Showing posts with label audio books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label audio books. Show all posts

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Homeschoolers: Get Ready for Back to School with August Audio Fest at Best Buy!

If you are a homeschooling family like ours, then the following scenario is probably pretty familiar:

After finishing their math and grammar lessons on the computer in the "school" room, my kids grabs their reading assignments and curls up on the couch. When she finishes reading, my daughter turns on her favorite Beatles CD for a little background music, and then they move into the kitchen for a science experiment. When they completes that, they gets out their art supplies at the dining room table for their art lesson.  The two of them work steadily while listening to their classical music selection for the week and then break for lunch. After lunch we move back into the school room for some Spanish, then my two might wrap up the school day back on the couch listening to an audiobook.

Can you relate even a little bit? In addition to doing, there's one thing my kids do a lot of during the school year: listening.  

So it's important to me that we have good equipment to facilitate my kids' learning. 

That's why I want to be sure and let you know about the August Audio Fest at Best Buy. It starts today - August 3rd - and features one month of audio deal specials for you to take advantage of! You can visit any of their stores and test out the latest and greatest audio products, including Bluetooth speakers and headphones (great when you teach two kids at the same time and one of them is listening to their math/science lesson on the computer) to car audio (we listen to audiobooks on the road, too!) and home theater solutions such as Denon's HEOS wireless speaker.

The HEOS is a wireless multi-room sound system for your whole home. It doesn't matter where you are, if you have a speaker in that room, it will stream music from your favorite internet radio service (Spotify? Deezer? Tunein? Napster?) or your own music collection, including songs stored on your iOS or Android phone or tablet.

If you download MP3s for school, such as audiobooks or classical music, your kids can enjoy them anywhere in the house, even in their own rooms at bedtime.

The HEOS speakers come in several sizes to accomodate smaller or larger rooms. The free HEOS app lets you control the speaker from your smartphone or tablet, too, so you don't have place the speaker in a spot that is easily accessible by little fingers. 

You can even buy multiple speakers to place in several rooms of your house and then connect them wirelessly to enjoy music and more throughout your home. And if you have a wired network, no problem. It comes with an ethernet port for you to hook up!

I want to leave you with a short list of some of my favorite audiobook and music MP3 download websites. Some of them are free!

Disclosure: I'm a Best Buy Ambassador which grants me early access to information on special deals that I can share with all of you. I received a Denon for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions though are my own. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Lorito Books: Pat Mora's Gracias/Thanks {GIVEAWAY}

Dear Readers,

Although I will be sharing another resource over the weekend, today is the final giveaway as part of my annual Back-to-School Fiesta! giveaway month. Phew! It has been a long month and a LOT of fabulous giveaways. I'm tired. How about you?

Today's product is no less wonderful than all the others I've shared. I've written about Lorito Books before and they remain my favorite go-to place for bilingual audiobooks.

The audiobook above is one by Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros founder and poet, Pat Mora. (Are you remembering to make the mission of Día a daily ritual at your home? Are you reading together everyday to nurture your child's love of reading?) Gracias * Thanks is one of the few award-winning bilingual books perfect for Thanksgiving. In fact it has won the following awards:  ALA Notable, Belpré Illustrator Honor, and Golden Kite Award.

Gracias * Thanks
Written by Pat Mora
Illustrated by John Parra
Narrated by Rosi Amador and Pat Mora
Original Music byBrian Amador

In a series of poetic sentences, a young boy tells about some of the everyday things for which he is thankful. Come share the joy, and think about all the things for which you can say, ¡Gracias! Thanks!

This hardcover book and CD is a new release from Lorito Books...just in time for Thanksgiving!

One lucky MommyMaestra reader will win this audiobook set:  Pat Mora's Gracias/Thanks from Lorito Books.

To enter this giveaway, just use the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Spanish Audio Books {GIVEAWAY}

Does your family or classroom have any children's audio books? You may remember the week I dedicated several months ago to the value of audio books. So many people continue to be surprised at hearing that using books with CDs is a wonderful way to develop your child's literacy skills.

Our Spanish giveaway for the day is a collection of audio books that have been sitting by my desk awaiting review or a giveaway.

