An Audio Editor’s Picks: Home-From-School Listens for Elementary Kids

by Emily Parliman, Editor

Whether your child is attending classes online or taking a break from classes altogether, it’s smart to enrich any downtime with supplementary content. We’ve assembled a list of audiobook recommendations to help bridge the weeks between classes. On our list you’ll find engaging nonfiction that has tie-ins to common school syllabi, can’t-go-wrong classics, frequently “required reading,” and fast-paced historical fiction.

The #1 New York Times bestseller about how nine boys of the Greatest Generation showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really means, freshly adapted for the next generation.

E. B. White’s Newbery Honor Book is a tender novel of friendship, love, life, and death that will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come thanks to this extraordinary new audiobook production starring Meryl Streep and a full cast of top-notch narrators. This edition features exclusive new cover art by Melissa Sweet who also reads her note on the recording.

*A New York State curriculum title for fourth grade* Violet has one goal in mind when she runs away from home: to find her sister, Chloe. The only problem is that Chloe’s not in New York anymore. She’s moved on to Tennessee, where she’s fighting for women’s right to vote. Before long, Violet is standing side-by-side with her new friends—suffragists, socialists, and people of color—the type of people her parents would not approve of. But if Violet’s becoming the “wrong sort of person,” why does it feel just right?

Inspired by her blockbuster phenomenon Wonder, R. J. Palacio presents an unforgettable full cast audio production about the power of kindness and unrelenting courage in a time of war.

Esperanza Rising

When Esperanza Ortega’s idyllic and comfortable life in Mexico is suddenly struck by tragedy, she and her mother flee to California during The Great Depression. They settle in a Mexican farm labor camp. Esperanza must learn to let go of the past and embrace a new future.

Author: Kenneth C. Davis
Read By: Various

Through the powerful stories of five enslaved people who were “owned” by four of our greatest presidents, this audiobook helps set the record straight about the role slavery played in the founding of America. From Billy Lee, valet to George Washington, to Alfred Jackson, faithful servant of Andrew Jackson, these dramatic narratives explore our country’s great tragedy—that a nation “conceived in liberty” was also born in shackles.

Author: Scott Kelly
Read By: George Newbern

How does a boy struggling in school become an American hero and a space pioneer? Daredevil behavior? Check. Sibling rivalry? Check. Inspiration? Check. Courage? Check. Endurance? Check. This checklist put Scott on a rocket that launched him into space, allowed him to break a record during his inspiring year aboard the International Space Station, and showed human beings the qualities needed to go from Earth to Mars–and beyond.

Author: Lois Lowry
Read By: Ron Rifkin

December is the time of the annual Ceremony at which each twelve-year-old receives a life assignment determined by the Elders. Jonas has been chosen for something special. When his selection leads him to an unnamed man-the man called only the Giver-he begins to sense the dark secrets that underlie the fragile perfection of his world.

Well, you can believe some of it. There is some real history. But also hijinks. And time travel. Find out what happens When Abigail Adams decides there’s more to life than doing chores in the White House, and joins a crew of Caribbean pirates! Read by the hyper-talented Marc Thompson.

Looking for more listen-at-home recommendations? Click here for Home-From-School Listens for Middle Grade & YA Listeners.