My kids love stories—all kinds of stories—and they engage them in a variety of ways.
One of the things that I’ve introduced to my school-aged kids to in the last year is the joy of audiobooks. It delights me to curl up together with everyone reading or listening to a book. This week I have been recovering from unexpected surgery and piling in together in our big bed has been perfect.
I think what makes audiobooks such a fun way to engage a good story is the performance element of the reading. They love when the reader adds difference voices to their delivery—because for them it brings the story alive.
And don’t we all love it when one of our favorite narratives is brought to life by a talented performer whose reading is entertaining, funny, and sensitive to the story’s emotions?
Listening to the performances of stories is a pastime that our parents and grandparents enjoyed all the time back in the day. I remember my Papa telling me stories about his family gathering around their radio to listen to their favorite shows.
And so, when a friend Christine told me about a family-friendly story-driven free podcast, Circle Round, created by WBUR, Boston’s much-loved NPR station, I couldn’t wait to check it out.
And I’m happy to say that not only is the Circle Round podcast extremely well produced—of course, it is because WBUR produces incredible content—but more importantly this children’s podcast is entertaining, features stories from all over the world (Romania, Nigeria, the Philippines, and more), and includes a diverse and talented cast of voices, many of which you will recognize.
For instance, the premiere episode—which debuted in the summer—is a performance of an old Yiddish tale called “It Could Always Get Worse,” and it features the vocal talent of none other than Jason Alexander. And of course, Jason’s delivery is amazing and the story is fun and ideal for kids 4 to 10. I’ve loved Jason since I was a kid and it was so neat to tell my kids how I used to watch him do musicals like Bye Bye Birdie, a show I was in when I was 11.
Episode 2, which debuted this week—features an old folklore tale from Romania—“Stella and the Dragon”—and includes Katherine Hahn of Transparent and Bad Moms fame.
Now, we’ve only listened to the two episodes, but our family LOVED them. We listened to Stella and the Dragon twice! They are short—less than 20 minutes—they feature sound effects and music and they take us back to an experience of years gone by, listening to stories together as a family. Another element that I appreciated is that at the end of every episode a question is asked, which prompts a great family discussion.
So go check out the podcast Circle Round and subscribe via iTunes, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast app. New episodes release every Tuesday. You and your kids will love it. It’s perfect for short or long road trips, lazy Saturday mornings when the kiddos are “so bored” or just an evening when you crave quality time together.
Thank you to Circle Round for sponsoring this post. We are true fans and are so excited to introduce this podcast to other families.