Archive for treats

Audio Books for Ages 5 to 8

Here are some audio books I recommend for the listening pleasure of children ages five to eight years old. It’s a great way to relax your children after a busy day’s work and they will soak in the sounds and rhythm of the English language. Bonus: you can feel virtuous enjoying some quiet catch up time with your spouse while your children are in their room mesmerized by the the classic storytelling.

This list of audiobooks would also be non-irritating for parents to listen to while on a long car ride with young children. In fact they would be more than tolerable:  it represents about 45 hours of delicious voice acting. If you consider that children will love to listen to them at least three times over, that’s about 135 hours of listening time!


A Bear Called Paddington” by Michael Bond

(over 2.5 hours long)


More About Paddington” by Michael Bond

(over 2.5 hours long)


Thumbelina and Other Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen

(over 2.5 hours long)


Beatrix Potter The Complete Tales” by Beatrix Potter

(almost 6 hours long)


Wind in the Willows” read by Jim Weiss

(over 6.5 hours long)


Andrew Lang Fairy Books (Blue, etc) by Andrew Lang

(over 14 hours long)


Winnie the Pooh (dramatized) by A.A. Milne

(2 hours long)


The Golden Key by George MacDonald:

(1 hour long)


The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald:

(almost 6 hours long)


Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel

(1.5 hours long)


Audio Books for Relaxed Evenings

Candles composition

Candles for you and your wife while the children listen in their beds to wonderful audio books (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you and your spouse want to have some private evenings of relaxation without having to leave home or hire a babysitter?

Audio books to the rescue!

Your children can listen to captivating unabridged voice-acted stories in their bedrooms while drawing quietly, playing Legos, or just lying dreamily on their beds. Here are some 50 hours of suggested audio to stock up with in your arsenal of date-night tricks. This should give you room to relax at home for about 25 date nights worth while your children get deliciously transported into other worlds:

Hank the Cowdog by John Erickson with 2.5 hours of audio

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Book 1) by Jeff Kinney with 2 hours of audio

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain with 9 hours of audio

Freddy the Detective by Walter Brooks with 5 hours of audio

The Adventures of Paddy the Beaver by Thornton Burgess with 2.5 hours of audio

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Book 1) by Frank Baum with 4 hours of audio

Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen with 2.5 hours of audio

The Silver Chair (Chronicles of Narnia) by CS Lewis with 5.5 hours of audio

Artemis Fowl (Book  1) by Eoin Colfer with 6 hours long of audio

Redwall (Book 1) by Brian Jacques with 10.5 hours of audio

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Books for Boys Ages 9 to 12

Deutsch: Paris: Eiffelturm und Marsfeld

My list of fun fictional books in English for boys 9 to 12 who might be living in Paris and missing a bit of our crazy Americana! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently an expatriate friend living near Paris, France, was wondering what kind of fun and interesting fictional books their twin 12 year old boys could read in English to keep them in touch with American culture.

In response, I put together a list of books here below that I thought boys from ages 9 to 12 might enjoy trying to read. Girls might like them too, but I chose this compilation especially for boys who want something to kick start them into reading. There are many other books I could recommend, but if you are looking to get them jump-started on something easily accessible and fun, these below I would recommend first. Note that all the links go to my Amazon affiliate program.

Books that have a special Americana bent to them:
Hank the Cowdog series (down-on-the-ranch humor)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid series (school kid humor that will open the doors to understanding modern American boy humor)

Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (classic American outdoor adventure; the outdoor part is the story might as well describe the outdoors of where we currently live in California)

The series of books “Freddy the Pig” by Walter Brooks (anthropomorphic animal stories, with some gentle humor, that does a good job explaining through elaborate plots the different aspects of how American life, culture, and politics work – they were a big hit with my twelve and under crowd)

The animal stories by Thornton Burgess (nature stories that my daughter Noelle absolutely loves; shock full of real facts about nature in the context of fictional animal stories)

The Wizard of Oz series of books (the boys liked this as the books are far more interesting and gritty than the movies)


Lawn Boy” and “Lawn Boy Returns” by Gary Paulson (humor about a boy running a successful business – this one really gets the American obsession about being successful in business life from a kid’s point of view; it had Gideon (age 10) laughing all the way through the books)


I’m listing a few Non-Americana books here below, but I include them because they are very popular in the United States and easy to read with good story lines:


ALL the books in Chronicles of Narnia series (I think that even though this was written by CS Lewis, a British writer, it is probably more popular in the United States than in Great Britain. An absolute MUST read.)

