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Our Favorite Audio Books

We've gathered up dozens of terrific audio books, perfect for car trips, lazy summer afternoons, or any time a good story is in order. You'll connect with some familiar friends — Ramona, Cam Jansen, Alvin Ho, and Nate the Great — plus some new characters with adventures to share. Poetry, folktales, classics, and more in this carefully slected list for kids 3–12 years old. Audio books are also ideal for sharing, even when there are kids of many ages in one group. It's a great way to enjoy a good story and practice listening skills.

26 Fairmount Avenue

By: Tomie dePaola
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

The first in a series of autobiographical chapter books about Tomie dePaola's early years, this story focuses on his family's move from their apartment in Meriden, Connecticut, to the now famous address, 26 Fairmount Avenue. This Newbery Honor book is sprinkled with humorous sketches, and is ideal for reading aloud and for the sharing of family stories.

A Dog on His Own

By: Mary Jane Auch
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

K-10 no longer trusts humans but he's still a special kind of dog just as his mother told him. K-10's unique voice as well as that of the other canines come alive in this spirited narration.

A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans

By: Laurence Yep
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

Miss Drake, a strong-willed dragon, has a new pet, a girl named Winnie who thinks Miss Drake is her pet. When Winnie's sketches come to life, can dragon and girl work together to put things right? Read in an appealing British accent, this is sure to delight listeners of all ages.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee

By: Philip Stead
Illustrated by: Erin Stead
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Every day, Amos McGee goes to his job at the City Zoo where he's attentive to each of his animal friends' special needs. One day, however, Amos doesn't feel well and must miss work and so his friends visit to take care of him. Gentle, expressive illustrations expand this touching tale.

A Single Shard

By: Linda Sue Park
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Tree Ear, a homeless orphan, longs to work as a potter, a respected but competitive employment — especially for a boy who lives under a bridge. Set in 12th century Korea, this Newbery Medal winning novel is as relevant as if it were taking place today.

Ace

By: Dick King-Smith
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

Farmer Tubb wants to sell Ace and his siblings when they reach eight weeks of age. Can Ace, a very bright porker, save them all?

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

By: Lewis Carroll
Illustrated by: Helen Oxenbury
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Lewis Carroll's classic story of Alice and her fantastic journey has been freshly illustrated. Gentle, full-color illustrations retain the original tone and make the story appealing and accessible for modern children.

Alice down the rabbit hole comes to life in this masterful, unabridged reading of the classic fantasy, bringing it to life all over again.

Alvin Ho Collection: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things

By: Lenore Look
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Although 2nd grader Alvin Ho admires superheroes, he is quite unlike them. In fact, he is afraid of everything! Alvin's disarming character is perfectly voiced in this two-book collection.

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, & Other Natural Disasters

By: Lenore Look
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The timid 2nd grader is back, this time fearful of an upcoming camping trip with his father. Alvin's siblings try to help him but actually create a different sort of disaster. Readers will enjoy laughing along with these memorable characters.

American Tall Tales

By: Mary Pope Osborne, Michael McCurdy
Illustrated by: Michael McCurdy
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Meet heroes (and heroines) in these well-told tales of fictitious and actual characters from American folklore. These tales are ideal for reading aloud, and are illustrated with strong-lined wood engravings.

Arthur: Anniversary Collection

By: Marc Brown
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Arthur's everyday world, both real and daydreamed, is presented through a lively narration of four books: Arthur's Mystery Envelope, Arthur Makes the Team, Arthur Accused!, and Arthur and the Lost Diary. Children and adults alike will recognize the concerns and the humor in these gentle sagas.

Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring

By: Jan Greenberg, Sandra Jordan
Illustrated by: Brian Floca
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The combined talent of three geniuses — Martha Graham's choreography, Isamu Noguchi's art, and Aaron Copland's music — brought the ballet "Appalachian Spring" to life in October 1944. Graceful illustrations combine with poetic, highly detailed narrative for a riveting account of this achievement. Notes and sources are included.

Barnaby Grimes: Curse of the Nightwolf

By: Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Barnaby Grimes is a "tick-tock lad," a messenger whose specialty is very fast deliveries, which he achieves by taking the most direct route over the rooftops otherwise known as "highstacking." In Barnaby's first adventure, his deliveries for the strange Dr. Cadwallader lead to his discovery of a monstrous secret. There are three additional books in the series.

