Wednesday, January 7, 2015

12 Years of Audiobooks with the Kids

Books have been a huge part of my life since I was very young and I wanted to instill that love in my kids. So I bought them books every chance I got, starting with baby books and progressing to the adult books they read today. Our family currently has a home library in excess of 14,000 books (not including what's on both of my Kindles). However, reading out loud to them killed my throat. Until the day I had a lightbulb moment. Audiobooks! And a tradition was born. Every evening we listened to 1 disk of an audiobook. Once everyone was in school I changed it to a disk on school nights, so we would listen Sun-Thurs with weekends off. We would get slack in the summer, but we didn't stop listening completely. More than 12 years have gone by and we are still listening. We started with A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket and are currently listening to The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. With my daughter graduating this year the fate of the audiobook is up in the air. Will the boys continue on? Or stop in favor of reading their own books in that time slot? I guess it depends on if we find a series we enjoy. We're almost caught up to the newest Dresden book, so I'm not sure what we'll pick up next. Will we finish the Benny Imura series by Jonathon Mayberry? Or maybe the Study series by Maria V. Snyder? I'm sure they'll want to finish The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan now that it's complete and perhaps we'll give The Lord of the Rings another try with a different narrator. Only time will tell.

We had fun sitting down and trying to list all the books we've covered over the years. Between us we managed to get nearly all of them and I discovered a few forgotten ones when I looked through some Goodreads lists. I'm pretty sure the following list is fairly well complete. Not too shabby considering I never kept track of our books until 2011 and there's no way to go back and see what I got from the library. I only bought a few series on CD and a couple from Audible.

Total ~ 128 books
Complete series ~ 15
Incomplete series ~ 11
Series, multiple listens ~ 3 ~ Harry Potter (6x), Artemis Fowl (4x), Children of the Red King (3x)
   If you count the multiple listens then we would have a total of 203 books.

Favorite narrator: Tie: Nathaniel Parker (Artemis Fowl) & James Marsters (Dresden Files)
Close second: Jim Dale (Harry Potter)

Except for the first and last books/series, these are in no particular order.

Harry Potter (7 books)
Artemis Fowl (8 books)
Children of the Red King *AKA Charlie Bone (8 books)
The Hunger Games (3 books)
Inkworld (3 books)
Peter and the Starcatchers (2 books~ Peter and the Starcatchers; Peter and the Shadow Thieves, did not complete series)
Nursery Crime (2 books~The Big Over Easy; The Fourth Bear, book 3 not out yet)
Dragonflight (how they didn't like the Dragonriders of Pern I will never fathom, but we didn't continue with this series)
Freedom's Landing (they didn't want to finish this series either *sigh*)
Study series (1 book~Poison Study, have not completed this series yet)
Bunnicula (7 books)
The Lord of the Rings (1 book~The Fellowship of the Ring, was a BBC Radio dramatization and the kids did not like the voices)
Benny Imura (1 book~Rot & Ruin, have not completed this series yet)
Twilight (4 books)
The First Formic War (1 book~Earth Unaware, have not completed this series yet)
Treehouse Kids ~ (1 book, but could not remember which one)
39 Clues (1 book~The Maze of Bones, have not continued)
The Heroes of Olympus (2 books~The Lost Hero; The Son of Neptune, have not completed series yet)
Chronicles of Ancient Darkness (5 books, 1 book to go to complete this series)
Brian's Saga ~ (1 book~Hatchet, have not completed this series)
Secrets of Dripping Fang (1 book~The Onts, did not complete series)
The Dresden Files (14 books, series is not complete yet)

So there you have it folks. Over 12 years worth of audios including ones we've listened to over and again. Any of these a favorite? Any you've never heard of? Any you'd like to toss in the dumpster? Yes, I'm talking to you Twilight. Even the kids make fun of you now that they're older.


  1. I'm so jealous! I would love to have had something like this growing up or to be able to so this with my stepson. Look at all those amazing titles! The Dresden Files is a series I need to catch up on - I've only read the first book and didn't love it. But I've heard enough good that I'm willing to try another book or so. And gotta love Harry Potter! Sad to think your audio nights could be coming to an end, but even if they do you've given them hours of wonderful memories and great reading to hold on too!

    1. When I started thinking of making a list I was floored that we had been listening for so many years. It doesn't seem like that long! We may keep listening since there are a few series we'd like to finish. :) And please continue with Harry Dresden. The 1st couple books are a bit rough (like most series that are starting out), but they get better.

