All ears? Audiobooks available for all ages, always changing

I admit I’m a book junkie. I love to read and re-read my favorites, and my first choice is an actual book. There is just something about holding a book in your hands and turning pages.

But what about audiobooks? An audio book may not be the first choice for book lovers, but believe me, they are definitely worth checking out. Listening is an important skill that helps children learn to read. Children learn how to tell a story, the sounds of written words and are exposed to new vocabulary.

Audiobooks serve as an example of fluent reading to those who struggle with literacy. Even if your child needs accelerated-reader points, they can listen to an audiobook. Books are read word for word, so the listener is exposed to the whole story.

So what can you find in the audio book section at the library? In the children’s department, you can find popular series such as “Dork Diaries,” “Harry Potter,” “Magic Tree House” and “Heroes of Olympus.” We also have classics such as “Chronicles of Narnia,” “Little House on the Prairie” and “Island of the Blue Dolphins.” Interested in the classics? We have Shel Silverstein’s poetry collections such as “Where the Sidewalk Ends.”

Or maybe you would like a picture book to listen to.

Sounds strange, doesn’t it? But we have them. Picture books such as “Knuffle Bunny,” “The Cat in the Hat” and “Miss Nelson is Missing” are available.

We also have a large selection of audiobooks in the teen area. Our teen librarian, Christina Kelley, absolutely loves audio books.

I asked her for a few of her favorites: “Family Romanov,” by Candace Fleming; “White Cat,” by Holly Black; “Kill Me Softly,” by Sarah Cross; “Virals,” by Kathy Reichs; and “Wildwood Dancing,” by Juliet Marillier, which is one of Christina’s favorite audio books of all time.

A few of my favorites are: “The Graveyard Book,” by Neil Gaiman; “The Monstrumologist” and its sequel, “Curse of the Wendigo,” both by Rick Yancey. I read “The Monstrumologist” before I listened to it, but the performance was so profound it elevated the story to a new level.

Another great perk of audiobooks is the fantastic audiobook performers, such as Jim Dale. He has performed the entire “Harry Potter” series with such skill that many people have preferred to listen to the books instead of reading them. And what’s great about the library catalog is you can search by performer. Say you loved Jim Dale’s reading so much you wanted to hear his other performances.

Well, if you search for Jim Dale as an author you will see what other books he has read. One of my favorite performers is Tai Alexander Ricci, who read, “A Crooked Kind of Perfect,” by Linda Urban. I’ve listened to this book multiple times. Her performance was so flawless that I now look for other books she has read. Christina’s favorite narrator is Katherine Kellgren, who reads “Monstrous Beauty” by Elizabeth Fama.

And don’t forget about the multitude of titles on Overdrive, which are available from our website. Not only do we have thousands of e-books to choose from, but we also have more than 2,000 downloadable audiobook titles as well. Popular children’s titles such as James Patterson’s “I Funny” series and “How to Train Your Dragon” are just waiting for you to enjoy. If you don’t see a book you like, keep checking because we are always adding new ones.

So next time you’re in the library checking out books, make sure to grab an audiobook or two. And don’t overlook books you’ve already read; you never know what new experiences await in an old favorite.

Jennifer Tchida is youth services coordinator at the Bartholomew County Public Library and can be reached at jtchida@barth.lib.in.us.