August is Family Fun Month. Many families use these precious last weeks before school starts to travel together. One way to make getting there and back a little more pleasant is by listening to an audiobook.
For road trips where everyone will be listening to the same thing, it can be hard to find exactly the right audiobook. In any given car thereâ€™s a variety of ages and interests, plus you want something that will keep everyoneâ€™s spirits up and wonâ€™t make anyone in the car blush or squirm (at least not too much). Here are some suggestions:
If the car has early-elementary schoolers:
My mom read Charlotteâ€™s Web aloud to my sister and me when we were growing up, and we were charmed by the childrenâ€™s classic. When I first started at Listening Library, it was recommended that I experience Charlotteâ€™s Web again by listening to the audio. Iâ€™m glad I did. Author E. B. Whiteâ€™s narration adds an extra layer of nuance to the story of farm life and friendship. My favorite aspect of the audio is the voice Mr. White uses for Templeton.
Listen to an excerpt CHARLOTTE’S WEB
Authors and sisters Kate and Sarah Klise lead their friendly family circus into a fun mix of situations, and the full-cast audiobook, with sound effects and circus music, is a true treat. Puns and humor sprinkled throughout the text will make kids and adults alike giggle, and there are great educational components (including some simple arithmetic lessons).
Listen to an excerpt THREE-RING RASCALS, BOOKS 1-2
If the car has kids nearly in middle school:
Send the Swiss Family Robinson to an island similar to the one on the hit TV show Lost, and youâ€™ve pretty much got the Shipwreck Island series by S. A. Bodeen. Fair warning: just like Lost, once you start this series, itâ€™s very hard to stop.
Listen to an excerpt SHIPWRECK ISLAND, BOOKS 1-2
Craig Robinson (who played Darryl Philbin on The Office), Adam Mansbach (author of the hit picture book Go the F*ck to Sleep), and Keith Knight (one of the top cartoonists working today) bring talent, star power, and comedic flair to the story of Jake, a boy who fakes his way into a middle school for gifted and talented students and soon finds himself in over his head. Plenty of laughter ensues as Jake prepares for the school talent show and ultimately learns an important lesson.
Listen to an excerpt JAKE THE FAKE KEEPS IT REAL
If the car has seasoned middle schoolers:
The lush descriptions of the Cuban food served at Arturo Zamoraâ€™s family restaurant are likely to make your mouth water as you root for Arturo to save the business and get the girl of his dreams. Author Pablo Cartaya does a wonderful job narrating his audiobook. AudioFile gave it an Earphones Award and said, â€śPablo Cartaya brings humor, poignancy, and a fresh voice to his reading of his audiobook…. Each of Arturo’s family and friends is a unique character, but they’re joined by a thread of love and history, and Cartaya’s warm tone and energetic pacing serve to keep the story moving while providing the backstory. The sense of culture and place is rich, and the dialogue is refreshingly realistic.â€ť
Listen to an excerpt THE EPIC FAIL OF ARTURO ZAMORA
Whether or not youâ€™ve heard of Squirrel Girl and whether or not youâ€™re into superheroes, thereâ€™s a lot to love about this audiobook. Though lesser known, Squirrel Girl is one of Marvelâ€™s most powerful superheroesâ€”and also one of the most kind. Newbery Honor author Shannon Hale and her husband, Â Dean Hale (the team behind the Princess in Black series), bring fourteen-year-old Doreen Green to life as she deals with many everyday issues like fitting in at a new school and making friendsâ€¦but with the added pressure of having extraordinary powers. In a starred review, School Library Journal called narrator Tara Sands â€ścompletely convincingâ€ť as Doreenâ€™s squirrel friend Tippy Toe and noted that Abigail Revasch â€śinhabits Doreen Green and her alter ego, Squirrel Girl, with finesse.â€ť (Totally agree!)
Listen to an excerpt THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL
If the car has high schoolers:
If youâ€™ve been listening to the soundtrack for the hit musical Hamilton on repeat, consider shaking up the routine (just slightly) with Alex and Eliza, a fictionalized account of the romance between young Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler. New York Timesâ€’bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz pulls out all the stops, bringing listeners an epic, sumptuous romance about a pair who changed American history.
Listen to an excerpt ALEX AND ELIZA
New York Timesâ€’bestselling author Garth Nix clearly had a terrific time writing this stand-alone humorous novel featuring a fabulous, no-nonsense princess who is plagued with the unfortunate power to break evil spells with magic lip balm. Yes, she has to kiss a lot of frogs. Along the way she also teams up with a loyal talking dog, a thief trapped in the body of a newt, and some mischievous wizards, to save the land from her evil step-stepfather. Like Gregory Maguireâ€™s popular Wicked series, Frogkisser! turns fairy-tale tropes on their head with sly humor, fast-paced action, and just the right amount of sophistication. The New York Times says “[Narrator Marisa Calin] does a fantastic job…. Her upbeat tone is well suited to the book’s jaunty style and amusing quests.”
Listen to an excerpt FROGKISSER!