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.
The Guernsey Potato Peel Pie Society
The Gospel Comes with a House Key
anything by Malcolm Gladwell**
FOR THE FAMILY
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series
Julia Donaldson books (for littles)
Chronicles of Narnia–Radio Theatre**
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy**
Biographies by Janet + Geoff Benge**
Little Women (also the BBC Radio version)
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.
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.
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!
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…
I LOVE her stories! They’re poetic yet approachable and always introduce the best conversations. Thank you for adding them here!
What do the asterisk mean?
Also, I agree, P&P read by Rosamund Pike is fabulous. Sense and Sensibility is now out too, read by her!
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
„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.
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!
Yay! Just in time for a road trip. My kids love audiobooks in the car. Thanks for sharing.
Road trips are some of my favorite hours for audiobooks. Have fun! X