April 30, 2015

10 Audiobooks for Elementary Schoolers

We are serious audiobook lovers around here, as you know.

Ella is continuing to plow through audiobooks at an astonishing rate, which means I spend a lot of time requesting CDs from the library or making long wish lists on Overdrive.

She's been listening for close to a year now, starting shortly after she turned four. Here are some of our favorite titles that she's listened to since then:

Great books for kids to listen to. These are perfect for quiet time or when you're on the road this summer!

Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White 
I was actually a little sad that she listened to this one, since I was hoping to read it with her, but we were in the middle of some other books together and she was dying to listen to this one, so I let her go ahead. And for several days, I kept hearing trumpeting coming from her room as she listened. This story about a trumpeter swan born without a voice and his resulting journey to learn to speak is one of my childhood favorites.

The Mercy Watson Collection by Kate DiCamillo
Ella used to listen to the Mercy Watson stories on Tumblebooks when she was only 2 (although they were a bit long for her then) and now she often listens to them when she's going to bed because she finds them so comforting. Plus, who doesn't want a story of a pig who loves hot buttered toast?

Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Clearly
I might have had to disown Ella if she didn't love these books. She blazed through every one of the Ramona books, recounting Ramona's antics to me (she especially loved when Ramona invited everyone over for a birthday party without telling her mom). She had way less interest in the Henry Huggins books, sadly.

26 Fairmont Ave by Tomie dePaola
I've meant to listen to/read this series for years and never got around to it, but Ella absolutely loved these stories from Tomie dePaola's life as a little boy at home and school.

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
I know I mentioned these before, but I couldn't leave them off the list. We got a solid six months of quiet time listening out of this series and toward the end, Ella started re-listening to some of her favorites.

Geronimo Stilton
These stories of a mouse who runs a newspaper and is always falling into the craziest adventures were hugely popular when I was a librarian and Ella's loved the audio versions (which are narrated by Edward Herrmann). Happily, there are TONS of these.

Hank the Cowdog by John R. Erickson
We listened to loads of this hilarious series when I was a kid. Ella was equally enamored with the wacky cow dog who is much dumber than he thinks he is.

Frindle by Andrew Clements
I haven't met many children who don't love Andrew Clements (I love his books too), and it delighted me that Ella enjoyed this fun story about a boy who comes up with a new book for a pen - "frindle."

Igraine The Brave by Cornelia Funke
I definitely think Inkheart is too intense for Ella right now, but she loved this other book by Cornelia Funke about a little girl who dreams of being a knight and she told me after that it was her new favorite book.

Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall
After the Boxcar Children had all been listened to, this was the next series that really captured Ella and she listened to as many of the stories of this unlikely friendship as the library could provide.

(P.S. How to get your child hooked on audiobooks!)


  1. I've tried to comment twice already and my computer is staging a revolt. So here's the gist... audio books- awesome. Putting them on a device- scary. Should I get over it? Yes!

    Love your posts, they always send me over to my library website to put things on hold!!

  2. Beezus and Ramona!!! Yes!!! Although my daughter is still only 18 months old, I can't wait to share Beverly Clearly with her (and Laura Ingalls Wilder and LM Montgomery...) I grew up in Brazil and I only started to read English books at around 6-7 when I began to attend an international school. I'm pretty sure the first books I ever checked out at my school's library were Beverly Clearly. Oh, what fond memories of Ramona Quimby!

  3. we've been listening to pretty much all the Ramona series in the car. Love!

  4. I loved Frindle in elementary school! We'll have to read that one with Kyle soon!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Hmm, we haven't listened to any public domain books, so I dont' know!

    2. I've seen My Father's Dragon on librivox, a public domain audiobook library. That's a great one for young kids.

  6. Thanks to you both of my girls now listen to audiobooks during quiet time on separate iPads! We found lots of choices through our library's webpage but I'm always excited for new suggestions (especially since they seem to want the same stories over and over and over every single day!). By the way, I saw your funny comment on Instagram this morning and while I would love, love to have your tiny arms even at this stage post-baby, mine too seem to massively increase during pregnancy and I can't wait to see them start shrinking again soon! I swear, my entire upper body looks like I'm on steroids when I'm pregnant - neck, shoulders, arms, upper back - and it's weird!

  7. Has Ella listened to any of the Rabbit Ears collection of folk tales? They are awesome! Our library system (King County) has tons, and my 5 year old son loves them. He's listening to a story about Sacajawea as we speak. :)

  8. Thanks for the new ideas! My oldest 3 kids listen to audio books every night after their 2 younger siblings go to bed, but we were running out of new inspiration. They don't mind re-listening to old favorites, but nothing holds their interest like a new story! By the way, I read the Ramona books out loud to all 5 of my kids one summer (when they were ages 2-10) and they loved them. We waited a year to read the Henry books and they ended up loving those, too, but the older kids appreciated them more.

  9. I've been trying to get Clara in to audio books and the first was fairly successful (Little Bear); but the biggest obstacle is her brother! He wants to listen to MUSIC! in the car and will say it/scream it until he gets it. Clara isn't quite into quiet time mode yet either, so hopefully we'll be able to make this a successful practice in the near future! As things go, I'm betting Clara will drop her naps officially just when we have a newborn on our hands...

  10. Oh wow!! I remember Hank the Cowdog:) I'll have to try that for my son! I also remember reading Beverly Cleary as a kid and I love everything by Kate DiCamillo! I love this list! Thanks for posting!


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