First up is the Spanish version of a book that I reviewed last May. El loro Tico Tango is a fun, fun, FUN book for kids. The storyline captivates young minds and the illustrations in the books are bold and bright and lively. What makes this particular book that much more desirable is the audio CD that accompanies it. One of our favorite voice-over actors, Brian Amador, sings the song of el loro Tico Tango. Your children will be dancing and humming, singing and smiling before this story is over. The music is irrisistable and the sound-effects bring this story to life. It is a great way to introduce your children to poetry, rhyme, and colors.

Next we have El mono azul by Graciela Sverdlick. Published by our friends over at Lorito Books, this book follows the story of Tomás, the blue monkey who tries too hard to win the heart of Esmerelda, the green monkey, and learns to appreciate his true talents. It is narrated by language instructor, Miguel Amézquita who was born in Guatemala. This little story will have your kids giggling by the end.

And finally, I'm pleased to offer you a new title, Uno Dos Tres: My First Spanish Rhymes. It is a lovely collection of Latin American rhymes selected by the Cuban-born translator, Yanitzia Canetti. Perfect for both Spanish-language learners and Spanish-speaking children, this book includes a dual language glossary in the back, and comes with an audio CD with which children can sing along. This books has just been released this week, so it is an extra-special treat!


One MommyMaestra reader will win a copy of each of these books and their accompanying CD.

To enter, simply leave a comment below.

The deadline to enter is 11:59 EST, Monday, August 27th. The winner will be chosen using and contacted via email - so be sure to leave a valid email address in your comment! (If I have no way to contact you, I'll have to choose someone else!)
And to increase your chances of winning, you can:

1) Follow the MommyMaestra on Facebook.
2) Follow me on Twitter (@LatinMami).

Don't forget to let me know by posting a separate comment for each entry!
By entering this giveaway, you agree to the Official Sweepstakes Rules. No purchase required. Void where prohibited.

¡Buena suerte!

Disclosure: At my request, the publishers of these books sent me copies of each book to review and/or giveaway. All opinions expressed above are my own.

This giveaway is now closed.

Monday, May 28, 2012

El loro Tico Tango/The Parrot Tico Tango AUDIOBOOK

So in order to try and clean off my desk which is suffering under the weight of the many books that I have been wanting to share with you, I've decided to just dedicate this week to exactly that: BOOKS!

You'll probably remember how I feel about audio books, and the fact that I think they are an excellent tool for developing literacy skills. So I'm starting off with a couple from some of my favorite voice-over actors, The Amador Family (remember them from this feature?).

Published by Barefoot Books, The Parrot Tico Tango is written and illustrated by Anna Witte (who also wrote Lola's Fandango). But Barefoot offers the book with an accompanying CD featuring the book as sung by Brian Amador - with a little help from his family.

I LOVE this book. The story line follows a day in the life of el loro (the parrot) Tico Tango, as he flies about the rain forest stealing all the fruits from the other animals. BUT his pilfering ways don't last for long and soon he has to work his way back into the good graces of his forest friends. The story is predictable for children helping them to develop critical thinking skills as they anticipate what will happen next, all the while building to a climax that relieved my children who were worried that he'd get away with it all. :)

But the best part of this book is the CD and the fun and lively song that is sung by Brian Amador. Before I knew it, my toe was tapping and I was humming along with the song, as were my children. Learning is just so much better when you can do it to music, no?

The book is perfect for children in Pre-K and Kindergarten as it teaches the different colors and various animals found in the jungle, fruits, and sequence. But my 2nd grader enjoyed it just as much thanks to the music, the engaging story line, and the beautiful illustrations.

And you know what else? This book is also available in Spanish with the song perfectly done and using Witte's beautiful translation that is not word for word, but rather conveys the message and the emotion in a well-written manner.

You can hear an audio sample here on the Sol y Canto website. (Sol y Canto is the Amador's band.)

If you click on the titles (links) above, they will take you to our sister site, the Latin Baby Book Club, and my online store.

Con mucho cariño...

Disclosure: The books mentioned above were sent to me at the request of the Amador family. All thoughts and opinions expressed are strictly and fanatically my own. Ciao!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Lorito Books {Giveaway}

Not long after my kids received their copy of The Polar Express with its read-along CD, I discovered Lorito Books. At the time, it was a new company that had just launched its collection of audiobooks. I'm happy to say that they have done well despite the sluggish economy, and have, in fact, really grown over the past year.

