Here are some tips for choosing audio books for children, suggested by Shannon Maughan, audio book expert at Publishers Weekly, and Sharon Grover, youth services librarian in Arlington, Va.
●Choose age-appropriate titles, so that kids don't get bored or frustrated in understanding the book.
●Consider the narrator's accent and reading style. For example, many younger children have trouble understanding a pronounced British accent (Jim Dale's "softened'' British accent in the Harry Potter books is an exception).
●Plot-driven narratives or those with highly developed characters work best for audio books. Nonfiction doesn't always work well because the narrative often is not the strong point. Biographies, however, are an exception.
Here's a list of some particularly good audio books for kids, drawn from interviews with various experts, including Ms. Maughan and Ms. Grover:
●The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling, read by Jim Dale.
●The Narnia books by C.S. Lewis, read by top British actors, including Kenneth Branagh and Lynn Redgrave.
●The His Dark Materials triology (The Golden Compass and others) by Philip Pullman, done with a full cast.
●A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, read by Tim Curry.
●The Ramona books by Beverly Cleary, read by Stockard Channing.
●Books by Garth Nix, including Sabriel, read by Tim Curry.
●Wee Free Men and A Hatful of Sky by Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs.
●The Sally Lockart trilogy by Philip Pullman, read by Anton Lesser.
●Raven's Gate by Anthony Horowitz, read by Simon Prebble.
●The Geronimo Stilton series, read by Edward Herrmann.
- Karen MacPherson