  2. What a wonderful tradition! They will have fond memories for years to come.

    1. The kids were reminiscing about some of the books. Like, "I remember listening to that while I was on the couch staring up at the Christmas lights." Or, "We listened to that in the old living room." :)

  3. Great post! Sharing books together, whether reading aloud or through audiobooks, is a wonderful family tradition. Your children will remember those books and want to share them with their children.

    Our daughter listened to audiobooks every night as she went to sleep. (She had insomnia pretty badly, and the books helped.) She can now quote huge sections of the Harry Potter novels (her favorites) and the first chapter of Winnie the Pooh. She got us into audiobooks. She's now in college and all of us still listen - together on long car trips, and individually as we recommend books to each other. Some of our family or individual favorites (in no particular order): The Harry Potter books, all three of Rick Riordan's series, anything by Tamora Pierce, the Ranger's Apprentice books, the Penderwicks series, the Lord of the Rings, the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik (high school and up), the Kingkiller Chronicle books by Patrick Rothfuss (adults only, at least book 2), Shannon Hale's books beginning with The Goose Girl, Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series, the Redwall books by Brian Jaques, Lloyd Alexander's Prydain books, Stardust by Neil Gaiman, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, and Gilbert and Sullivan Set Me Free by Katherine Kerr. Oh, and my daughter loves the Dresden Files, while my husband plowed through Patrick O'Brien's Master and Commander series. I'm sure there are more, but these stick in my mind.

    I also read to her almost every day, right through high school (we homeschooled): Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, Linnets and Valerians and The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge, Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small series, all of Laurie R. King's Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes mysteries... we love sharing books this way!

    1. It's interesting to see the difference between my 3 youngest and my oldest son. I was a teen mom and I'm not sure why I never thought of reading to my son. He had plenty of books, but as he's grown older, he isn't much of a reader. Is it genetic? I'm a reader and his dad (1st husband) isn't? My 3 youngest (with my 2nd hubby) are readers. Is it because both parents are readers? Or is it because I started them with audios at a young age? My stepkids aren't much for reading either. Is it because they had 1 parent who liked to read (and only had them every other weekend) or is it because books were not an active part of their younger days? Curious, huh?

    2. I'm absolutely convinced that reading aloud to children (or having them listen to audiobooks) makes a huge difference in whether they become avid readers or not. Some kids will take to books regardless; I was one of them. But some will not, whether through lack of interest or because they have one or more learning or visual challenges. Our daughter had visual tracking and processing issues - similar to dyslexia but not dyslexia - which everyone thought had been adequately treated with eye training in third grade. In 10th grade, we discovered she had simply learned to compensate, but her compensating mechanisms no longer worked with the tougher material, smaller print, and denser pages of high school textbooks. We were lucky to find someone near my parents who was able to work with her and basically rebuild her visual system. But she says that it's me reading to her plus the audiobooks that kept her in love with books even when reading them was hard.

    3. And there are people who say audiobooks aren't really reading or that comics/graphic novels aren't either. I ask, then what the hell would you call it? Not everyone reads the same way or the same things for that matter. If all my kids read were comic books then I'd be happy they were reading at all.

  4. I love audiobooks. Such a great way to be able to read more books and some narrators can really make a book even more special! I love that you are using audios with your kids!

    Jennifer Tar Heel Reader

    1. I tried reading to them but my throat just couldn't take it. I'd never be any kind of speaker or lecturer. lol Audios were perfect and there are so many more out now. The field is growing by leaps and bounds and I love it!

  5. I haven't really given audiobooks a chance. But, if I ever have kids I want to do this with them.

    1. I wish I had thought of it when my oldest was little. Maybe he'd be more interested in reading than he is now (he's 33). Well, he does like non-fiction, so that's ok. I guess. lol

  6. I love your tradition! My husband and I recently started our own audiobook tradition. Every evening we put away our other electronics and distractions and listen to a book. We are on book #3 of Clive Cussler's Fargo series. It is so much fun and is a wonderful way to bond over books.


    1. That is the best thing I've read today! I wish you many years of listening! Keep track of your books. It really is fun, years later, to look back on what you listened to and when. My kids would say, "I remember staring at the Christmas lights when we listened to x book." Or "That was the first book we listened to after mom switched the playroom and living room." Etc, etc. :)