Books by Theme
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, Alvin Ho, and Nate the Great — plus some new characters with adventures to share. Poetry, folktales, classics, and more in this carefully selected list.
26 Fairmount Avenue
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 Single Shard
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. (2002 Newbery Medal Winner)
Alvin Ho Collection: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things
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.
Because of Winn-Dixie
When Opal meets (and rescues) a dog in a Winn Dixie grocery store, the shaggy hound gains a name, a friend and a home. He also becomes the catalyst to bring a community together. Humor and goodwill are the hallmarks of this imaginative tale.
Bud, Not Buddy
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. (2000 Newbery Medal Winner)
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.
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!
Fantastic Mr. Fox
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 was released in November 2009.
Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures
The small squirrel rescued from a super vacuum cleaner by 10-year old Flora emerges hairless but with new superpowers. Newly named Ulysses, the squirrel cracks Flora's protective cynicism as she copes with her parents' separation. Humor and pathos combine in text and illustration in this humorous, memorable and poignant novel. (2014 Newbery Medal Winner)
George's Marvelous Medicine
When young George concocts a medicine in an attempt to alter his old grandmother's nasty disposition, he quickly loses control of the situation for a laugh-out-loud listen. Appropriately narrated in a British accent, this is vintage Dahl (with a hint of sardonic humor).
Hiawatha and the Peacemaker
The author retells the saga of Hiawatha who with the Peacemaker was instrumental in creating the federation of tribes, known as the Great Iroquois Nation. Dramatic illustrations evoke mystery and drama to complement the straightforward narration. An author’s note concludes this sophisticated, unique and handsome book.
Jump Back Paul: The Life and Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar
Experience the breadth and depth of Paul Laurence Dunbar's poetry. From his childhood in poverty and his early promise as a poet through his struggles to find acceptance as a writer and his tumultuous romance with his wife, to his immense fame and his untimely death, Dunbar's story is one of triumph and tragedy. But his legacy remains in his much-beloved poetry — told in both Standard English and in dialect — which continues to delight and inspire readers today.
Little House in the Big Woods
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.
Moon Over Manifest
The movement of the train rocked me like a lullaby. I closed my eyes to the dusty countryside and imagined the sign I’d seen only in Gideon’s stories: Manifest—A Town with a rich past and a bright future. Abilene Tucker feels abandoned. Her father has put her on a train, sending her off to live with an old friend for the summer while he works a railroad job. Armed only with a few possessions and her list of universals, Abilene jumps off the train in Manifest, Kansas, aiming to learn about the boy her father once was. (2011 Newbery Medal Winner)
Nate the Great Series
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.
On the Blue Comet
The Great Depression changed everything for 11-year-old Oscar and his widowed dad. Oscar's prized model trains are sold, his dad leaves Illinois to find work in California, and Oscar begins an adventure through time and places after he jumps onto a model train.
Our Only May Amelia
Twelve-year-old tomboy May Amelia Jackson, the youngest of seven children and the only girl in a Finnish immigrant family, lives in the wilderness along the Nasel River in Washington State in 1899. Through May Amelia's travels, readers witness the diverse ways of life in the expanding West: peaceful relations with the Chinook Indians, the dangers posed by the neighboring logging camp, her aunt's life in the nearby boomtown of Astoria, Oregon, as well as the rhythms of the seasons.
Percy Jackson's Greek Gods
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.
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.
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.
Stink the Incredible Shrinking Kid
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.
The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate
Girls didn’t always have the freedom to choose what they wanted to do. This is certainly true for Callie Tate, the only girl in her family. How she follows her interests and deals with not being taken seriously is revealed in rich, well-paced language. Callie’s story started in The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate though both books can be read without the other. Both will appeal to sophisticated readers.
The Mouse and the Motorcycle
While on a family vacation in California, the Gridleys stay in an old hotel where a mouse named Ralph finds a toy motorcycle and meets Keith, the youngest Gridley. Thus begins a friendship and a memorable adventure of a mouse on a motorcycle. Ralph's adventures continue in Ralph S. Mouse (1982).
The One and Only Ivan
Ivan lives in a "domain" at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall. In evocative language and gentle illustrations Ivan's story unfolds through his touching, taut, yet hopeful narration. It's a chronicle of friendship, loyalty, and the power of art. (2013 Newbery Medal Winner)
The Tale of Despereaux
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. (2004 Newbery Nedal Winner)
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.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
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.
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