Audio Books for Kids (The Secret to Happy Car Life)

From their earliest years, I knew that the bedrock of my kids’ early education would be read-aloud stories. My mother’s tireless commitment to reading aloud to her children shaped my own childhood in so many ways, and I wanted to give my own little ones the same experience of the world through great literature and memorable stories.

For the first few years of parenting, I was (naively) under the impression that in order to give my children the world through literature I had to do all the reading myself. What a relief to learn from hero-mentors like Sarah Mackenzie and Pam Barnhill among many others that soaking up a great story doesn’t have to come exclusively from mom sitting on the couch with an open book. Audio books are an amazing way to breathe wonder into the life of a child – and experience has taught me that the variety of voices doing the reading has actually benefited my children much more than just me reading aloud (I can do a mean southern accent, but I couldn’t do an English countryside brogue like Jim Dale to save my life! James Herriot’s books will always sound better coming from him).

A couple years ago I discovered the power of audio books in the car. It makes going just about anywhere with my kids so enjoyable – they’re always engaged in a story, rapt attention, and the only car bickering and fighting usually happens when I turn off the ignition before the chapter ends. Ha!

For longer car rides, a pile of audio books and an extra large bag of small organic apples from Trader Joes saves us: the kids munch and listen and it’s probably 1000x more pleasant for all of us than car rides without audio books and apples.

Audio Books My Kids LOVE

  • The Complete Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • James Herriot’s Treasury for Children (read by Jim Dale)
  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins
  • Little House on the Prairie Series with Cherry Jones
  • Charlotte’s Web, ready by E.B. White
  • Stuart Little, ready by the author
  • The Trumpet and the Swan, read by the author
  • Beverly Cleary Books (my kids love the Henry Huggins and Mouse and the Motorcycle books best, but the Ramona books are also funny)
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
  • Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, Roald Dahl
  • The Wind in the Willows
  • Mary Poppins Series by PL Travers
  • The Wizard of Oz, read by Anne Hathaway
  • The Beatrix Potter Complete Tales
  • The Chronicles of Narnia (Radio Theater Dramatized version)
  • A Child’s Garden of Verses, Robert Lewis Stevenson
  • Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book: The Mowgli Stories
  • Julie Andrew’s Collection of Poems, Songs and Lullabies
  • Frog and Toad Are Friends, book collection by Arnold Lobel
  • Thornton Burgess Bedtime Stories, read by author
  • Aesop’s Fables for Children (Audible)
  • Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
  • The Moffats series by Eleanor Estes
  • Your Story Hour Bible and History CDs (we own nearly all of them – some of the history ones have a Protestant worldview of history so caution advised on those. We love the Bible stories – I grew up listening to the entire collection).
  • An Introduction to Poetry by Michael Driscoll. My kids have memorized more poetry from this single CD than from anything else we’ve done. We LOVE it.
  • Will Wilder Series, by Raymond Arroyo
  • Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
  • A Christmas Carol, Focus on the Family Radio Theater
  • Greathall Products of the Classics as told by Jim Weiss. My kids have loved King Arthur and His Knights, Robin Hood, and The Three Musketeers so far.

Audio Books in Our Current Car Stack:

  • The “Shoes” Books by Noel Streatfeild (Ballet Shoes, Skating Shoes, Dance Shoes)
  • The Rush Revere history series by Rush Limbaugh
  • Adventures in Odyssey
  • Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Audio Books for Kids that YOU Recommended:

The following are books that my Instagram followers recommended as family favorites for car listening. Thanks to everyone who submitted ideas!

  • Flora and Ulysses by DiCamillo
  • Little House Series with Cherry Jones
  • The Green Ember Series
  • Tomie De Paolo’s 26 Fairmont Ave Series
  • Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
  • Any Boxcar Children Audio
  • Flat Stanley
  • Wind in the Willows
  • Beatrix Potter
  • Winnie the Pooh
  • Treasure Island
  • Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories
  • Skippy Jon Jones Series
  • Dr. Seuss Audiobooks
  • Swiss Family Robinson
  • The Railway Children Series
  • A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck
  • Whatever After Series by Sarah Mylnowski
  • The Melendy Quartet Series by Elizabeth Enright
  • The Hobbit
  • Tom Sawyer
  • Huck Finn
  • The Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally Lloyd Jones
  • Story of the Bible Series by TAN
  • Story of the World (history series)


HOOPLA is a wonderful FREE source of downloadable audio books connected to the Library system – definitely worth getting the app and checking out audio books that way! We’re still pretty old school over here, we love picking up CDs from the library. But we also use Hoopla, especially for books our library does not carry on CD.

A reader also recommended that you can connect your Amazon wish list to your Library/Hoopla list. I hadn’t heard of this before but it sounds like something we all should check out.

Happy listening this Summer! Please share your favorite audio books in the comments and I’ll update this post with more favorites.

Love, Steph




6 thoughts on “Audio Books for Kids (The Secret to Happy Car Life)

  1. For your older kids, you might want to give them cheap paper copies of the chapter books to read along with the narrator. (Or you can borrow extra copies from the library.) This helps improve their reading skills, and when you need to turn off the audio and they protest, you can encourage them to “read ahead” if they want.


  2. Thank you so much for sharing this list! I’m always listening to audiobooks during monotonous chores but never thought to put them on for my kids. Do you think it’s necessary to have the actual physical book for them to follow along with? Or are you kids good with just listening?


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