The company's president, Pam Fochtman, saw a need in the community for these materials. The company is committed to developing second language literacy and promoting the beauty of Latino culture. And they believe that audiobooks are a valuable tool to accomplish these goals.

Their high quality, word-for-word audiobook read-alongs for young readers and second language learners are carefully chosen for their culturally relevant content and values. Their products include Growing Up With Tamales/Los tamales de Ana, The Desert is my Mother/El desierto es mi madre, Icy Watermelon/ Sandía fría and other popular titles in Latino children’s literature.

I've had the pleasure of reviewing several of their books with CDs through the Latin Baby Book Club, and I especially appreciate how Pam has chosen native speakers - who just happen to be outstanding storytellers - to record the books. You can learn more about the narrators on the Lorito Books website.

Pam has generously offered two of her new releases as giveaways for MommyMaestra.

The sun shines through the windows of Martha’s Panadería onto the shelves of freshly baked treats. The bakery holds tray after tray of hot Mexican sweet bread—conchas, orejas, cuernitos, empanadas, and cochinitos—all ready for hungry customers...

The Runaway Piggy/El cochinito fugitivo is a bilingual takeoff on the gingerbread man story. It's full of the sounds and people that make up a traditional Latino neighborhood. There is a cochinito cookie recipe included in the back of the book and even comes with piggy cookie cutters! You can listen to some audio samples here, or learn more about the story here.

Older readers will enjoy The Case of the Pen Gone Missing/El caso de la pluma perdida. The character is a Latino "Encyclopedia Brown" who gets tongue-tied when the most popular girl in school asks him to solve a mystery.  It's very sweet. You can read a review of this book on the Latin Baby Book Club. Brian Amador of Sol y Canto is the narrator. This book is available as either a stand alone audiobook or a book + CD set. You can hear an audio sample here.


Two MommyMaestra readers will receive a copy of one of the books with CD.
To enter to win, simply leave a comment below letting me know which book you'd like to win.

The deadline to enter is 11:59 EST, Monday, January 23rd. The winners will be chosen using and contacted via email - so be sure to leave a valid email address in your comment! 

And to increase your chances of winning, you can:

1) Visit Lorito Books' website, then come back and leave a comment telling me which audiobook you'd like to hear most.

2) Follow MommyMaestra on Facebook

3) Follow me on Twitter and tweet the following: Win bilingual audiobooks from Lorito Books and @LatinMami #bilingual #audiobooks #giveaway

Don't forget to let me know by posting a separate comment for each entry!

By entering this giveaway, you agree to the Official Sweepstakes Rules. No purchase required. Void where prohibited.

¡Buena suerte!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Juanita the Spanish Lobster from Maestro Classics {GIVEAWAY}

I'm so excited this week, because I will be running THREE giveaways! I've already shared one with you, and today's is another treat.

I am always looking for ways to introduce my kids to classical music. I have a nice collection of CDs that I play on a regular basis with classical pieces from Mozart, Grieg, and many others. A week or two ago, I clicked on a link that had caught my eye, and it led me to the most wonderful website: Maestro

You cannot even begin to imagine my delight to discover a company that produces educational materials centered around classical music - for young children! They offer a series of classical CDs, each one dedicated to a particular orchestral story. Inside each CD set you will find a short story (length varies depending on the particular story), a section about the story, another section about the music, and one or two bonus soundtracks. It also comes with an activity booklet.

You can also sign up for their Kids Club and receive monthly puzzles, games, and other activities in your email. January's email was focused on Swan Lake, and came with a video, music excerpt, link to their curriculum guide, and a coloring page. Yes, I said curriculum guide. Their awesome site also includes a section with education materials perfect for homeschoolers, teachers, and parents. Yay!

Intrigued, I purchased their album, Juanita the Spanish Lobster, and downloaded the MP3 version because, a) I prefer to be able to download it on my children's school computer, and b) I was too impatient to wait for the actual CD. The best description of this story is found on their website: 

"Juanita is an imposing Spanish lady lobster. Not content to knit seaweed with the other lobsters in the grotto, Juanita prefers to dance a fierce flamenco and sing about her troubles. She loathes her boring underwater life and longs for more excitement. Thinking she can find more fun on the land, she leaps into a fisherman’s lobster trap one day. Her admirer, a lovesick little lobster named Caradoc (as in the Arthurian knight) saves her from certain doom. In the end, a newly contented Juanita learns to love the grotto, and she sings about her marvelous life with all of the other sea creatures."