Beautiful Blackbird

By: Ashley Bryan
Illustrated by: Ashley Bryan
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

In a story of the Ila people of Zambia, the colorful birds of Africa ask Blackbird, whom they think is the most beautiful of birds, to decorate them with some of his "blackening brew." The story line is simple and the rhythmic chants of the flock frequently interspersed throughout the text add drama and a rapper's cadence to this award-winning book that is ready-made for participative storytelling.

Boxcar Children

By: Gertrude Chandler Warner
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Four orphaned children, Jessie, Henry, Violet and Benny, make a home for themselves in an abandoned red boxcar — that is, until they find they need a caring adult. This is the first in the gentle, ever-popular, now classic series.

Now more than 60 years since it was published, the story of four orphans who make their home in an old railroad car comes to life again.

Brown Girl Dreaming

By: Jacqueline Woodson
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The early years of a girl who grows into a writer has been recreated from family stories combined with memory and presented in verse. Born in February 1963 in Ohio, Woodson's family soon moves to the South during turbulent years. The history of the writer, her family and a nation combine in rich, metaphorical language.

Bud, Not Buddy

By: Christopher Paul Curtis
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Young Bud runs away from the latest and worst foster home in search of his father. Though he doesn't find his father, Bud (not Buddy) does find family, music, and more on his long trek across Michigan during the Depression. In this Newbery-winning novel, both humor and Bud's naive voice make difficult issues accessible to younger readers.

Chains

By: Laurie Halse Anderson
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Isabel, an enslaved 13-year old, and her younger sister are set to be freed but instead are sold to a ruthless Loyalist at the start of the Revolutionary War. Life in New York City during the time comes vividly alive as do the complexities of the war

Charlotte's Web

By: E.B. White
Illustrated by: Garth Williams
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The classic story of friendship and how a spider named Charlotte saves Wilbur, a small pig, from certain death with words in a web is now more than 50 years old. Nonetheless, it remains as fresh as the day it was first written.

Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale

By: Carmen Agra Deedy, Randall Wright
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

Dickens's England comes to life from the perspective of an alley cat.

Clementine and the Family Meeting

By: Sara Pennypacker
Illustrated by: Marla Frazee
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Clementine is afraid that she's in trouble but instead finds out that a new baby is on the way when the family meeting is called.

Cool Zone with the Pain and the Great One

By: Judy Blume
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Jake (aka The Pain), a first grader and his sister, 3rd grader Abigail (aka The Great One), share vignettes in alternating chapters about life and living in their school and at home. Though they are indeed sibling rivals, each child is fiercely loyal to the other and confronts familiar school problems as a duo with verve and humor.

Dark Day in the Deep Sea (Magic Tree House #39)

By: Mary Pope Osborne
Illustrated by: Sal Murdocca
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Travel back to the 19th century with Jack and Annie on another mission for Merlin — this one involving the South Pacific, sea travel with early scientists, and the search for a sea monster.

Dead End in Norvelt

By: Jack Gantos
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This humorous and heartwarming novel takes place during the summer of 1962, when narrator Jack Gantos turns 12 and has been "grounded for life" by his parents. He takes on a summer job writing obituaries filled with stories about the people who founded his Utopian town, Norvelt. Gantos expertly mixes truth and fiction in this book, which won the Newbery award in 2012. For mature readers 9-12 and teens.

Diary of a Spider

By: Doreen Cronin
Illustrated by: Harry Bliss
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

Sound effects and dramatic reading make the humorous saga of an eight-legged hero come to life. Based on the picture book of the same name.

Dominic

By: William Steig
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

On his adventures, Dominique, a singular canine, meets many mysterious creatures. His reputation builds and so do his stories which make this an ideal book to hear expertly read.

Double Fudge

By: Judy Blume
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When the Hatchers visit Washington D.C. so that money-obsessed Fudge can see where it is printed, they run into distant cousins who then invite themselves to stay with their relatives in New York City. Chaos ensues when the families share close quarters, all creating lots of laughs for readers.

Dumpling Days

By: Grace Lin
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

In this 3rd book about Pacy, she and her family plan to go to Taiwan to celebrate her grandmother's birthday.