For 11 and 12 year olds, I recommend ALL the Artemis Fowl series of books by Eoin Colfer  (it is the kind of science-fiction humor that made me smile and laugh as an adult; big people get the humor too and it is not inappropriate humor; a lot of advanced vocabulary, but accessible because the writing is so good, that in context, you understand it)


Thanks to Daniel, a reader of this 10ktotalent blog site, I am adding to this list the Redwall series of books by Brian Jacques. Several other friends over the years have highly recommended these adventure books of a mouse-warrior in a medieval setting.


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Easy Storyboard Format for Writing Stories

English: Technical Script with storyboard Espa...

For a child who is visually oriented, try having her sketch her storyboard first, and then write it out in words. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is a storyboard format that has really worked well with our twelve (12) year old daughter.

We have settled down over time to this short list of questions that has really worked for her. Other types of writing prompts simply did not work. She loves to draw, loves animal stories, and is far more visually oriented than her brothers. But this list of questions she uses has really gotten her to daily and consistently write her own short stories.

So if you have a child who is not the verbal chatty type, but with more arts-oriented skills, you might find this format very refreshing. Please feel free to share and print this list with others:

  1. What type of animal is your character?
  2. What is your character’s name? Explain and draw a picture of him.
  3. What does the character want to have happen? Explain and draw a picture.
  4. What’s a difficult thing that happened before the character got what he or she wanted? Explain and draw a picture.
  5. How did the character overcome the problem? Explain and draw a picture.
  6. How does the story end differently, but in a better way than what the character wanted to first happen? Explain and draw a picture.
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French Pronunciation Exercise


Perfect Free Pronunciation Guide from a Native French Speaker Reading the Text of a French Bible – Always Available and NEVER Tires

Looking for a way to get a real French voice to teach your child how to pronounce French correctly for hours on end, without ever tiring, without ever betraying an American accent? How about if that was available to you as free for your child’s learning of a foreign language? And you could do it without having to drive your child to a tutor after-hours? Well, it is available here:

The audio can be treated as the perfect free pronunciation guide from a native French speaker reading the text of a French bible.

If you go to the you will find many bibles in many different languages WITH a native reader reading the text in the foreign language of your choice. You can also follow the written text as the person reads. And of course you can repeat it as often as you like or download it to your smartphone to listen to it in the car during commute hours and errands. In the past, to find a teacher who both had a correct accent and is willing to do it for hours on end with your child would have broken your pocketbook. Now when repetition and precision is everything, the audio bible comes to the rescue.

Here are the other Bible audios they currently offer online:



Fairy Tale Treats For You

Dear Friends of 10ktoTalent,

I have a treat I want to share with you. Here below is a list of 15 of my favorite fairy tales that have beautiful illustrations. They have made me and my younger children smile over the years. I have read and enjoyed hundreds of fairy tales, but these are the top ones that also include gorgeous visuals or whimsical graphics. It is sure to please girls and boys from ages to 4 to 12 years of age.

The first column is the name of the fairy tale, the second column is the author or illustrator, and the third is the ISBN number. Make sure you use the ISBN if you can because they are so many retellings of the stories that without the numbers you might not find the ones I recommend. You can plug the ISBN number into Amazon and many other online books search tools to get the exact version I am referring to.

If you are going on vacation or wanted to treat a friend with a box of sure-fire fairy tale classics, this is the surprise box of books I would send them. Click on my affiliate link to Amazon and use the list below if you want to skip through the inferior ones on the market (forget the ones for example that are re-told by celebrities). Go straight to the good ones.

The Little Red Hen Jerry Pinkney 0803729359
Rumpelstiltskin Paul Zelinsky 0525442650
Rapunzel Paul Zelinsky 0142301930
Puss in Boots (Sunburst Book) Fred Marcellino 0312659458
The Five Chinese Brothers (Paperstar) Claire Huchet Bishop 0698113578
Cinderella K.Y. Kraft 1587170043
The Twelve Dancing Princesses Marianna Mayer 0688080510
The Gingerbread Boy Paul Galdone 0547599404
The Three Billy Goats Gruff Paul Galdone 0395288126
The Three Bears Paul Galdone 089919401X
Snow White Paul Heins 0316354511
Hansel and Gretel Rika Lesser 0698114078
Jack and the Beanstalk Steven Kellogg 0688152813
Little Red Riding Hood Trina Schart Hyman 0823406539
The Sleeping Beauty Trina Schart Hyman 0316387088


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