I love reading stories to children, I really do. I love doing all the different voices, as it absolutely awakens the inner actress in me. And I love hearing the pitter patter of little feet as they go pick out another book from the shelf. But sometimes, it’s nice to delegate!

If your voice is also hoarse from reading Cornebidouille for the sixty billionth time, or if you simply don’t enjoy reading stories to kids that much, whether you’re a parent, grandparent, cousin, babysitter, chauffeur, or French learner... check out these incredible podcasts and audiobooks for children, all available through our own FCC online resource, Culturethèque, or through Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google. There are some real gems in this list!

I included this album mostly for the first track called Justin le petit lapin. It is a charming 8 min. story about Justin, a bunny rabbit who wakes up, stretches, washes his face, and gets ready to go out and meet his friends. Sit back and watch as your kid delightfully mimics everything that Justin does in the story.

Brother and sister Bulle & Bob love each other, talk, joke around and discover their emotions in various places: the kitchen, the forest, the farm, the garden… In total, I’ve counted 11 Bulle & Bob albums in existence, so take your pick! 
 
  • L’école des loisirs à écouter (3-5) **** SpotifyApple
These stories are usually around five min. long. They are superbly read and acted out, and they can also be listened to with the picture books. Check out our Library catalog to see if we carry them - often we do! Favorites include Caca Boudin and Le Loup est revenu.

France Inter is France’s National Public Radio. The quality of their podcasts is always excellent, and new stories of about 10 min. long come out every week. Favorites include Rainette, la grenouille qui détestait se laver les cheveux and Le loup qui préférait les carottes.

  • La grande histoire de Pomme d’api (3-7) *** Spotify / Apple
These stories can be listened to on their own or can be paired with the Pomme d’Api magazine (do not hesitate to ask the library if there is a particular story you would like to check out and flip through as you listen). A new story comes out every month!

Beautiful sound effects and great narration. A new story comes out every month. Favorites include Les trois petits cochons, Boucle d’or, La princesse au petit pois, and many more!

Excellent narrator, with a calm and slow voice. Perfect for le temps calme!

  • Des histoires en musique par Radio Classique (3-99) ***** Spotify / Apple
This podcast is definitely one of my top choices: not only does this series include wonderful traditional tales and stories, it also introduces the listener to gorgeous symphonic and instrumental works. The episodes last between 5 and 12 minutes, and will make Stravinsky, Beethoven or Debussy absolutely shine (or will it be the music that makes the stories shine? The chicken or the egg?) Favorites include Le petit chaperon rouge and Jacques et le haricot magique.

  • Pierre et le Loup (3-99) ***** Spotify 
Obviously a classic. Listen with awe, tremble with fear and sigh with relief when the wolf gets carried away to the zoo. Bonus: the voice of Gérard Philippe, iconic actor of the 40s and 50s.

Though controversial (some writers have argued that the Babar stories can be seen as a justification for colonialism), Babar remains a delightful character, especially when the little elephant is paired with Jeanne Moreau’s captivating voice and Francis Poulenc’s composition for piano solo. The 30 min. long story is the last track on the album.
 
  • Les histoires du Pince Oreille (3-99) *****
I love this series so much that I could have done a blog post just on this! It will forever be in my heart since I personally grew up with these fictions radiophoniques. Once I discovered them, I took my walkman (oh dear) everywhere I went… in the car, on the beach, in my bed, on school trips. They are charming, delightful stories that will stimulate your kid’s imagination like nothing else! The topics and genres are varied: some are humorous, some are moving, some are classics of worldwide literature, some are new French writing. If I had to recommend one series from this entire list, this would be it! So grab a blanket and be ready to get your "ear pinched" (literally translated, les histoires du pince oreille mean "stories of the earwig" or "stories of the ear pincher")
Loup y es-tu ?  Culturethèque / Spotify
Favorites include Les malheurs d’Ysengrin and Le loup du bois de Meudon
Contes de Pierre Gripari  Culturethèque
Favorites include Blanche-Neige ou la cinq fois belle and Le marchand de fessées
Quel farceur mon neveu  Spotify
Favorites include La cuisine and L’ascenseur
Le Retour des Sorcières Spotify
Favorites include Kandache et Youache
La Saga des Chats Spotify
Favorites include Le Chat du Yang Tsé

You can also listen to several of these stories (taken individually from the albums referenced above) on France Culture and Apple.

So you’ve already listened to all this? You need MORE? Then check out our previous blog post on audio materials for children and beginners.

A dual citizen of France and the USA, Sonia grew up between the Midwest and Brittany. After obtaining her BA in Philosophy and Modern Languages at Oxford University in 2015, she spent several years in Paris, working in classical music and studying voice & opera at the Conservatoire. She moved to Boston in the fall of 2020, where she now performs as a singer. Sonia is thrilled to also be a part of the French Library’s team, where she can put her deep love of French literature to use while working as Librarian.

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