Audio Books for Kids – Who Knew?!

I work with this spunky woman named, Jessica.  Not only is she a fantastic teacher, but she’s a stupendous mother to three beautiful girl from 5th grade to 10th grade.  I get lots of parenting tips and tricks from Jessica.  She’s a few years ahead of my in the parenting department, and so when she goes through something with her girls, I mentally file it away in my mind to use when my own kids are bigger.


Her latest parenting hack might be my favorite, though.  She was lamenting over having three girls and the amount of talking that goes on in her family.  Add to that her daily regiment of teaching middle schoolers who constantly seem to be striving to hit a word quota every day, and her life is full of noise!

I don’t have 3 girls, but I can certainly relate to the noise.  There are kids all day asking me for things, needing things from me, speaking SO. MANY. WORDS.  And then when I get home to my own two who are also going 90 miles an hour, it can be a little much some days.  But Jessica has solved my problem.



She has started listening to audio books in the car with her girls.  She says that it gives her a little peace and quiet after long days, but it also gives them a shared experience to bond over.  Jessica said she and her girls have had some really great conversations that have been prompted by things that have happened in their audio book.

Well, I just thought this was the most brilliant thing ever.  I listen to audio books occasionally myself, but it never crossed my mind that my kids might like it.

I download my audio books from our public library through the Overdrive app.  Overdrive connects to your public library system and is kind of like Kindle for public libraries.  It allows me to check out a book through my library system and then download it to my Overdrive app to listen to it.  Of course, if you have an actual Kindle account, you can usually download the audio book directly to that and once the due date comes, it just disappears from your Kindle.


Right now, the kids and I are about to finish our first book.  We have been listening to Super Fudge together because my love for Judy Blume is deep and true.  The kids have loved it, too.  I tried to get Bean to read it a few months ago, but he didn’t want to (he’s at that point where if Mom says it, it probably isn’t cool… Someone hold me…).  And Gracie is too young to have read it on her own.  So the audio book has been great because their reading levels really don’t matter.  Both of them can follow the story and that’s all they need to be able to do.


Although, I should warn you that there is an entire chapter in Super Fudge about how the main character, Peter, doesn’t believe in Santa and how he thinks it’s stupid that his mom and dad pretend for his younger brother, Fudge.  He even has a conversation with his mom about it in the book!  The kids eyes got really wide in the backseat, but I just very casually said, “They don’t believe in Santa?”

And Bean said, “No!  Even their mom doesn’t…” and I could feel him waiting for me to make it all better.

So, I very nonchalantly said, “Well, that’s awful!  I bet they didn’t get many presents!”

And then we moved on.  Fingers crossed that worked out okay…

Other than that one little fiasco, the audio books have been AWESOME.  I already have a list of others I want us to listen to:

Sideways Stories from Westside School by Louis Sachar

Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary

Matilda by Roald Dahl

The BFG by Roald Dahl

A few Junie B. Jones books by Barbara Park

Do you have any other suggestions for us?  Something that might entertain both a 6 year old girl, a 7 year old boy, and a 30-something mom???? Please share!


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32 Thoughts to “Audio Books for Kids – Who Knew?!”

  1. NiAn

    The whole magic tree house series by Mary Pope Osborne is on audio CDs. My four year old LOVES her Jack and Annie stories.

    1. Katie

      Both my kids love Magic Treehouse Books! I’ll have to look for the audio versions! Thanks!

  2. We have been listening to audio books in the car for a long time. We used to get pictures books with CDs, you know the ones that chime to tell you to turn a page. Now we are all into chapter books and my girls have even become particular about the talent (or lack thereof) of narrators.

    Do all the Ramona books on audio. They are great!

    We worked our way through Series of Unfortunate Events which were really fun for the whole family. (Books 2-4 have a different narrator, but the rest are amazingly done.)

    We’re in the middle of Harry Potter but had to take a bit of a break as things were getting too harrowing. Also excellent narration.

    My kids have their own tablets now and they regularly download audio books. (My oldest listened to one she loved four times in a row.) They usually each have a book they are listening to, and then a shared book for like when they’re eating breakfast. I am constantly telling them to pause their story or put in their headphones as not everyone wants to hear the escapades of Junie B. Jones!

    1. Katie

      I can’t wait to listen to Harry Potter with the kids! I’ve heard the audio versions are great!