Emily's Fortune

By: Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When 8-year old Emily is orphaned she heads west to find her kindly Aunt Hilda. Emily's rip-roaring adventure involves a dastardly uncle, a huge fortune, and a good friend. Each chapter ends with a cliffhanger sure to keep even the most reluctant reader reading!

Everything for a Dog

By: Ann M. Martin
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

Bone, a stray dog, narrates the sometimes harrowing tale of how he finds a permanent home, effectively and evenly read.

Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg

By: Gail Carson Levine
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

What happens in Neverland after Peter Pan and Wendy share an adventure? This tale gives us a glimpse into the world of fairies, when our old friend Tinkerbell shows a new fairy the ropes and rescues Neverland from certain doom.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

By: Roald Dahl
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Though the farmers on the three neighboring farms are quite different, each raises some type of poultry, each is very mean and ornery, and each shares their dislike of foxes. Can one fox outwit them? Only a very special, indeed fantastic Mr. Fox can — and does! A movie version of the book, just right for reading aloud, is due out in November 2009.

Feathers

By: Jacqueline Woodson
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Narrator Frannie keenly observes the changing dynamics in her classroom when a new white student arrives. Frannie also frets about her family — her deaf brother isolated from the hearing world and her pregnant mother prone to miscarriages.

Flat Stanley: His Original Adventure

By: Jeff Brown
Illustrated by: Macky Pamintuan
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Life as a paper-thin boy is not all bad as Stanley finds out. He was flattened by a bulletin board bit adjusts quite well with the help of his parents to his new dimensions — all of which makes for very funny reading (and travels in later books about Stanley and his family).

Freckle Juice & The One in the Middle Is the Green Kangaroo

By: Judy Blume
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Children will recognize themselves and everyday problems in these two modern classics.

Frog and Toad

By: Arnold Lobel
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The four easy readers, modern classics, are effectively read by their author and sprinkled with music and sound effects.

Generation Fix: Young Ideas for a Better World

By: Elizabeth Rusch
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Young people see a need and work to better their world in this upbeat chronicle of youthful activists.

George Washington, Spymaster

By: Thomas Allen
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Espionage played an important role in defeating the British, as is demonstrated in this cleverly-formatted, intriguing book.

Greek Myths

By: Ann Turnbull
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

Sophisticated listeners will appreciate the dramatic readings of Greek myths.

Green Eggs and Ham and other Servings of Dr. Seuss

By: Dr. Seuss
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Nine books by the tongue-tangling master of comedy come alive through animated readings, punctuated with music. Seuss' language is engaging to hear, even without his distinctive illustrations, in these adept and lively rhyming stories.

Hattie Big Sky

By: Kirby Larson
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

For years, sixteen-year-old Hattie's been shuttled between relatives. Tired of being Hattie Here-and-There, she courageously leaves Iowa to prove up on her late uncle's homestead claim in Montana. Despite many hardships, Hattie forges ahead, sharing her adventures with her friends through letters and articles for her hometown paper.

Haunted Castle on Hallow's Eve (Magic Tree House #30)

By: Mary Pope Osborne
Illustrated by: Sal Murdocca
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Annie and Jack go back in time to Camelot to a haunted castle to find the Stone of Destiny. Their quest involves lots of spooky things as well as an apprentice wizard, Morgan LeFay's nephew.

Higher Power of Lucky

By: Susan Patron
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Ten-year old Lucky lives in a small California desert town with her guardian Brigitte, her father's ex. Lucky's "family" also includes the adults at the 12-Step meetings she eavesdrops on. When Lucky begins to worry that Brigitte will return to her native France, she searches for her own "higher power." This title is a Newbery Award winner.

Home of the Brave

By: Katherine Applegate
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This novel, written in free verse, tells the story of Kek, an eleven-year-old boy from the Sudan who arrives as a refugee to Minnesota in the middle of winter. In moments both amusing and heartbreaking, it is possible to see through Kek's eyes what it is like for new immigrants who come to this country and to think about the scars that war leaves on its youngest victims. Teacher's Guide available.

Hooray for Anna Hibiscus

By: Atinuke
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Anna Hibiscus and her life in contemporary Africa come to life occasionally using authentic-sounding accents to create a strong sense of place.

Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories

By: Dr. Seuss
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Classic Seuss rhymes and illustrations of stories that have only been published heretofore in magazines are put together in a new collection. Adults will appreciate the introduction by Seuss scholar, Charles Cohen, while children will enjoy seeing well-loved characters (Horton and the Grinch, for example) in "new" stories.

How to Catch a Bogle

By: Catherine Jinks
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Family

Bogle-catching in Victorian England is comes alive in this deliciously spooky tale effectively presented in an accented voice and a capella singing.

Jazz

By: Walter Dean Myers
Illustrated by: Christopher Myers
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Experience the explosion of color and movement of jazz as you pulsate with its beat in a vibrant series of poems and paintings. This father-and-son team explores a variety of jazz forms in an unforgettable book.

In 2008, the first Odyssey Award for distinguished children's/young adult audiobook was presented to this read-along title. This package brings together the illustrations of the book with the featured Jazz music.

Julie Andrews' Collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies

By: Emma Walton Hamilton, Julie Andrews
Illustrated by: Jim McMullan
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A range of poetic styles, some rooted in the authors' family, are shared in this handsome, easily accessible collection. Attractive illustrations are sprinkled throughout, building the joy when the poems are shared, even when listening to the beautifully read CD.

Just So Stories & Other Tales

By: Rudyard Kipling
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Find out why the camel has a hump, how the elephant got his trunk and how a small fish changed the whale's taste forever. Boris Karloff's distinctive voice and style breathe new life to the audio book version of these familiar tales.

Little House in the Big Woods

By: Laura Wilder
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

Meet Laura and her family in this first of the Little House series in their cozy Wisconsin log home. Setting and characters come alive through the vivid detail of family life and living in the 1870s. The calm narration mitigates the more explicit particulars of pioneer life.

Malcolm at Midnight

By: W. H. Beck
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

Malcolm the rat narrates his adventures in Mr. Binney's fifth-grade class. At night, the school comes alive with the Midnight Academy, a secret society of classroom pets that protects the school. When the leader (an iguana named Aggy) goes missing, Malcolm sets out to find Aggy to ensure her safety and to clear his name.

Marvin One Too Many

By: Katherine Paterson
Illustrated by: Jane Clark Brown
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Marvin's excitement about first grade quickly dwindles when his name doesn't appear on the list and the class is short one desk. Add to that the fact that he struggles to read, well, it's clear that he's just "one too many." Things improve when Marvin's parents find out what is going on and his father shares his difficulty learning to read.

Mary Poppins

By: Mo Willems
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The Banks family, their children, and a most amazing Mary Poppins are brought to life through the narrator’s spot-on British accent.

Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse

By: Marilyn Singer
Illustrated by: Josee Masse
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Everyone knows that there are two sides to every story. Read a cleverly illustrated poem one way for one side; read the same poem in reverse and learn the other. Well known fairy tales are presented through reversible poems sure to intrigue sophisticated readers of all ages. Each book comes with a CD, so pop it in and follow along!

Mr. Popper's Penguins

By: Richard Atwater, Florence Atwater
Illustrated by: Florence Atwater
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When Admiral Drake sends a penguin named Captain Cook to the Popper family, Mr. Popper's dreams of seeing the world begin to come true. Humor abounds in this early Newbery Honor book as readers follow Mr. Popper and his penguins to Antarctica.

Muddle Earth

By: Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

With a bit of a nod to J.R.R. Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings, Muddle Earth follows the quest of Joe, an ordinary boy from Earth who has been summoned to Muddle Earth by the wizard Randalf to fight evil in this realm where things are quite muddled and anything can happen — from stampeding silverware to exploding gas frogs.

Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!

By: Candace Fleming
Illustrated by: G. Brian Karas
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Try as he might, Mr. McGreely cannot outwit three clever and hungry rabbits as they feast on his vegetable garden — muncha, muncha, muncha! But there's always something to be grateful for as both the gardener and the rabbits learn in this funny, alliterative tale.

Nate the Great Series

By: Marjorie Sharmat
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Nate the Great has been delighting beginning readers for 30 years. The quirky characters and simple, clever storylines are a big hit with kids – all of whom love to solve each mystery alongside the most popular sleuth in the business.

