Great Audio Books for Long Family Road Trips

November 28, 2011

This holiday season promises a bump in travel over the last few years, but since most families are still riding out the recession, you’re going to see a lot more people traveling by car than other, more pricy methods (planes, trains, and so on).  For the family on a budget, this could mean long hours in the confines of a crowded sedan or minivan.  So if you’re looking for a way to entertain the kids that won’t bore you to tears (or leave you humming “Twinkle, twinkle little star” for the duration of your trip), here are a few audio books that the whole clan is sure to enjoy.

  1. Holes by Louis Sachar.  If you’ve read the printed version of this book or seen the 2003 movie adaptation, then you are already familiar with the endearing story of Stanley Yelnats (yup, his last name is his first name spelled backwards).  Poor Stanley is caught in the middle of a curse that goes back generations and he must find a way to right the wrong that his no good, dirty, rotten, pig-stealing great-great grandfather committed.  Unfortunately, he’ll have to do so from a youth “camp” where he’s been unfairly dumped with the task of digging holes in the desert.  Luckily he makes some good friends along the way and unwittingly finds the answer his family has been searching for.
  2. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 1) by C.S. Lewis.  Totally aside from the fact that this first installment in a series of seven has something of a religious bent (which may or may not appeal to you), it is a really fantastic story that both kids and adults will undoubtedly enjoy.  And in truth, the struggle between good and evil (and the ability of all people to choose) is a theme that is universal in literature, religious or otherwise.  British actor Michael York brings the text to life with his richly inflected vocal patterns.
  3. The Best School Year Ever by Barbara Robinson.  If your kids enjoyed The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, they’ll definitely find something to love in this hilarious sequel that has the Herdman kids up to their same old antics (smoking cigars and causing trouble wherever they go).  If you’re looking for an audio book that will have you laughing out loud right along with your kids, this is the perfect choice.
  4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.  Everyone is by now acquainted with the famous boy wizard, thanks to the popular book series and movie franchise (not to mention a theme park).  But you can relive the magic all over again from the very first year Harry enters Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  The books and movies may be at an end, but everyone from professional truckers to families traveling by car or RV can enjoy the story again via audiobook.
  5. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley.  Kids that love mysteries and morbid goings on will no doubt be fascinated by this story that is equal parts Nancy Drew and Lemony Snicket.  Heroine Flavia de Luce is an 11-year-old aspiring chemist that just happens to stumble upon a murder mystery in her sleepy little English village.  Of course, she can’t help but try to solve it.  Although some parents may find the premise questionable, the content is fairly safe for school-age kids (no bad language or graphic and gruesome descriptions).  And the whole family will be charmed by brilliant Flavia and the plot of this captivating audio book.

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