Hitting the road for some summer road tripping? We’ve found that few things help the driving hours pass more quickly for kids and adults than a good book the whole family can enjoy. We live in the Golden Age of the Audiobook, and—as a result—there’s less need to read yourself into nausea or twist yourself to project your voice for those in the backseat.
Good books tend to make good audiobooks. Great narrators make great audiobooks. Here are a few of our favorites.
We’ve previously told you of our love for C.S. Lewis’s classic series, and the audio editions (save Aslan’s disappointing voice actor) are good as well. Imagination-stoking, these tales of British school children who are whisked away to high stakes, fantastical adventures in another world are a treasure. The seven audiobooks are four to five hours long each, and some editions add sound effects and theatrical elements (not my style, but some seem to dig it).
Andrew Peterson wanted to create an imaginary world that had depth and history (a la Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings) and also the accessibility and easy-entry (if you will) of Lewis’s Chronicles. The Wingfeather Saga is the result, and we think it’s pretty great. Set in an imaginary world and a land under the thumb of a cruel ruler, these four books build in their energy and intensity (and length—the first book is an eight-hour listen; the final is over thirteen) as three siblings begin to learn about their mysterious past and their role to overthrow the invaders. Reading comprehension level is probably a couple of years beyond readers of The Chronicles of Narnia.
The final book of this six-book series just released, and we haven’t read it yet…but we’ve read the other five multiple times. They’re ridiculous—fun tales about Penelope Lumley, a wise, good governess and her three wards—the so-called incorrigible children of Ashton Place. “Incorrigible” because they were raised by wolves until the Lord of Ashton Place discovered them on a hunt, these orphans and their governess are actually the least incorrigible characters in the books. Filled with wordplay and delivered by a remarkable narrator (the prolifically narrating Katherine Kellgren), kids who can hang with the plot of The Wingfeather Saga will be at the right reading comprehension level for these books. Book 1 is over five hours long; the books grow in length until the ten-hour concluding Book 6.
Prices on audiobooks often are close to those of print books, and subscription audiobook programs (like Amazon’s Audible) reduce prices a bit more. Also, check out your library, and I bet you’ll find audiobook CD and audiobook apps like Overdrive’s excellent Libby app and Hoopla. It’s tough to beat library prices.
Sign up for every-other-week-dadcraft in your inbox bi-weekly via our newsletter.