Audiobooks are one of our family’s secrets to happy road trips AND peaceful afternoon rest time. For some reason, having to pay attention to the story of an audiobook keeps everyone so much quieter and happier than trying to play a movie in the car.
As a homeschooling work-at-home mom, I desperately need my kids to have a consistent afternoon quiet time or else I lose my sanity (and it’s not pretty!). Audiobooks really help the kids enjoy rest time and stay occupied so the little ones can nap. And my oldest even listens to them to fall asleep at night sometimes (and I do the same!)
Since I’ve mentioned how much we love audiobooks before on the blog I’ve had several readers email or message me asking which are my favorites, so I thought I’d compile a list of kids audiobooks we’ve loved. We order our very favorites from Amazon, but the library is another great resource for audiobooks. I also love the free site, LibriVox that features books in the public domain read by volunteers. You can download and app and listen from your phone, or from your laptop. The thing to remember about it is that the readers can vary in the talent department. Some are splendid and others are hard to listen to. But here’s a few from the very best reader that produces professional quality audiobooks (and the price is right!)
Free Audiobooks Books for Kids on LibriVox
From reader Karen Savage:
- Anne of Green Gables
- Anne of Avonlea
- Anne of the Island
- Anne’s House of Dreams
- Rilla of Ingleside
- A Little Princess
- The Secret Garden
- The Railway Children
- The Story of the Treasure Seekers
Some of Our Favorites (On CD or Audible):
The Chronicles of Narnia: This is a dramatized version of the wonderful C.S. Lewis books that my kids have adored! It’s very well done and while I usually don’t prefer dramatized audiobooks, this one is really splendid.
The Hobbit: This one is read by Rob Inglis and it’s a great length for a long road trip. We are big Tolkien fans and love to pass our nerd-dom to the rest of the fam.
The Lord of the Rings: Also read by Rob Inglis this one is unabridged and fantastic. We keep coming back to it!
The Tale of Despereaux: This is such a delightful book by Kate DiCamillo and the reader, Graeme Malcolm is fantastic.
The Harry Potter Series: Jim Dale is hands down my favorite reader ever and these are some of my all-time favorite books (because I aspire to be Molly and am convinced the Weasleys are a Catholic family and we’d have bunches in common except for magical powers). These are just wonderful on road trips, for naptime, or anytime.
Alice in Wonderland: Also read by Jim Dale, this a great one. Unfortunately, it looks like it’s now very expensive so you might want to try your local library or use a free trial of Amazon’s Audible program to listen.
A Christmas Carol: This is such a wonderful reading (also Jim Dale) but again, super pricey on Amazon so definitely see if your library can track it down for you!
The Little House Series: Cherry Jones does a great job of reading this wonderful series. And there’s plenty of songs in the books to keep toddlers interested. This one is especially great because it engages younger children (even our two-year-old loved it!) but it’s fun for everyone, even the grown ups.
The Story of the World: Jim Weiss reads this history book for children. It’s so delightful that it doesn’t feel like school at all. Our kids love it and I finally know where Upper and Lower Egypt are.
Chapter Books We Love:
These are some of our favorite books for kids that are available on audiobook. We haven’t listened to all of these so I can’t vouch for each reader!
- The Penderwicks
- Charlotte’s Web:
- Mr. Popper’s Penguins
- Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
- Stuart Little
- Mary Poppins
- The Hundred and One Dalmatians
- The Boxcar Children
- A Wrinkle in Time
- The Roald Dahl Collection
- Peter Pan
- The Princess and the Goblin
- The Jungle Book
- Ballet Shoes
Hope your family enjoys listening as much as we have! Be sure to share your favorites that I missed in the comments!
Disclosure: Links to Amazon.com are affiliate links.
The Story of Civilization (Vol 1 The Ancient World) has just been released by St Benedict Press, and I am looking forward to listening to their subsequent audio books, especially their treatment of the Middle Ages!
Tan Books has dramatised versions of both the Old and New Testament called The Story of the Bible, and they are excellent too.
