TO LISTEN TO
When our kids were growing up, we enjoyed most of our music on CD. These days music is available in a variety of formats—CD, mp3, streaming services, podcasts, and more. Most of the ones listed below can be found in multiple formats. Look for your favorites—and other pieces by these superb artists.
The Soundtrack of Our Lives
Card, Michael. Come to the Cradle, Sparrow Kids, 1993.
Card, Michael. Sleep Sound in Jesus. Sparrow Kids, 2013.
Classical Kids NFP is a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that works to enrich children’s lives and their communities by fostering new appreciation for classical music and music history. They sponsor high-quality theatrical concert products that are also available on CD. Our family thoroughly enjoyed these. Visit the Classical Kids website [link: www.classicalkidsnfp.org] for information about concerts and to order CDs.
Mullins, Rich, Songs. Reunion Records 1996 (originally released 1995).
Ortega, Fernando. Hymns and Meditations. CD Baby, 2003 (originally released 1994).
Peterson, Andrew. After All These Years: A Collection. Centricity, 2014.
Rice, Chris. Deep Enough to Dream. Rocketown Records, 2002.
Shore, Howard. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (original motion picture soundtrack). Reprise, 2001.
Shore, Howard. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (original motion picture soundtrack). Reprise, 2002.
Shore, Howard. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (original motion picture soundtrack). Reprise, 2003.
Vaughan-Williams, Ralph. TheLark Ascending. 1914.
Vivaldi, Antonio. The Four Seasons. 1723.
Resources for Audiobooks, Radio, and Podcasts
Our family has always loved reading aloud to one another, and listening to audio broadcasts is just another form of being read to. We have always loved to listen together—especially on long car trips, but also while doing chores or just snuggling by the fire. These days you can find almost anything in audio form—as CDs, mp3s, streaming podcasts, or simply listening on the radio. Many, many books are available in audio form, from classics like Oliver Twist to more recent fare like Holes. Below are some great sources—plus a few specific audio books that we especially love.
Adventures in Odyssey
This Christian radio drama and comedy series for kids has been on the air since 1988. Centered in the fictional town of Odyssey, it “uses storytelling to teach lasting truths.” The shows are professionally produced and recorded in Hollywood. To locate a station, download a podcast, or buy a recording, visit the Adventures in Odyssey website
This subscription service is worth every penny for families who enjoy audiobooks on a regular basis. Choose from a wide variety of fare.
Cracker Barrel Books-on-Audio
Cracker Barrel’s audiobook system is a great resource for traveling families. Buy an audiobook CD at any Cracker Barrel location—and keep the receipt. After you listen, you can return it to any other Cracker Barrel. They will refund the purchase price minus a rental fee of about $3.50 a week—a bargain.
Focus on the Family Radio Theater
Radio Theater productions include professional scripts and productions, orchestral musical scores, and motion-picture quality sound design. These dramas are still available on radio, or you can choose from an impressive selection of recordings in CD or mp3 format. The Radio Theater’s production of the Chronicles of Narnia are the most famous (see above), but we also loved their version of Oliver Twist, Amazing Grace (the story of England’s abolition campaign), and others. To locate a radio station, buy a recording, or simply find more information, visit the Radio Theater web page.
Lewis, C. S.. The Chronicles of Narnia (audiobook). Dramatized and directed by Paul McCusker. Focus on the Family Radio Theatre. Collector's Edition. Tyndale Entertainment, 2014.
This is a dramatized version of C. S. Lewis's classic--that is, produced as a radio drama rather than simply read aloud. Recorded in London with an all-star cast, this version is perfect for families. All seven Narnia books are included.
At www.loyalbooks.com you can download a wide variety of free public-domain audiobooks in several formats. This is a great source of classics like Alice in Wonderland or Jane Eyre. The quality of the narration varies, so be sure to check the reviews!
Don’t forget the library as a source of downloadable audio. Some libraries also lend out CD audiobooks. Visit your library’s website for information about what is available to you or just ask a librarian.
Your Story Hour
Established in 1949, YSH produces weekly radio productions for children that are also available in CD or podcast form. The dramatized radio stories include Bible stories, historical stories, and contemporary stories. For more information or to buy story albums, visit the Your Story Hour website.