  3. Erin

    My girls loved listening to The Boxcar Children series, and on Audible there is a Ronald Dahl collection of books read by Ronald Dahl himself–so fun! We also really enjoyed a collection of old Beverley Cleary books like Mitch and Amy and Emily’s Runaway Imagination. Have you heard of Adventures in Odyssey? It’s radio theater for kids and my girls loooove it. My husband and I don’t mind listening, either 😉

    1. Katie

      Thanks for the Roald Dahl idea! We just started “Matilda” yesterday! Great idea!

      1. Mer

        I’m behind on this but in… maybe 4th or 5th grade? my reading teacher would read a chapter of Matilda out loud to us every day in class. I was riveted. It was the first time a book really drew me in. I still love that book. And the movie. I’ve watched that move 100x. Maybe more. I’m 30 now and still love it.

        Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, too. That was another my teacher read and drew me in.

  4. Katherine

    The LIttle House books!

    1. Katie

      My favorites as a kid! Adding these to my list!

  5. Kirsten

    Wizard of Oz read by Anne Hathaway is the current favorite with my kids, and we’ve also enjoyed the entire Rabbit Ears series, which includes fairy tales, world takes, tall tales and Bible stories, all read by celebrities (Holly Hunter, Cher, Ben Kingsley, etc.) with music by popular artists. Read Aloud Revival has a great list of audiobooks, we found the complete works of Beatrix Potter and Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne through her.

    1. Katie

      Thanks for the Read Aloud Revival suggestion!

  6. Jamie

    We have done this for years. Little House on the Prairie, Magic Tree House, Harry Potter series, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler, Chronicles of Narnia are all favs.

    1. Katie

      Chronicles of Narnia is a great idea! That was one of my favorites as a kid!

  7. Littlebuckley

    We are currently working our way through Series of Unfortunate Events! We read the first four before watching Netflix and now my kids are hooked. I love them, too!

    Around the holidays, I’ll get spooky stories for Halloween and Christmas themed stories (The Grinch is so so good) in November!

    1. Katie

      Great idea! I just put the first one on hold through our public library. Who knew you could put audio books on hold?!

  8. Lee Ann

    What about The Three Investigators?

    1. Katie

      I’ve never heard of this one! Adding it to my list! Thanks!

  9. Andrea

    Cornelia Funke audiobooks are good if they are into fantasy/adventure. She has written both serious and silly. I also like to pick out some of the oldies but goodies (e.g. “Mr. Popper’s Penguins) that my son might not look at because the covers are not quite as “cool” as newer titles. We started listening because we have a 30 minute commute and he was so nervous about kindergarten last year–this gave him something else to concentrate on instead of drop-off!

    1. Katie

      That’s a great point about the older ones not being “cool.” Audio books solve that issue perfectly!

    1. Katie

      What a fun idea! We love the movie!

  10. Carmen

    My kids and I listened to Out of My Mind. Mine are 7, 10 and 13 but the subject matter worked fine for my 7 year old and there are some great lessons about people with disabilities and it’s a great story. It’s about a 5 or 6 hour audiobook. We listened to it on our Amazon echo during dinner and then my kids kept asking for more at other times.

    1. Katie

      Oh, I have Out of My Mind on my bookshelf in my classroom! Thanks for the reminder!

  11. Beth

    The Indian and the Cupboard – Not sure what level that is at. I remember reading The Box Car Children to my brother.

    1. Katie

      Bean has read all the Indian in the Cupboard books and loved them! We haven’t tried the Box Car Children yet. Good idea!

  12. Lori

    Snot Stew, A Dog Called Kitty — really any book by Bill Wallace!

    1. Katie

      I loved Snot Stew!!!

  13. Megan

    All of the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books, they are so funny!

    1. Katie

      I’ve never heard of these! Off to investigate now… 🙂

  14. I loved listening to The Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler on tapes as a kid!

    1. Katie

      I remember those! Good idea!

  15. Verity

    Oo I’m such a huge fan of audio books, I even gave in to two kindles for my two big kids as they could have the audible app each! We love the little house books though has led to some awkward loud public conversations about Indians as we live in UK so have no Indian American history but lots of Indian school friends 🙂 However also love Enid Blyton books secret seven & famous five (are they in America too?) my 4 year old girl loves the rainbow fairy series. We love love love discovering new American finds too so have really enjoyed The Saturdays and the Melendy Quartet by Elizabeth Enright. And definitely follow Read Aloud Revival – she has links to all the best audible deals too. We’re currently on The Railway Children too which we’re all loving! That was probably too long 😀

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