Not only did I love it, but more importantly, my kids loved it! They have been listening to it over and over. We sat and listened to the story, then learned about who created it and how, then listened to it again, then learned about the different music styles used in the story. It was just fantastic. The MP3 download came with a pdf version of the activity booklet, which was perfect because with two children, I was able to print up the same pages so that they could each have a copy to work on. It is filled not just with activities, but also with a History of Flamenco and Amazing Facts About Lobsters.

Now for the best part: They offer a Spanish version of this particular CD! Juanita la langosta española has been completely translated into Spanish by the very talented, Yanitzia Canetti, whose translations of children's literature I have admired for its smooth sophistication and the way in which it captures the essence of the story. 

The music on the Maestro Classics CDs are performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Stephen Simon. The narrator of Juanita the Spanish Lobster is Dr. Konrad Czynski (a.k.a. Yadu), professor of Humanities at Minnesota State University-Moorhead. (He has, in fact narrated several of the other CDs including Peter & the Wolf, Mike Mulligan & His Steam Shovel, and The Sorcerer's Apprentice.)

But the narrator of Juanita la langosta española is Rosi Amador, lead singer of Sol y Canto. Rosi has narrated a number of childrens books, including recent releases by Barefoot Books (which I mentioned yesterday).

Below is a short video of Maestro Classics' co-creator, Bonnie Ward Simon, talking about Juanita la langosta española:


Maestro Classics is kindly offering a copy of their Juanita la langosta española CD to one MommyMaestra reader.

To enter to win, simply leave a comment below.

The deadline to enter is 11:59 EST, Monday, January 23rd. The winners will be chosen using and contacted via email - so be sure to leave a valid email address in your comment! 

And to increase your chances of winning, you can:

1) Visit Maestro Classics' website, then come back and leave a comment telling me which CD you'd like to hear most.

2) Follow Maestro Classics on Facebook

3) Follow me on Twitter and tweet the following: Win a a copy of Maestro Classics' Juanita la langosta española from @LatinMami #Spanish #classicalmusic #giveaway

Don't forget to let me know by posting a separate comment for each entry!

By entering this giveaway, you agree to the Official Sweepstakes Rules. No purchase required. Void where prohibited.

¡Buena suerte!

The Value of Audiobooks

© Helder Almeida -
 Since I have dedicated this week to audio books, I want to take a moment to explain why and to sing their praises. Growing up, the only experience I had with them was a small set of cassettes that someone gave me when I was about three or four years old. It was a set of two or three cassettes and the accompanying children's books, the only one of which I can remember was Sinbad ("Don't worry about me men, I'll be all right!"). So I never REALLY enjoyed the beauty of listening to a book on tape. Back then, it was sort of frowned upon. Like you were cheating; too lazy to read the book, so you decide to listen to it instead.

So I never really thought much about them. But a little over a year ago, my mother sent my kids a copy of The Polar Express...and it came with a CD. One evening, too tired to read to my kids, I popped the CD in and laid down on the bed with my kids. Moments later the sound of Liam Neeson's voice swept me and my children away and off to the North Pole. That was their favorite book for weeks. Maybe even months.

The thought that maybe I was missing the boat and depriving my kids slowly crept into my brain and began to take hold. I began to notice little snippets of conversations by other homeschoolers and articles would catch my eye. And then, through my work with the Latin Baby Book Club, I was contacted by a publisher who was selling bilingual books with an accompanying CD (more about them later). I received samples and listened to the tapes.

And I was SOLD.

This past Christmas, I purchased several books from Barefoot Books during their Winter Sale. Both of them came with a CD. My children LOVED them. And I learned a valuable lesson: Audio books are a valuable tool to increase literacy in children. In fact, I would go so far as to say that ALL children should have access to audio books.

The act of listening to a story has such powerful impact on a child's literacy skills. I could see in my own children how it refines their listening skills and helps to build reading comprehension. If you have a child who is struggling to understand what he is reading, using audio books in conjunction with their reading practice could actually improve their ability to remember what the story is about, and help them internalize the meaning.

My husband asked me, "How do you know he's not just memorizing it?" I don't. Yes, he might be. And that's okay, because when I go back and ask him to read it again, pointing to the words as he reads, he remembers the story, which in turn helps him to remember word sounds and decode what is written on the page. His eyes are seeing the word, and his brain is remember the sounds and the meaning. Next time he runs across that word, it will be easier to read. Makes sense, no?