Once Upon a Timeless Tale Collection

By: Miriam Margolyes
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

Familiar tales such as "Little Red Riding Hood" and "The Princess and the Pea" have been faithfully retold and dramatically read.

Only Passing Through

By: Anne Rockwell
Illustrated by: Anne Rockwell
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

This brief biography begins when 9-year-old Isabella is sold at a slave auction in Kingston, New York. It continues as she transforms into the woman best known as Sojourner Truth, an outspoken critic of slavery and proponent of women's rights. Also included are a dramatic reading of Truth's famous "Ain't I a Woman" speech and a stirring hymn written and often sung by Truth.

Percy Jackson's Greek Gods

By: Rick Riordan
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon and a human woman (and title character in the Olympian series of novels) retells traditional Greek myths. His voice is informal and chatty, adding contemporary insight and drama. The tellings are punctuated by handsome, theatrical illustrations in a satisfyingly large format.

Poems and Folktales

By: Ashley Bryan
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Have you ever wondered why there is thunder and lightning? Hear this Nigerian folktale and other tales (as well as original poems) retold and shared by a master storyteller, artist, and writer. Ashley Bryan's distinctive style and resonant voice echo the techniques of traditional griots.

Princess Posey and the Tiny Treasure

By: Stephanie Greene
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Posey learns about consequences firsthand when her much-loved toy is taken away in school. The gentle story is pleasantly narrated.

Rabbit Ears Treasury of World Tales: Volume Two

By: Rabbit Ears
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Listen in to these two classic tales — about princes and princesses — read with character and energy by Oscar-winning actors Williams and Thompson.

Ralph S. Mouse

By: Beverly Cleary
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Ralph is a mouse who speaks human and lives at the Mountain View Inn run by Ryan’s family. The fun starts when Ralph’s motorcycle breaks and he convinces Ryan to take him to a mysterious place called school. Characters come to life through the lively narration.

Ramona Quimby, Age 8

By: Beverly Cleary
Illustrated by: Beverly Cleary
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

Ramona is ready for the challenges of a new school — without her older sister. It's a year of change for the Quimby family and if everyone else can adjust, so can Ramona. The normal challenges of family life come alive here with verve and humor.

Ramona's World

By: Beverly Cleary, Tracy Dockray
Illustrated by: Tracy Dockray
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Ramona, now starting 4th grade, gets a teacher who is a stickler for proper spelling. Ramona is propelled into writing a letter when she finds an error in an advertisement — all with the verve and humor readers expect of Ramona.

Reading in the Wild: The Book Whisperer's Keys to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits

By: Donalyn Miller
Age Level: Adult
Reading Level: Professional

A companion to the bestselling The Book Whisperer, Reading in the Wild explores whether or not we are truly instilling lifelong reading habits in our students and provides practical strategies for teaching "wild" reading. Based on survey responses from over 900 adult readers and classroom feedback, Reading in the Wild offers solid advice and strategies on how to develop, encourage and assess key lifelong reading habits, including dedicating time for reading, planning for future reading, and defining oneself as a reader. Includes advice for supporting the love of reading by explicitly teaching lifelong reading habits. Contains accessible strategies, ideas, tips, lesson plans and management tools along with lists of recommended books. [Amazon review]

Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook

By: Shel Silverstein
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Runny Babbit talk is created by spoonerisms, switching the first sound in a pair of words, so a "silly book" becomes a "billy sook." Kids build their phonemic awareness without even trying! The audio book narrator's slightly gravelly voice is ideal for sharing these funny poems (completed though not published before the popular poet's death in 1999).

Scarecrow and His Servant

By: Phillip Pullman
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A not-too-bright scarecrow accompanies Jack on the adventure of a lifetime, far away from the field and birds.

Shiloh

By: Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Family

Eleven year old Marty must decide whether or not to return an abused beagle to its rightful owner, an unkind man. His dilemma includes hiding the dog, Shiloh, telling his parents the truth, and more in this riveting, award-winning novel which is ideal to read aloud with slightly sophisticated listeners. It was adapted into a live action film in 2000.

Shrek!

By: William Steig
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Ugly ogre parents make an even uglier ogre son named Shrek. Of course Shrek seeks (on the back of a donkey) and finds a bride — an ogress even uglier than he! Enjoy the rich language used in the now 20-years-old and still-funny picture book that inspired a movie adaptation.

