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Meeting Hank the Cowdog…aka the joys of Audio books

September 18, 2010

One of our favorite ways of spending time, especially on road trips, but also for chill-out time is using audiobooks. We usually have a set going in the boys’ room for their chill-out time, something on our mp3 players for road trips and workouts, and a dozen on our want-to-listen list. Audio books are a great way to get some reluctant readers into the stories they’ll grow to love, making it easier to go back and read the book that they are already familiar with, especially if all those words seem so daunting to them. It’s also a great way to build up language for younger children, who can listen to books more advanced than their reading levels can expose them to, just like when we read books to them (you are reading to your kids, aren’t you? LOL).

We routinely listen to Hank the Cowdog by John Erickson and love the playfulness of the books. They are children’s books not written to the lowest common denominator. There is intricate language to follow as well as having to make sense of Hank. And one of our favorite things is that Mr. Erickson does ALL the voices and makes the stories come alive.

Three years ago (ACK..has it been that long? Surely it was only 2 lol), Connor and I had the privilege  of meeting Mr. Erickson at our local library where he did a one-man show for about an hour where he read from his books, talked about his life, sang some songs from the stories, and really interacted with the kids in a unique way. Then he did a book signing and really took the time to talk to each of the fans, answering questions, signing books and posing for photos. He didn’t rush anyone, and really took his time with Connor who was just awestruck. Getting to meet one of his literary and audible heroes was a big day in Connor’s life.

Here was that day:

Aiden loves listening to just about anything, but he’s really hooked on animal stories that are more gentle – Paddington Bear, Winnie the Pooh, etc., but also loves a good Hank story!

Libraries now offer so many options for audiobooks now – it’s not just cassette tapes anymore! There is a national database of single-use downloadable audios that some library systems subscribe to, as well as mp3 embedded titles, and books on cd. There are purchase spots online like Audible and Itunes. One of our favorites for classics is http://www.homeschoolradioshows.com/ (which happens to be down right now for some exciting updates). They offer a newsletter with free audio downloads as well as some awesome classics for sale. Audiobooks.org is also a great place for free audios

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