Now that travel within the U.S. is significantly safer than it was a year ago (especially if your kids are old enough for the vaccine at this stage), we thought we’d share some of the best audiobooks for kids for your family road trip and beyond.
What are your recommendations for audiobooks for kids — either for travel or for listening to at home? (Do your kids like to listen to audiobooks to help them fall asleep?)
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Here are some of the best audiobooks for kids to take along on your travels this summer… Note also that you can often get the audiobooks out of your local library, and you can often find deals at Chirp. (Another way of saving: if you buy it on Kindle the Audible add-on is often minimal.)
Harry Potter series
Let’s be real — you can’t make a list like this without including Harry Potter. I’ve never listened to the audiobooks (I read all the books as soon as they were published!), but everyone raves about the narrator, Jim Dale. Fun fact: Dale used 134 voices in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Stephen Fry, who I’m sure is just as impressive, narrates the UK versions. (I’m wondering, is Dobby as annoying in the audiobooks as he is in the films? Hmm.)
Even if your kid (and/or you) have already read the books, listening to the stories of Harry and friends (and foes) brings a new experience. Here’s a five-minute sample of the first book (link underneath cover image).
Hidden Figures — Young Readers’ Edition by Margot Lee Shetterly
Nonfiction audiobooks can be just as interesting for kids as novels — and here’s a great choice with some amazing role models. The regular version of Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race is on my to-read list (I really liked the movie), but I didn’t know until recently that there’s a version for kids (recommended for grades 4–6).
Besides entertaining young science fans, the experiences and accomplishments of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Christine Darden can lead to some important discussions with your kids about segregation and racism.
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
I always get a nice, nostalgic feeling when my son reads a book that I read as a kid — sometimes it’s even my copy. (In school, he’s currently reading A Wrinkle in Time and Tuck Everlasting, both of which I vividly remember from my childhood.) My son has my old copy of this book in his room (but hasn’t read it) — is this book a blast from the past for you, too?
It’s always an interesting experience to hear an audiobook that’s read by the author — and to my surprise, E. B. White narrates the audiobook! Here’s a 15-minute sample (link underneath cover image). A second option is a very different version that is performed by Meryl Streep and a full cast — including, coincidentally, Bahni Turpin (see above). A five-minute sample is available on the page.
How to Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell
Kat recently informed me that the audiobook versions of the How to Train Your Dragon books are read by David Tennant, which caught my attention, because I’d enjoy listening to David Tennant read the phone book (or, you know, a video designed for calming cats). Here’s a five-minute sample (link underneath cover image).
My knowledge of this book series is limited to seeing the movie trailers, but in short, the stories are set in a fictional Viking world and tell the story of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III as he has adventures and tries to become a hero.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
When my 10-year-old needed a fantasy book for school last month, I pulled this book of the shelf and offered it to him. I’d gotten it free in a book swap and haven’t read it yet, but he ended up loving this story of a boy raised by ghosts. The book has earned lots of awards and is the only novel to win both the Newbery Medal and the Carnegie Medal. (If you’re looking for books that appeal to the whole family, this is a good bet — my husband recently listened to it while running and really enjoyed it.)
The audiobook cast is seriously impressive and may have convinced me to listen to the book myself. It includes Gaiman himself as well as Derek Jacobi, Andrew Scott, Miriam Margolyes, Lenny Henry, and others. Here’s a five-minute sample (link underneath cover image).
What are your kids’ favorite audiobooks? (How about podcasts?) When you travel, are your kids more likely to use an iPad or watch a movie than listen to a book? Or are they lucky enough to be able to read a physical book without getting carsick? (I’m jealous.) Also: When you listen to audiobooks yourself, do you prefer when they’re read by the author?
Stock photo via Deposit Photos / pahis.ukr.net.