Songs from the Baobab

By: Chantal Grosleziat
Illustrated by: Elodie Nouhen
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

This handsomely illustrated book is accompanied by a CD of songs and lullabies from various parts of Africa.

Stallion by Starlight

By: Mary Pope Osborne
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Siblings Jack and Annie time travel to ancient Greece to help Alexander the Great, successfully read by the book's author.

Stink the Incredible Shrinking Kid

By: Megan McDonald
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Stink's real name is James, just like President James Madison. And like Madison, Stink is short — a notion constantly reinforced by his older sister Judy. Stink, however, learns how to cope with it while along the way learning about U.S. presidents.

Stink: Solar System Superhero

By: Megan McDonald
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

"Honk if you love Pluto!" The latest adventures of Stink, Judy Moody's rambunctious little brother, will make young listeners laugh out loud.

Superfudge

By: Judy Blume
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Peter is now 12 and still tormented by younger brother, Fudge. And then he learns that his parents want to leave New York City for some time in the country — and a new baby in the family. One Fudge is bad enough, but how will Peter cope with yet another? Humor abounds in this recognizable tale.

T. Rex

By: Vivian French
Illustrated by: Alison Bartlett
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

A child and his grandfather visit a museum to meet the T. Rex and explore what happened to the creature. Additional information is included on the CD.

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

By: Judy Blume
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Meet the Hatchers through the voice of Peter, the oldest of son, tormented (as all siblings are) by his younger and perennially "cute" brother, Farley (better known as Fudge). Their life in an apartment in New York City sparkles with humor and plausible family scenes in this first of the stories of Peter, his family, and ultimately his neighbors.

The Bippolo Seed & Other Lost Stories

By: Dr. Seuss
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Seven stories published only before in magazines have been put together in a fresh volume introduced by a Seuss scholar and sure to delight the doctor's fans.

The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child

By: Donalyn Miller
Age Level: Adult
Reading Level: Professional

Donalyn Miller is a dedicated teacher who says she has yet to meet a child she couldn't turn into a reader. In this book, Miller takes us inside her sixth grade classroom to reveal the secrets of her powerful but unusual instructional approach. Rejecting book reports, comprehension worksheets, and other aspects of conventional instruction, Miller embraces giving students an individual choice in what they read, combined with a program for independent reading. She also focuses on building a classroom library of high-interest books, and above all on modeling appropriate and authentic reading behaviors. Her zeal for reading is infectious and inspiring, and the results speak for themselves. No matter how far behind Miller's students may be when they start out, they end up reading an average of forty books per year, achieving high scores on standardized tests, and internalizing a love for reading that lasts long after they've left her class. [Amazon review]

The Bunnicula Collection: Books 1 to 3

By: Deborah and James Howe
Illustrated by: Deborah and James Howe
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Family

Harold the family dog narrates three stories of life with supernatural suspicions which begins with Bunnicula, the bunny with fangs. In the Howliday Inn while boarding at the Chateau Bow-Wow, Harold and Chester (the Monroe cat) encounter a werewolf, perhaps. Chester and Harold must stop zombie vegetables when the Celery Stalks at Midnight. Over-the-top humor is very appealing to a broad range of listeners (including adults!).

The Crossover

By: Kwame Alexander
Age Level: Teen
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The Bell twins are stars on the basketball court and comrades in life. While there are some differences—Josh shaves his head and Jordan loves his locks—both twins adhere to the Bell basketball rules: In this game of life, your family is the court, and the ball is your heart. With a former professional basketball player dad and an assistant principal mom, there is an intensely strong home front supporting sports and education in equal measures. When life intervenes in the form of a hot new girl, the balance shifts and growing apart proves painful. An accomplished author and poet, Alexander eloquently mashes up concrete poetry, hip-hop, a love of jazz, and a thriving family bond. The effect is poetry in motion. It is a rare verse novel that is fundamentally poetic rather than using this writing trend as a device. There is also a quirky vocabulary element that adds a fun intellectual note to the narrative. This may be just the right book for those hard-to-match youth who live for sports or music or both.

The Doll People

By: Ann M. Martin, Laura Godwin
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

The first in the series of adventures shared between Annabelle Doll and Tiffany Funcraft and their families is well-voiced in a light British accent.