I think audio books also help children learn the rhythm of a well-written story. By listening, they learn about inflection and intonation. It trains their ear, so that they will begin to look ahead as they read so that they can read aloud in a similar manner.

They are also a wonderful way to introduce young children to literature that is too difficult for them to read, for example, the Classics. I think if we wait until children are old enough to read some of the classics, then our kids will be bored. They have to learn to appreciate well-written literature while they are young, before their minds get used to the easy "candy" on the bookshelf. The garbage that doesn't really inspire the imagination, or incite thoughtful consideration, but rather just evokes a good laugh and is written purely for entertainment's sake. I'm not saying there's not a time and a place for a mindless story, but I think we ought to train our children's minds to savor the challenge and sophistication of well-written literature from the start. And a well-told audio book of good children's literature can capture and entertain a child's mind as easily as the next book.

If you'd like to read more about the benefits of using audiobooks with children, take a look at the following articles:

Benefits of Audiobooks for All Readers on Reading Rockets

The Literacy Benefits of Listening: Use audio books to bring life and depth to your child’s reading experience on Scholastic

8 Teaching Benefits of Audio Books on Ezine @rticles  (A great article!)

Con mucho cariño...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Bilingual Books on Tape {GIVEAWAY}

This week is dedicated to audio books and the valuable place they have in our children's education. I mentioned last week that I'm committed to incorporating more audio books in our studies, and I'll be sharing resources for them over the next few days.

But I want to kick off this week with a giveaway. I have two sets of four CDs featuring the stories of author Alma Flor Ada. This set includes four books in Spanish, and one in both English and Spanish.

The first CD is collection of 29 songs for each letter in the alphabet and one original alphabet song. All of them are in Spanish and are from the book, Abecedario de los animales, written by Alma Flor Ada and Suni Paz.

The second CD is a series of stories read by the authors, F. Isabel Campoy and Alma Flor Ada. It is their own versions of the 12 traditional tales that they wrote for their book, Cuentos que contaban nuestras abuelas. Some of the stories included are Blancaflor, Juan Bobo, Martina Martínez y el Ratoncito Pérez, El caballito de siete colores, and many others.

The third CD is actually in both English and Spanish. Once again read by the author. The Gold Coin or La moneda de oro is a beautiful book about generosity and transformation. You can read the moving and inspirational story behind this tale on Del Sol Books' website.

And our last CD is actually another collection of 27 songs based on the book, Gathering the Sun: An ABc in Spanish and English, written by Ada and Paz. These songs originate from simple poems written about the lives of Latin Americans; one for each letter of the Spanish alphabet. You can read a review here on the Latin Baby Book Club site.

I am so happy to be able to giveaway one of these CD sets to two readers. And I am especially grateful to Alma Flor Ada, for generously offering these as giveaways.


I have two sets of each CD to giveaway and will choose two winners.

To enter to win, simply leave a comment below.

The deadline to enter is 11:59 EST, Sunday, January 22nd. The winners will be chosen using and contacted via email - so be sure to leave a valid email address in your comment! 

And to increase your chances of winning, you can:

1.) Leave a comment telling me which CD you are looking forward to the most!

2.) Follow me on Twitter and tweet the following: Win a set of bilingual audio books for children from @LatinMami #Spanish #reading #giveaway

3.) Blog about this giveaway and include the link to your post in the comments below.

Don't forget to let me know by posting a separate comment for each entry!

By entering this giveaway, you agree to the Official Sweepstakes Rules. No purchase required. Void where prohibited.

¡Buena suerte!


Dear Mommy Maestra readers:

I'm delighted to know that you will be able to share with your children some of the CDs that Isabel Campoy, Suni Paz and myself have created with great love. It would be nice to hear their reaction to the stories and songs. You can contact us at:,, Do not miss visiting Isabel's new website! And let us know if you want a free subscription to the monthly enewsletter Smiles and Butterflies, with ideas on sharing books with children. All best wishes. ~Alma Flor Ada

Disclosure: This giveaway is offered in collaboration with the authors. I have not been compensated in any way for offering this giveaway, and it results from my contacting them and asking for a contribution to our Music in Education series.

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