Read & Listen with Barbara

Even after years as a children’s librarian, I continue to dive into the world of books with great enthusiasm. Constructing “Focus On” bibliographies for School Library Journal I’ve found the coolest Polar places, dipped into Asian culture, enjoyed dance around the world and even sunk with the Titanic. Virtual field trips to museums, the stars and the ocean are among the online excursions in books and websites I’ve created for Curriculum While there’s nothing quite like stepping into new locales, trips via children’s literature also open doors.

Virtual vacations and visits are a universal means of transport. No one is too young or too grown up to listen to books; they easily facilitate flights of fun and fancy. Storytelling may begin cuddling with a loving family member or caregiver, but fairy tales and bestsellers on CD or digital device can also ease any long car ride. Computer-weary eyes rest and relax while authors and narrators take pages and bring them to life in audio format. Education studies indicate children living in this video-game world find audiobooks valuable for improving listening skills and pleasant pathways to imagination.

Over the decades of reviewing audio materials, I’ve enchanted by talents such as Jim Dale, who brought to life J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. Reviewing award-winning titles and authors has enchanted and informed me. Among the many intriguing titles I’ve fallen in love with Jennifer Donnelly’s A Northern Light, Katherine Paterson’s Blood & Roses and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. And my top choice, A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle.

If you love to read and listen to books, I’m interested in your favorites. You can contact me at