The Game of Silence

By: Louise Erdrich
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Like its predecessor The Birchbark House, this long-awaited sequel is framed by catastrophe, but the core of the story, which is set in 1850, is white settlers' threats to the traditional Ojibwe way of life. Omakayas is now nine and living at her beautiful island home in Lake Superior. But whites want Ojibwe off the island: Where will they go? In addition to an abundance of details about life through the seasons, Erdrich deals with the wider meaning of family and Omakayas' coming-of-age on a vision quest. — Booklist

The Heart of a Chief

By: Joseph Bruchac
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Chris's life is complicated. At school, he's been selected to lead a project on sports teams with Indian names. At home, where his father is battling alcoholism on the Penacook reservation, the Indians are divided about building a casino. It would destroy the beautiful island Chris thinks of as his own. What can one sixth-grade boy can do in the midst of so many challenges?

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

By: Brian Selznick
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Image and text combine in a unique presentation to tell the story of an orphan boy who lives between the walls of a Paris train station and repairs its clocks. Monochromatic illustrations change perspective and move in and out, and alternate with text to tell this mysterious, breathtaking, and riveting tale. Winner of the 2008 Caldecott Medal.

The Lightning Thief

By: Rick Riordan
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Percy Jackson is a 21st century son of the ancient Greek god Poseidon on the biggest adventure of his young life — a quest to find out who stole Zeus's lightening bolt! Together with his trusted friends, Percy travels through the United States, battling monsters and hunting the elusive title character.

The Lion and the Mouse

By: Jerry Pinkney
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The well-known fable about how the smallest creature — a mouse — saves the majestic lion is a tale of kindness returned. Here it is effectively recast as a wordless story in a new setting. Stunning illustrations are expressive and emotive, evoking Africa's Serengeti while retaining the tale's power.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

By: C.S. Lewis
Illustrated by: C.S. Lewis
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When siblings, Peter, Susan, Lucy and Edmund are sent away from London air-raids during World War II, they are placed with an old man in the country. There, they enter another time and place through an old wardrobe found by Lucy. This early installment in the Narnia Chronicles has been lovingly adapted into a sophisticated 2005 movie.

The Lorax

By: Dr. Seuss
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This powerful, classic fable from Dr. Seuss deftly sums up the cost of human progress to the natural environment, including the destruction of animals, trees, and fresh water and air. A glimmer of hope is left at the end, however: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." Related lesson plans and limited Spanish copies available.

The Magic Tree House Collection: Books 1-8

By: Mary Pope Osborne
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Join siblings Annie and Jack on their first eight magical adventures as read by the author.

The Meanest Doll in the World

By: Ann M. Martin, Laura Godwin
Illustrated by: Brian Selznick
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Family

Because of a mix-up, best doll friends Annabelle and Tiffany are sent to the wrong house where they must deal with Mimi, a doll who thinks she's the queen of all and whose behavior is perfectly ghastly. Readers who were first introduced to these characters in Doll People will enjoy seeing them again.

The Mercy Watson Collection: Volume 1

By: Kate DiCamillo
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Mercy, the delightful pig adopted by the Watson family, gets mixed up in all kinds of humorous adventures in this collection from Newbery winner Kate DiCamillo.

The Moffats

By: Eleanor Estes
Illustrated by: Eleanor Estes
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

Joe, Jane, Sylvie, and young Rufas — the Moffat children — live with their widowed mother on New Dollar Street in Cranbury, Connecticut. Though they live in the early 20th century, the clear characterizations bring each Moffat alive for a new generation and provide a reminder that family life and laughter can be timeless.

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette

By: Jeanne Birdsall
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This summer vacation is different without father and the oldest Penderwick but offers lots of laughs along the way.

The People Could Fly: The Picture Book

By: Virginia Hamilton
Illustrated by: Diane Dillon, Leo Dillon
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

To escape the horrors of slavery, some people who remembered the old magic flew away from their enslavement. This is a richly illustrated homage to the reteller of the folktale (that first appeared in a 1985 collection) and to the dignity and history of African Americans.

The Shoe Bird: A Musical Fable

By: Barbara M. Joosse
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

An absurd but satisfying fantasy based on Eudora Welty's only children’s work, is presented in lively music and narration.

