I often talk to my students about having books on hand to read when they have a spare moment: in the line at the grocery store, while waiting at a doctor’s office, anywhere they can find a spare minute to dive into a story. I try to model living a reading life by infusing books into my own day whenever I can. When I moved to New York and started teaching at my current school, my daily commute went from a two-minute walk to a forty-five-minute drive. Unexpectedly, this became an opportunity for me to grow my reading life through audiobooks.
If you are an educator or a librarian looking to listen to more audiobooks, I highly recommend signing up for Libro.fm’s free Audiobook Listening Copy program. ALCs are upcoming or recently released audio titles. Each month, the program offers a mix of middle grade and YA titles, as well as a few picture book titles told in the audio format.
Listening to audiobooks has allowed me to grow my reading life, further my knowledge of contemporary children’s literature, and connect with students who prefer to read in the audio format. Here are a few audiobook titles I’ve listened to through the ALC program that I recommend for other educators:
Simon B. Rhymin’ by Dwane Reed
This fabulous middle-grade title is made even better in the audiobook format. Dwane Reed both authored the book and narrated the audiobook. Simon’s rapping comes alive through Dwane’s voice and the addition of musical elements, making this book an engaging one for readers who are getting started with audiobooks.
Santiago’s Road Home by Alexandra Diaz
This young-adult title follows Santiago as he crosses the U.S.-Mexico border in pursuit of a better life. The audiobook was so gripping that I found myself sitting in my car to finish another chapter after my commute home was over. This story is a must-read (or must-listen!).
My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero
If you teach the elementary grades, you may have heard of My Papi Has a Motorcycle. I loved this book when reading a physical copy, and fell in love with it again in the audio format. This book is a treasure and is a great example of a picture book adapted well to audio.
When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed
When Stars Are Scattered managed to be both my favorite physical book of 2020 and my favorite audiobook of 2020. If you haven’t read it in the graphic novel format, I encourage you to seek it out today. Omar Mohamed’s story of growing up in a refugee camp is beautifully brought to life by Victoria Jamieson’s illustrations. The audiobook is an absolute treasure, told in a multi-cast format with different narrators voicing each character. Omar’s story will stick with you far beyond the last pages of the book and the last minutes of the audio, and you will find yourself wanting to revisit his story again and again.
Happy reading and listening!