Audio books

Listen Up!

Spring Break is coming up for a lot of our students and lots of our families will be taking road trips. What better time to feature our audiobook collection? My librarian Miss A created this display to promote our audiobooks (and their print counterparts):

Photo by Abby Johnson, NAFCPL

We have lots of great audiobooks in our collection, but often families need a little help finding titles that make great listens for the whole family. The best family listens will entertain kids of all ages, as well as the adults in the car. Here are some of my favorite family listens to recommend for road trips.

The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale by Carmen Agra Deedy, read by Katherine Kellgren. Listening Library, 2012. Kids will delight in this delightful animal tale, while teens and adults will enjoy catching all the Dickens references woven into the story.

George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl, read by Richard E. Grant. HarperAudio, 2005. Roald Dahl’s many books make great family listens. His imaginative stories will appeal to kids and adults may enjoy revisiting some of their childhood favorites! It looks like many of Roald Dahl’s audiobooks are due to be rereleased by Penguin Audio this spring and summer.

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, read by Alan Cumming. Simon & Schuster Audio, 2009. This audiobook is great for families with tweens or teens and the story has a lot of crossover appeal for adults, too. Alan Cumming narrates the story with an expert touch, switching between many different accents with ease.

The Maze of Bones (39 Clues #1) by Rick Riordan, read by David Pittou. Scholastic Audio, 2008. The rip-roaring adventure of the 39 Clues series is brought to life with excellent narration by David Pittou. This is a great choice for families with school age kids and tweens who like adventure stories.

Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo, read by Ron McLarty. Listening Library, 2006. Mercy Watson is like a combination of Curious George and Dennis the Menace. The Mercy Watson audiobook collections are great family listens for families with young kids.

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex, read by Bahni Turpin. Listening Library, 2011. Bahni Turpin’s excellent narration absolutely brings this tale to life with its madcap action and the best alien voice I’ve ever heard.

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Photo by Abby Johnson, NAFCPL

What awesome family listens would you recommend?

— Abby Johnson, Children’s Manager
New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
New Albany, IN


  1. Lisa @ Shelf-employed

    What could be better than The True Meaning of Smekday? I love that book! For older families, I would add The Goose Girl; for younger families, the Clementine series. For those of you who haven’t listened to The 39 Clues series on audio, did you know that there is a bonus track on each book – something not included in the print version?

  2. Kim

    I always recommend the Harry Potter series on audio as read by Jim Dale. He is a true master!

  3. Dianna Burt

    Some classics are terrific audio books too! Charlotte’s Web, Bunnicula, Shiloh, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe! My favorite is Charlotte’s Web.

  4. Allison Tran

    These are great recommendations, and I love the display! I’d also recommend the audiobook of Hattie Big Sky, by Kirby Larson. Wonderful book, wonderful narration.

  5. Katie Kinnamon

    My family loves all of Richard Peck’s stories, especially The Teacher’s Funeral and A Long Way from Chicago. The narrations are wonderful and the stories full of fun. They are really great to listen to with grandparents and great grandparents; they open up discussions of what life was like “back then”.

  6. Nancee

    This is an excellent list and a nice display. I would also recommend The Mighty Miss Malone, also narrated by the outstanding Bahni Turpin. Excellent!

  7. Laura Arnhold

    I really enjoyed The Invention of Hugo Cabret on audiobook. A completely different experience from the book and movie, but very good nonetheless! The audiobook has some great sound effects of old movies, the train station, and others.

  8. Sharon Grover

    Great post, Abby! I love all the titles that have been suggested and recommend them often to kids and families. I also recommend the Artemis Fowl series, narrated by the amazing Nathaniel Parker (rumor has it he’ll be at the Odyssey Award presentations — if you’re going to ALA in Chicago this summer, be sure to put this on your schedule). For families that love history, there’s a wonderful recording from Full Cast Audio of Geraldine McCaughrean’s Stop the Train!

    1. Lisa

      I’ll have to listen to Stop the Train!. I love Geraldine McCaughrean’s books and I love Full Cast Audio! Thanks.

  9. Sarah

    I second Jim Dale-he is amazing! I often tell families with tweens and teens about Skulduggery Pleasant, which is a great after Harry Potter read/listen.

    And I agree that the alien voice in Smekday is the best alien voice there is!

  10. Pingback: Audiobook Blog – Audiobooker, by Mary Burkey – Booklist Online » Blog Archive » News you can use

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