National Book Festival – Reading and Listening

This weekend the 11th National Book Festival, sponsored by the Library of Congress, is on the Mall in Washington, D.C.   Meet authors and illustrators – or just celebrate the festival theme, “Celebrating the Joys of Reading Aloud,” by reading a book to someone.  Even adults like to listen to a story sometimes.

Jim Trelease first published his Read Aloud Handbook in 1979, listing resources for reading aloud – now in its sixth edition.  Skip the narrative and go straight for the lists at the back of the book.  The lists range from picture books to short and full-length novels, anthologies, and folk tales.   He includes the number of pages for each, as well as a short summary, and grade level recommendations (which you should override for interest level).  If you like the book, he also offers others by the author and books on related themes.  For each section, Trelease also includes a list of his favorites.

If you can’t get anyone to read to you, Katherine Powers of the Washington Post suggests listening to Scaramouche, for 12 hours of “swashbuckling adventure,” narrated by Simon Vance, sometimes known as Robert Whitfield.  For me, the voice of the narrator is more important than the content.  Vance’s mellow tones and characterizations create a whole other experience, and I look for audiobooks with his “Golden Voice.”

What’s your favorite audio book?