Every parent knows the struggle of keeping kids entertained in long car rides. And these days we don't even mean out-of-town trips. With the terrible traffic in Metro Manila, you could be stuck on EDSA with cranky-from-boredom kids for hours! To help relieve the agony, you can keep your child entertained with books, games, and even with a few minutes of screentime. But, if your child has had enough of those, here’s a secret weapon you can bring out: audio storybooks for children.
If you haven’t tried listening to audiobooks before, we definitely recommend giving them a go. We’ve picked a few places where you can get great quality children’s audio stories for free with lively narration and captivating stories few children (and adults!) will be able to resist. They're great for bedtime too!
Circle Round is a storytelling podcast for kids ages 3 to 10. Each beautifully produced story can go from 10 to 20 minutes long, is narrated by notable voices (like Jason Alexander from Seinfeld), and has an original music piece. The sound is so clear and crisp as well so it makes listening to the layers of narration, sound effects, and background music a delight every time. The stories really do come alive!
They have carefully selected folktales from all around the world that aim to teach values like kindness and generosity. Stella and the Dragon, for example, is about “a clever mother and her quest to outwit a powerful dragon.” So far, Circle Round only offers a couple of stories. They're worth a listen though, and we can't wait for more.
With its wide selection of stories, you and the kids will surely find something interesting to listen to. Want fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm like Rapunzel or Hansel and Gretel? They've got those and a bunch more from authors like Hans Christian Andersen (The Emperor’s New Clothes), Aesop (The Boy Who Cried Wolf) and Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland).
You’ll also be able to find stories from all around the world like those from Greek mythology and Chinese tales. There are also stories with music or poetry incorporated in them like The Pied Piper of Hamelin. Don’t know where to start? Try How the Whale Got His Throat or The Selfish Giant, which are our some of our favorites.
What’s so great about Storyteller MNL? As you may have already guessed, it’s local! Run by commercial voice artist Gutch Gutierrez, Storyteller MNL is a Youtube channel where you’ll be able to find Pinoy children’s books read out loud. And because they’re videos, you’ll be able to see the illustrations as well (but they’re great with just the audio too!).
The most popular on the channel is Ang Batang Ayaw Maligo, published by OMF Literature, with over 1 million views. Gutch also reads the award-winning Naku, Nakuu, Nakuuu!, Lala Burara and international favorites like The Giving Tree and Guess How Much I Love You.
Want to read to your kids like Gutch? “Go all out! Get really IN the story even if you look like a fool. And lastly, impart upon them a sense of wonder. That's really the gist of why we do storytelling so we can expand children's ability to imagine and wonder,” he told Smart Parenting.