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We discovered family-friendly podcasts a couple of years ago, and have listened to hours and hours of them since I published that post. The only problem with podcasts though, is that even pod hosts need vacation sometimes, so we were finding long stretches of time over the summer with nothing new to listen to! That’s why we turned to family-friendly audiobooks. No ads, no waiting for the next chapter, nothing but great books being read to us while we zip around town running errands, or while we drive longer distances on roadtrips.
We get all of our audiobooks through Audible; it’s conveniently linked to our family Amazon account, and we automatically buy one credit per month, which can be used for any audiobook on Amazon. You can get two free audiobooks of your choice AND two free Audible Exclusives when you sign up for a 30 day free trial today!
Audible recently updated the purchasing process for new books, making it easier than ever to buy on the go! I used to have to log in to amazon.com in my phone’s browser, find the book, purchase the audio version, open the Audible app, download the book, THEN start listening. Now though, I can make purchases directly from the Audible app, making it way easier to buy, especially when I know just the book I’m looking for.
Paying about $15 a month for my Audible credits and then using it for whichever books we choose makes more sense than paying for the individual audiobooks. As an example, the audiobook of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is more than $20, or 1 credit, which is only $14.95.
If you sign up for Audible membership today, you will aways keep the credits you have purchased, they don’t expire. You can also purchase 1, 3, 6, or 12 month gift subscriptions, which would make an excellent holiday gift for the audiobook fan in your life!
The Harry Potter series, by JK Rowling
You’ll find two schools of thought on these audiobooks; there are two versions, with different narrators. Jim Dale and Stephen Fry are the two versions, being the ones sold in the US or the UK, respectively. I haven’t listened to the Stephen Fry editions, but I do adore him. We enjoyed the Jim Dale ones a ton as well; the series lasted us almost 6 months of listening when we were in the car together.
Land of Stories series, by Chris Colfer Much like “Into the Woods,” this series brings familiar fairytale characters into an entirely new story. A pair of twins goes on wild adventures in the fairytale realm, collecting ingredients for spells and generally saving the day. Chris Colfer’s name may be familiar because he played Kurt on “Glee”
The Hobbit (Dramatized), by JRR Tolkien
A classic, and a great introduction to the world of Tolkien. This version is the dramatization from NPR, so it is abridged to about 4 hours, and features a full ensemble cast. If you’re a purist, you can also download the full 11 hour version.
His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip PullmanThis trilogy, made up of The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, is a full BBC production that is especially recommended if you love Harry Potter.This is next up on our ‘To Listen’ list, and I can’t wait to get started!
The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
My dad read this whole series to my sister and I when we were kids, so it holds a very special place in my heart. Lots of people are familiar with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but often haven’t read or experienced the entire saga. It’s wonderful.
Roald Dahl Collection, by (duh) Roald Dahl
This is a great deal, getting you five classic Roald Dahl books in one package! Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Enormous Crocodile and The Magic Finger. This makes for a great overview into the collection of one of the world’s great storytellers.
Percy Jackson series, by Rick Riordan
A great way to introduce your family to Greek mythology, but told in a new way. Start getting familiar with these characters, and the well-written series is as entertaining to adults as it is to younger ones.
The Magic Misfits, by Neil Patrick HarrisI’m a sucker for pretty much anything NPH does, whether it’s old episodes of Doogie Howser (don’t @ me), hosting the Tony’s or showing off the world’s most amazing family Halloween costumes. So it’s no surprise that I would love his stories for younger readers! This is the first in the series, there’s also The Second Story and The Minor Third.
Peasprout Chen, Future Legend of Skate and Sword, by Henry Lien
Why wouldn’t you combine martial arts and figure skating? Peasprout Chen is a student of the legendary wu liu—martial arts figure skating. And if this quote from The New York Times doesn’t catch your attention, I don’t know what will! “It’s Hermione Granger meets ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ meets the Ice Capades meets ‘Mean Girls.’”
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What audiobooks do you think we’re missing?