I've always loved audiobooks. Growing up, we always had them around the house (always from our local library). I especially loved the books that came with cassette tapes that would read the story aloud to you while you looked through a physical copy of the book. My personal favorite of these was my personal copy of Jamberry by Bruce Degen. My parents and I still talk about the Jamberry audiobook to this day. I'll tell my dad that I'm reading something new and he'll respond with "Does it have a story and pictures by Bruce Degen?" Now that I work with children, sometimes it does!
Technology has evolved significantly since the days of cassette tapes. I remember one particularly jarring incident when I was listening to a Lion King audiobook on cassette where my cassette player decided to eat the tape, causing the speakers to screech. I don't ever want to be one of those "kids these days have it so easy" type of adults, but sometimes I can't help myself. It must be a very human impulse. While the library has a wonderful collection of CD/Book audiobooks, we recently got Wonderbooks. Now, what is a Wonderbook? I'll tell you! So, Wonderbooks are a book/MP3 combination where the MP3 player is attached directly to the book. That way when you're wanting a read-along book for your kiddo, you don't have to worry about scratched CDs or CD players. There are two modes in each Wonderbook. The first is "Read-Along Mode" which reads the story to you with a tone telling you when to turn the page. Then there's "Learning Mode" which asks your kiddo questions about the book they just listened to in order to get them to think critically about stories.
When writing this blog post, I checked out two Wonderbooks to experience the wonder myself.
The first book I listened to was The Cazuela That The Farm Maiden Stirred by Samantha R. Vamos. This book is in both English and Spanish and having the words read aloud really helped me understand pronunciation far more than reading it silently to myself would. If your kiddo is a fan of stories like There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, they'd really like this one. There isn't any fly swallowing, thank goodness. The book even comes with a recipe of the dish made in the book, arroz con leche which is a type of rice pudding. It looks REALLY good and I might just have to try it out myself.
The second book I read is a non-fiction title for slightly older kiddos about Malala Yousafzai called Malala: Activist for Girls' Education by Raphaele Frier. This book has fascinating illustrations and a great narrator who does a good job telling Malala's story. Prior to reading this book, I knew the broad strokes of Malala's story, but I didn't know too much about the details. This book sums up what happened to her as well as her accomplishments in a way that kids will enjoy.
If you and your kiddos are like me and love audiobooks, I'd highly recommend picking up a Wonderbook today!