There are a million and two reasons to keep your phone tucked away and out of reach during the day, but an audiobook is not one of them. Like many of you, we listen to audiobooks in the car, in the kitchen, on the sofa or our beds, through our headphones on-the-go, and so on. They have been salvation for me during the little years, when my children would play Legos for hours on their bedroom floor or when they were too old for naps but needed rest time. They have been a gift for me too when I want to enjoy my own books on a run or while bustling about the house or while traveling. I find myself in the same place with audiobooks that I do with the books I read––there are so many good ones, it’s difficult to know which to choose.

There are so many decisions when deciding a book to read. I tend to agree with Kathleen Kelly’s character in You’ve Got Mail when she says, “When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.” That said, I can argue countless ways that books change and inform me now. Written and spoken words are powerful. So how do we know which are worth our time? Often, I ask a friend.

On Instagram last week, I asked followers to share their favorite audiobooks. Here’s a list of their responses, linked for the curious, separated only by stories that seemed more suited for older listeners versus younger ones. The asterisks mark books or series that were mentioned more than once. I only added Pride and Prejudice read by Rosamund Pike since it’s my most recent one to finish and enjoy. It’s perfect for older children and teen listeners, too!  I have read or listened to several books listed but now have fresh ideas for both the kids and myself. I hope you will, too.


 

FOR YOU

Eleanor Oliphant is Fine**

Becoming**

The Book of Joy

The Girl of the Limberlost

The Gown

These is My Words

Jayber Crow

The Help**

Big Magic**

Bossypants**

Still Alice

Dare to Lead**

East of Eden

Anything by David Sedaris

Brave Learner

All the Light We Cannot See**

Liturgy of the Ordinary

Bad Blood

The Social Animal 

Love Does

The Guernsey Potato Peel Pie Society

The Power of a Habit

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn**

A Gentleman in Moscow

Anything by Timothy Keller

The Conscious Parent

Educated**

Anything by Ruta Sepetys

Ruth Reichl’s My Kitchen Year

Bread and Wine**

The Winter Sea

A Praying Life

The Gospel Comes with a House Key

anything by Malcolm Gladwell**

Sherlock Holmes

God’s Smuggler

The Joy of Less

For the Love

The More of Less

Laurus

The Gift of Being Yourself 

Vinyl Cafe 

Better Than Before

12 Rules for Life

Becoming Mrs. Lewis

The Night Circus

All Creatures Great and Small

The Boys in the Boat

To Kill a Mockingbird

Pride and Prejudice 

 

FOR THE FAMILY

Echo**

Farmer Boy

Winnie-the-Pooh

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series

The Hobbit

Mary Poppins series**

The Wingfeather Saga**

The Roald Dahl Collection

Julia Donaldson books (for littles)

Chronicles of Narnia–Radio Theatre**

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy**

Little Britches series**

anything by GA Henty

Anne of Green Gables** 

The Saturdays

The Penderwicks series**

Paddignton Bear

Biographies by Janet + Geoff Benge**

Little Women (also the BBC Radio version)

Young Fredle

Ballet Shoes series

Green Ember series

Robinson Crusoe (also BBC Children’s Classics)

11 replies
  1. Jessie
    Jessie says:

    Thank you! We have a couple of road trips coming up and I needed some good ones for our family. I saw Farmer Boy was listed but I think any of the books in the Little House in the Big Woods series is amazing. Also my 7 year old daughter LOVED listening to the Ivy and Bean series and Clementine series.

    Reply
  2. Kimberly
    Kimberly says:

    Charlotte’s Web read by E.B. White!
    Hearing my 5 yr old say “You don’t have to stay in that dirty little dirty little dirty little pen” never gets old.

    Reply
    • Bethany
      Bethany says:

      I haven’t listened to it on audio, but adore when authors read their own work. It seems they introduce a unique element; don’t you think? Thank you for sharing!

      Reply
  3. Amy
    Amy says:

    What a wonderful list. Thank you!!! My children love Kate DiCamillo and she has some great books on audio – Because of Winn Dixie, Ramie Nightingale, Desperaux, etc…

    Reply
    • Bethany
      Bethany says:

      I played it in the car and the kids enjoyed it, too! I didn’t realize she read S+S too—wonderful!

      And the asterisks mark audiobooks that were recommended by more than once by readers. Xx

      Reply
  4. Nessa
    Nessa says:

    „To kill a mockingbird“ is my favorite. Currently it’s the 7th time that I listen to it. (in german, so I can’t say anything about the audiobook, just about the story)

    One late tip:
    Harper Lee wrote “Go Set a Watchman“ before „to kill a mockingbird“, but published it afterward – in 2015! It’s totally controversial.
    Wikipedia: “Go Set a Watchman tackles the racial tensions brewing in the South in the 1950s and delves into the complex relationship between father and daughter. It includes treatments of many of the characters who appear in To Kill a Mockingbird“
    I love it. But I don’t listen to it as much as to the first book, because it’s way more challenging, especially as a daughter and as a human with the right to vote. But it worth it and the topic is (every time) up to date.

    Reply
    • Bethany
      Bethany says:

      I completely agree about To Kill a Mockingbird, but I have never read the other. I remember when it released but somehow never picked it up. I’m adding it to my queue now, as I’m intentionally focusing on writings around race this year. Thank you so much for sharing!

      Reply

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