5 of the Best Fascinating and Captivating Audiobooks for Ages 3 and Up

The Best New Audiobooks for Ages 4-6+
AudioFile for The Children’s Book Review

This month AudioFile Editors have five excellent audiobooks for young listeners, including works that delve into history, explore the world of animals, highlight the importance of protecting the Earth, and more. Listeners will be delighted to hear of epic spelling bees, lively wildlife, and all of the work and love that goes into preparing for a luau. We recommend pairing these audiobooks with their accompanying picture books to appreciate the stunning artwork, especially the Caldecott Award-winning illustrations by Michaela Goade.

The People Remember: Audiobook Cover

Story by Ibi Zoboi

Read by Robin Miles and Ibi Zoboi [Note]

Ages 4+ | Harper Audio | 24 mins. | Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Narrator Robin Miles uses a unique cadence to fit this lyrical history of the Africans and their descendants who were brought by force to the Americas during the transatlantic slave trade. The story’s audible backbone is Robin Miles’s perfect pacing and well-placed emphasis. Her tone rises and falls through generations, wars, births, deaths, and joys, as the listener hears history and the repeated phrase: “the people remember.” The “people” are the many proud tribes and nations of Africa and generations of their children. Through their history, the listener learns the reason for the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Recommended for listening year-round. Review »

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Story by Stacey Abrams

Read by Stacey Abrams

Ages 4+ | Harper Audio | 14 mins. | Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Voting rights activist Stacey Abrams portrays herself when she was a schoolgirl who loved words and their different sounds. When a beloved teacher invites her to represent her school at the county spelling bee, Abrams wants to participate but admits fearing she will “mess up.” Most moving and fun are her “Extraordinary Words” notebook and the lively adjectives she uses to describe her favorite words. Her youthfully enthusiastic delivery takes listeners into her world, including the spelling bee, while the realistic announcer adds atmosphere. The story is a delightful listen. Review »

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SOLITARY ANIMALS- Introverts of the Wild: Audiobook Cover

Story by Joshua David Stein

Read by Joshua David Stein

Ages 3+ | Listening Library | 6 mins. | Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Joshua David Stein performs his clever story in an animated voice that is a fine accompaniment to the tinkling of page-turn chimes and realistic sound effects. Stein teaches all about solitary animals (human and nonhuman) and collective nouns (for example, “a dazzle of zebras”). His playful language weaves through elephants trumpeting, zebras snorting, and panthers purring, among others. With gentleness and congeniality, Stein asks questions about animals who are loners and their human counterparts (aka introverts) and answers with equal parts enthusiasm and encouragement. This delightful parade of animal facts, musical words, and sweet lessons on solitary creatures is sure to please any crowd. Review »

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Story by Carole Lindstrom

Read by Carole Lindstrom

Ages 3+ | Weston Woods Studios | 11 mins. | Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

In a compelling audiovisual production of their Caldecott Medal-winning picture book, the Indigenous author/narrator and illustrator team of Carole Lindstrom and Michaela Goade encourage young listeners to become stewards of the Earth. An Indigenous child takes her grandmother’s words, “Water is sacred,” to heart as she boldly encounters the “black snake” that threatens her community’s water resources and fragile connections with nature. A captivating musical score and natural sound effects such as flowing water complement Lindstrom’s narration. The audiobook is best when paired with the picture book, as Goade’s artwork provides an essential visual context for the narrative. Review »

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Ohana Means Family Audiobook

Story by Ilima Loomis

Read by Hokuao Pellegrino, Lois Leinani Whitney, and Ilima Loomis [Note]

Ages 3+ | Live Oak Media | 10 mins. | Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Love for the traditions and culture of the Hawaiian people is evident in this audiobook, which includes the voices of three narrators from the Aloha State. Traditional music, sound effects of laughter and lapping waves, and Hawaiian words transport listeners to the countryside as a family prepares the poi for a traditional farm-to-table luau. With a slow pace and quiet tone, Lois Whitney enhances the serene atmosphere of the poetic text. Hokuao Pellegrino reads the glossary of Hawaiian terms, while Ilima Loomis narrates her author’s note. The authentic dialect of each narrator lifts the audiobook off the printed page. Review »

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This list, 5 of the Best Fascinating and Captivating Audiobooks for Ages 3 and Up, was curated by AudioFile. AudioFile is an independent source of audiobook reviews and recommendations with a clear focus on the performance and listening experience. AudioFile Earphones Awards are given to exceptional audiobooks. To learn more, visit audiofilemagazine.com, Twitter @AudioFileMag, and Facebook @audiofilemagazine.

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February 12, 2022 at 01:16PM AudioFile