The Best Audiobooks for Kids

The Best Audiobooks for Kids - a vibrant list of family favorites for hours of road trip entertainment!We love audiobooks in our house and I wanted to share some of the best audiobooks we have enjoyed. Audiobooks actually became such a beloved method for consuming books Paul and I ended up having some deep conversations about the dangers that could come from consuming books in the form of of audiobooks. We definitely think they exist and that limits should be placed, which has happened, but our family still consumes a pretty consistent diet of audiobooks.

Our primary concerns with audiobook consumption is 1. the lack of seeing the words unfold before you takes away that very natural and easy method of learning to spell. For this reason, none of their school books are being used in audio form. Only free reads. And 2. there is a tendency to get lost in your own world when listening to a book so audiobooks are not to be used when your mind is to be used (ie. when cooking, which my boys do a lot) or at times when the family is gathered together. Easily dealt with, but it was helpful for us to have the conversation and attempt to be intentional with how we direct our boys with their audiobook usage.

Our primary method for consuming audiobooks is through Overdrive. I feel like everyone who loves audiobooks should be using Overdrive! Either people know it and love it and use it all the time, or they’ve never heard of it. I’ve never met an audiobook lover who is on the fence about Overdrive!

Overdrive is an app based service that local libraries (Canada and USA) buy into and you can virtually borrow the audiobooks for a limited period of time. Just like your local library you can place holds on the currently unavailable titles. What you can’t do is request titles from other library systems. HOWEVER! Each library system buys into whichever audiobooks they want, which means different regions have different titles available. I have used family and friends access to check out what they have available to them and while it wasn’t necessarily better than what we had, it was different. You can grab the Overdrive app from the app store and then talk to your librarian to get yourself set up.

While Overdrive is our go to for audiobooks, Audible has provided some excellent ones through their sales and deals. They currently are offering two free audiobooks and your first month free, so I signed us up (again) and have been looking for some new-to-us audiobooks that we will enjoy … which is what inspired this post as I have been google the best audiobooks for kids looking for inspiration for some new titles for us and thought I would make up my own list!

The Best Audiobooks for Kids

Note: my boys are 9 and 10 now. We’ve been using audiobooks for almost as long as they’ve been enjoying books, but this list is primarily relevant to their ages now.

Hank the Cowdog by John Erickson – read by the author, this hilarious book is brought to life in the most beautiful way. If you only check out one book, this would be the best audiobook my boys would recommend. They devote SO much time to Hank – and to relistening to Hank. And singing Hank’s songs. It really is clever and funny, even if it drives me a little bonkers. haha. There are so many stories – and Amazon Prime Music even has the songs that you can play on repeat. (yay!)

Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks – also read by the author. My teacher read this book to me in elementary school and it’s just one of those wildly creative stories that sticks with you. My boys, the younger one in particular, have been drawn to this story and have listened to it a few times.

Charlotte’s Web by EB White – narrated by George Plimpton. So, I know; basically every kids reads and loves this book. Only, my boys never got into it! Not until they were stuck in a car with nothing to do did they give this dreamy book about a pig and spider a true chance – and they loved it! I’m predicting this is going to be a huge theme of their childhood memories; “we were stuck in a car and found this audiobook and fell in love with it.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne – I’m not sure which narrator we listened to, but this book was another “trapped in the car with nothing to do” story! My oldest really enjoyed it!

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan – is a gripping story about a young girls trials and triumphs from Mexico to the USA in the early mid 1900’s. Loosely based on actual events, the authors note at the end adds a lot to the story, too. I had no idea about any of this horrifying history.

War of the Worlds (Dramatized) by HG Wells produced by L.A. Theatre Works – This is an abridged copy, but in it they have attempted to convey the same drama that occurred in the original radio program. They have changed the locations to American places and my ten year old loved it, having first read the original story and gotten curious about the radio program hype.

The Green Ember by S.D. Smith – The boys loved the adventures of rabbits with swords. This book (and the following ones in the series) were a fun feast of adventure, fun, bravery and tenderness.

Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson – These books were a bittersweet “read” as the boys and Paul would listen through them when he would go away with the military. They’d listen at the same pace and then talk about the chapters together. The story is an excellent one, full of imagination and heroic deeds and moral character and adventure. Andrew Peterson is a master storyteller, and we are huge fans of his work here!

Andrew Lang colored fairy books – there are, I believe, 12 of these books in total. The Green Fairy Book, The Blue Fairy Book, etc. Each book contains a collection of fairy tales curated, translated and retold by Andrew Lang (or, his wife as the rumor is!) In terms of a long standing, well beloved, book – these would be it. My oldest has listened to these stories over and over again from his 5-ish year old self to just this summer!

As I think of more I will update our list! I can’t find anywhere that Overdrive keeps track of our recent listens, which is disappointing to not have a list of our books that we have listened to.
Do you have any favorite audiobooks your kids have been enjoying lately that you would recommend?
Note: I have included referral links to the books on Amazon, so if you shop there I get a tiny kickback (at no additional cost to you!) but totally check out Overdrive first! Amazon is a great resource for checking out reviews on the books or looking at the “people who bought this also bought this” section for similar style book ideas!

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