friends, and tell his parents all about his new adventures. To support reading comprehension, pair the audiobook with a print copy of the book so readers can listen and follow along.
(Ages 3 - 6)
by Julia Donaldson, read by Hal Hollings
The Gruffalo won an award for being a great read-aloud book, so it’s no surprise it works well as an audiobook. Hollings uses different voices to bring each of the animals to life. The story of a young mouse that invents a frightening creature named the Gruffalo to keep the other animals from eating him will entertain listeners young and old.
(Ages 3 - 7)
by Beatrix Potter, read by Helen Mirren
Actress Helen Mirren narrates this classic Beatrix Potter tale. This story follows a black cat named Miss Catherine St. Quintin - who goes by Kitty and embarks on an exciting adventure when she decides to go a-hunting. Children will rejoice at the familiar faces that pop up in this book.
(Ages 3 - 7)
by Tomie dePaola, read by Allyson Johnson
You can never go wrong with tried-and-true nursery rhymes: they’re clever, easy on the ear, and full of whimsy. Growing bookworms will love letting their imaginations soar while listening to the stories of Jack and Jill, Little Bo-Peep, and other longtime favorites.
(Ages 4 - 8)
by A.A. Milne, narrated by Stephen Fry, Judi Dench, Geoffrey Palmer, and more
A full-cast performance of Winnie-the-Pooh, with British accents to boot? Yes, please! These collected stories — 20 in all — immerse listeners in the antics and friendships of Pooh, Piglet, and company, read by powerhouse actors including the inimitable Judi Dench (as Kanga, of course). The only downside is that it’s a bring-your-own-honey-jar situation. Oh, bother.
(Ages 4 - 8)
by Dr. Seuss, read by Kelsey Grammer, John Cleese, John Lithgow, Billy Crystal, and more
Dr. Seuss is such a fun read-aloud experience, and the actors brought in to narrate these stories make the audiobook supremely entertaining. You can listen to it all at once (during a long car trip, perhaps) or break it up by individual story. The audiobook is formatted into chapters, so you can easily navigate to the particular story your child wants to hear.
(Ages 4 - 8)
by B.J. Novak, read by B. J. Novak and Busy Phillips
Considering this book has no picture to begin with, it's truly only enhanced by the audiobook reading with B.J. Novak and Busy Philips. Laugh out loud with your preschoolers as they listen to the comedians say silly words and sing preposterous songs!
(Ages 5 - 8)
by Junot Díaz, read by Junot Díaz
Read by the author himself, this story follows Lola and her fellow immigrant classmates who are asked to draw a picture of where their families are originally from. The only problem? Lola can't remember The Island, which she left when she was just a baby. With the help of her family and their memories, Lola envisions an extraordinary place full of joy and heartbreak.
(Ages 5 - 8)
*** Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2015 and updated in 2020.
*Blog Link: www.babybookworms.blogspot.ca
It's a wrap!