The Tale of Despereaux

By: Kate DiCamillo, Timothy Basil Ering
Illustrated by: Timothy Basil Ering
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Family

Distinct stories which involve a mouse, a human princess, and a rat seamlessly come together to surprise and absorb readers as they see the struggle between light and dark in this Newbery-winning novel.

The Thief Lord

By: Cornelia Funke
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When orphans Prosper, age 12, and Bo, age 5, run away to Venice, they find themselves in the company of a gang of teens who live in an abandoned movie theater and rob the rich to survive. A little bit of mystery, a little bit of fantasy, and a lot of the Venetian setting.

The Watsons Go To Birmingham - 1963

By: Christopher Paul Curtis
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Fourth-grader Kenny goes with his older brother Byron and his parents on a road trip from Flint, Michigan to the South, where Byron will be spending the summer with his grandparents, away from the temptations of city life. Curtis mixes humor with the volatility of the South in the summer of 1963.

The Willoughbys

By: Lois Lowry
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Sophisticated readers (and fans of Lemony Snicket) will appreciate the sly humor and word play in this outrageously funny take-off on novels of yesteryear. Here, the Willoughby children must overcome their self-centered parents who ultimately meet their rightful — and very satisfying — end.

The outrageous, old-fashioned tale is read skillfully for maximum humor and effect.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

By: Frank Baum
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

This beloved fantasy begins in Kansas when Dorothy Gale and her dog, Toto, are transported to another land by way of a cyclone. There she meets the Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman, and Cowardly Lion as well as a host of other extraordinary characters. The movie classic, released in 1939, retains the essence of this quintessentially American tale which was first published in 1900.

Think of an Eel

By: Karen Wallace
Illustrated by: Mike Bostock
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

An eel from the Sargasso Sea is a fascinating subject as presented in this brief look at an eel's lifecycle. Further information is included on the CD.

This Is Not My Hat

By: Jon Klassen
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The narrator, a very small fish, snitches a much larger fish's hat and hides out where he thinks no one can see him. The wordless conclusion is humorous and satisfying in this stylized, expressively illustrated book sure to generate conversations among readers.

Three Tales of My Father's Dragon

By: Ruth Stiles Gannett
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

This trilogy begins with Elmer rescuing a baby dragon and continues by following their adventures, which range from humorous to heroic. The first in the series, "My Father's Dragon" is a Newbury Honor book.

Tom

By: Tomie dePaola
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The simple, plain text tells of the close relationship between Tommy and his namesake grandfather, Tom. They read the comics together, act out poems, make up stories, and play practical jokes.

Treasury for All Seasons: Poems and Songs to Celebrate the Year

By: Julie Andrews, Emma Walton Hamilton
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Family

There's something for every member of the family in this carefully selected and expertly performed poetry by a well-known mother-daughter team.

When We Were Very Young & Now We Are Six

By: A.A. Milne
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Milne's classic glimpse of childhood and childhood activities comes to life again through the narrator's rich and varied voice. Humor and insight abound in the range of poems, with an occasional visit from Pooh and Christopher Robin.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

By: Grace Lin
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Minli embarks on a journey to change the luck of her family and their village. Traditional stories inspired by Chinese folklore combine with a rousing adventure for an altogether satisfying tale. Richly-hued illustrations decorate and enhance the handsome novel.

Where The Wild Things Are

By: Maurice Sendak
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Max's imaginative adventure begins the night he wears his wolf suit and makes some mischief. When he is sent to his room to cool off, he travels to the land of the Wild Things, where he is crowned king. This beloved Caldecott-winning classic is also available in Spanish.

Go on a reading adventure with Reading Rockets' Where the Wild Things Are family literacy bag, available in English and Spanish!

Winnie-the-Pooh

By: A.A. Milne
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

The adventure of Christopher Robin, his friends, Pooh ("the bear of very little brain"), and the other animals in the Hundred Acre Wood remain as fresh as Milne's language and Shepard's line illustrations, presented here on sturdy, cream-colored pages. The narrator's voice of the audio book is well-matched for the tone of A. A. Milne's writing.

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Dr. Joanne Meier
Dr. Joanne Meier
February 14, 2014
Start with a Book: Read. Talk. Explore.
"Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words!" — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, 1943