We love the BBC versions of Winnie-the-Pooh, Robinson Crusoe and Wind in the Willows.
I’d like to check out the St. Benedict Press book! That sounds great. And I haven’t listened to the BBC versions of those classics! Gonna need to order those from the library.
Emily M says
My five-year-old is currently obsessed with the Winnie-the-Pooh with Judi Dench, Stephen Fry, et al. It’s dramatized, but very lightly edited (I’m not sure they took anything out but the dialogue markers). When he and his dad read the books recently, he could recite all of Pooh’s poems from memory when they came up.
I LOVE Judi Dench!
i was going to mention this one! it’s absolutely darling!
Thank you! I was one of those readers requesting titles 🙂 We’ve been reading longer chapter books to our 4 year old with great success – currently on The Mouse and the Motorcycle and he loves it! Your family is a great inspiration!
Aw, thanks, Rebecca! <3
At what age did you find your kids becoming interested in audio books? My almost-five year old is a voracious reader on her own, but the three and two year old seem to require pictures still to exhibit any kind of interest in the written word. Do your kids listen in bed during nap/quiet time? Or play with legos?
We haven’t started reading chapter books to our 3 year old yet.. I guess we never really thought about it. Haha but he loves listening to the podcast called “Stories Podcast”. The stories are usually less than 10 min so we’ll listen in the car or sometimes while eating lunch if we just need some quiet. He likes listening to the same stories over and over. It’s just a suggestion for a good place to start with your littles since the stories are short and usually classics.
tami kiser says
Jim Dale also reads the Peter and the Starcatcher series. We love him, too. And this series is a lot of fun.
We’ve gone on many long car trips–we always pick a novel or 2 to listen to together. We’ve enjoyed most of the ones you’ve mentioned–plus a Series of Unfortunate Events and most of the Percy Jackson series (and others from that author), Phantom Tollbooth. We own the Focus on the Family’s Radio Theatre Chronicles of Narnia–these are fantastic! Worth the price. We also feel that way about all of Jim Weiss CD’s. These are great for bedtime.
Oh this post makes my heart happy! We love audiobooks! I highly recommend the Stuart Little audiobook read by Julie Harris.
I just remembered another: By the Great Horn Spoon. It’s excellent listening for the whole family.
We love the Beverly Cleary books on audio narrated by Stockard Channing.
Our library has an elibrary so we can “check out” audio books right from home. There’s no charge, we just had to ask about it and set up an account. It’s worth looking into if you’ve got a public library card. 🙂
This post came in perfect timing. We recently discovered one of our girls is dyslexic, she loves books but the task of reading them independently is overwhelming for what she is able to get out of them. We have been looking up the books she chooses on YouTube and it has gone well. Our summer goal is to get her into some more of the classic stories such as Anne of Green Gables.
I am so excited to start our summer listen to list. With dreary weather here in Alberta today it seems to be the perfect day for it.
For littler ones (2 or so) the audio versions of Arnold Lobel’s Frog & Toad books and Owl Stories & Uncle Elephant are perfect. There is enough humor for adults and the stories are sort enough that they keep her attention They were a big hit on our last road trip.
We listen to tons of audiobooks, too! My current secret weapon is the Overdrive app. It’s free, and you connect it with your local library and check out books for one week at a time. They have a great selection and at no cost, it can’t be beat!
Sara (ToJesusSincerely) says
I’ve got this newfound LOVE for audio books! They keep the kids entranced like any movie would, and are wayyy better for the brain lol!
I think you’d like holy heroes glory stories! We’re hooked on them for short car rides. They are beautiful saint stories, the kids learn soooo much and can listen to them over and over!!
Thanks for this awesome list, I am inspired to expand our audiobook collection!
I have never heard of the Holy Heroes Glory Stories. Can I ask where you get them, Sara?
Has anyone tried Little Women? I have a 4.5 yr old girl.
I’m listening to this with my kids right now (4, 5, and 8). We downloaded the Barbara Caruso narrated version from our local library and they’re really enjoying it!