The Best Audiobooks the Whole Family Can Listen to on a Road Trip
Family road trips can go one of two ways: pleasantly kooky or totally off the rails. But there’s a surefire way to stop the backseat smack-downs and soul-crushing boredom: audiobooks! Here, our best picks on Audible for all ages.
“The Cat in the Hat and Other Dr. Seuss Favorites”
Read by Kelsey Grammer, John Lithgow, Billy Crystal and other notable names, kids will delight in Seuss’s irresistible rhymes, while parents will appreciate the actors’ award-worthy delivery.
“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum
Anne Hathaway has made no secret of the fact that she’s a Judy Garland fan. And her narration of this classic adventure does not disappoint. Plus, by hour two of your trip to Vermont (it seemed like such a festive idea at the time…), you’ll all be ready to click your heels and repeat “There’s no place like home.”
“Peter Pan” by J.M. Barrie
Barrie’s timeless tale of flying children and pirate-eating crocodiles will fuel the imaginations of both the grown up and forever young. Narrator Lily Collins breathes fresh, relatable life into the occasionally veddy British text.
“Eloise” by Kay Thompson
Many of the old-school references to a little girl’s posh life in the Plaza Hotel may be lost on the latest generation (Wait. Eloise didn’t have Snapchat?) But living legend Bernadette Peters has so much fun embodying the characters, even activist tweens will fall for the little one-of-a-kind one-percenter.
“The Ramona Quimby Collection“ by Beverly Cleary
The collection of eight classic Ramona tales, narrated by Stockard Channing, follows the irrepressible Ramona as she grows up. In the first book, she’s four years old, and gets a year older with each subsequent story. Real life topics drive the narratives (how Ramona recovers from an epic tantrum, how she learns to love her kindergarten teacher, etc.) without getting preachy.
“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling
The book lasts a whopping 8 hours and 34 minutes, making it likely you will run out of road before you run out of Rowling’s magical masterwork. Bonus: Writes The L.A. Times of narrator Jim Dale: "To call Dale a 'reader' of books is like saying Monet was a Sunday painter."
“Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen
Think Into the Wild for the middle school set. Paulsen won the Newbery Medal for this gripping story of a 13-year-old boy who, after surviving a plane crash, gets stranded in the Canadian wilderness with only a hatchet to survive.
“The Magic Treehouse” Collection by Mary Pope Osborne
Books one through eight can be downloaded at once, ensuring six hours of uninterrupted history-driven fantasy. The premise of each story is the same: A pair of siblings, Jack and his little sister Annie, happen upon a treehouse in the woods filled with books. By cracking open each new tome, they are transported to the world within, including to prehistoric dinosaur times, ancient Egypt and the Middle Ages.
“Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Paterson
Read by actor Robert Sean Leonard, the award-winning story of an 11-year-old boy and his new best friend—a girl who refuses the norm—living in the rural South is as poignant now as it was when it became in an instant children’s classic 30 years ago. Jesse and Leslie use creativity and the power of friendship to escape their impoverished circumstances, family difficulties and universal adolescent insecurities. Tragedy strikes toward the end, so parents may want to play this one for older kids only.