Audiobooks are a fantastic tool for parents and teachers to use to support children. They are excellent for motivating reluctant readers, supporting struggling readers or children with dyslexia (who can simply listen along or follow with a print copy) and children with problems comprehending meaning in their reading (being able to hear the intonation helps greatly with understanding).
|Me, enjoying an audiobook.|
The combination of book and narrator can make a great book even more engaging. If I even think about the How To Train Your Dragon books now I can almost hear David Tennant’s amazingly nuanced narration. Joe Jameson’s performance of Liam in Mike Revell’s Stonebird is so beautiful and moving and I absolutely adore Lucy Brown’s voicing of Ishmael in Chris Riddell’s Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse.
The audiobook market is huge and growing. It’s not just for the elderly or those with impaired sight (even though it is great that this market is catered to by them as well). People listen to them on the bus on their way to work, parents stick them on to avoid the inevitable “ARE WE NEARLY THERE YET!?!” and “MUUUUM! HE’S HITTING ME!!! TELL HIM!!!” on long car journeys. However, the availability of adult fiction on audiobooks vastly outweighs that of children’s literature.
For a form which is so perfect for growing and developing readers there is still not the range and availability that I feel that there should be. You can get the big name players and you can get the classics but not enough brand new titles are being produced in audiobook format. Books seem to need to prove themselves before they are recorded. I do understand that to an extent. These books must take a lot of time, effort and money in terms of actors, studio time etc and you don’t want to spend this on a book that won’t sell. I understand that but I do feel that the publishers do need to take a leap of faith, trust their authors and reach a growing readership.