Sharing our favorite Family Friendly Audiobooks that the whole family, from the youngest to the oldest, are sure to enjoy. We’ve listened to them all and give them our highest recommendation.
If you know us at all, you know that we read A LOT of books together as a family. We also listen to a a good amount of audiobooks together, mostly in the car.
There are many good audiobooks out there, but it can be tricky finding family friendly audiobooks that will appeal to a range of ages. We’ve listened to some that just fell flat, and others that only half the kids were ready to hear. Luckily, we’ve also found some really great family friendly audiobooks that everyone, from oldest to youngest, thoroughly enjoyed.
While we plan to do a lot more reading and a lot more audiobook listening, here are a few of our most favorite family friendly audiobooks so far.
You know it’s a good audiobook when you pull into the garage and the kids beg to stay in the car and keep listening. These are the books that have kept us all buckled up even after the trip ends.
Note: we found all of these audiobooks either on cd’s from our local library, on the Libby app, or on Audible.
Family Friendly Audiobooks
Peter and the Star Catchers by Dave Barry
We listened to this on our epic road trip this summer and it is SO GOOD! It’s narrated by Jim Dale (of Harry Potter fame) and he is the most delightful reader to listen to. The story is a wildly creative re-imagining of the Peter Pan tale. It was absolutely riveting! There are pirates and sword fights, humor and intrigue, adventure and the tiniest hint of romance.
It’s not too scary for the youngest listeners and incredibly entertaining for even the oldest listeners. And if you like it, there are 3 more in the series.
The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald
This book takes place in a small fictional town in 19th century Utah where J.D and his brothers make all sorts of hilarious mischief. Young J.D. both fears and idolizes his older brother Tom whom he calls the Great Brain, “a silver tongued genius with a knack for turning a profit.” But while the Great Brain is a character you’ll love to hate, he’ll also have you doubled over with laughter.
Adults will enjoy the nostalgia aspect as well as the humor. Kids and teens will appreciate the boys’ crazy antics. Plus, you’ll find plenty to talk about as a family as you listen to this one. We just laughed so hard when we listened to this one.
Caution: There is a chapter in which a boy who feels “plumb useless” after losing his leg in an accident wants to commit suicide. You can just skip this chapter when you hear the boy talking about being plumb useless. Or, just make sure you have a conversation about it afterwards. Though it had me nail biting for a few minutes wondering how it was going to play out, I thought that in the end it was handled well – but I did still have a serious conversation with my kids about what to do if a friend ever expresses a desire to end their life.
The Edge of Extinction by Laura Martin
I know I’ve raved about this one before, but it’s just so good and I don’t want any book lovers out there to miss out. We listened to this (and its sequel) on a road trip last year and I’m still talking about it to everyone I know. It’s that good. This is the best book for your kids/teens that say they don’t like books. I bet you anything, if you turn this on during a road trip, they’ll be hooked.
The story begins 150 years after a dinosaur cloning experiment went horribly wrong. In this future, humans were nearly wiped out and the few that remain live in underground compounds. The book follows Sky Mundy and her best friend Shawn as they try to solve the mysterious disappearance of Sky’s father who vanished from the compound 5 years earlier. You won’t be able to turn it off.
Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan
This is a beautiful audio book. It begins with a fairytale-like story about an enchanted harmonica, then the story shifts to three young people in the World War II era. What makes this historical fiction audio book especially magical is that music is such a big part of the story and the audio book version weaves that music in and makes the story really come to life.
I should note, however, that I was disappointed by the ending. It felt too tidy and wrapped up too quickly. But I was in the minority in my family and even with that small disappointment, the rest of the book was so good that I’d still recommend it. In short, I wasn’t sorry I’d listened to all 10 hours.
I should also note that this one, because it deals with World War II themes, as well as hard times and loss, you may want to save this one for the 10 and up crowd. That being said, I didn’t find this objectionable even for my youngest listeners, though they may have glazed over some parts.
Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman
This is a short one, just 58 minutes. It’s a good one to listen to in the car on errands around town. It would also be a good one to turn at home while the kids are drawing or just need a little down time. This one is so funny and the narrator (Neil Gaiman himself) has a British accent that is a delight to listen to.
The story is about what happens when a father heads out to buy milk for the morning cereal. It’s weird and witty and sure to entertain everyone listening. We’ve listened to this one more than once!
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
This is a novel in verse so the audiobook version is the best. This really is a book you need to hear read aloud. And it’s phenomenal! We listened to this a couple years ago when we had a long commute to and from school every day and I can still remember what a fantastic listen this was.
The story is about 12 year old Josh Bell and his twin brother. They are middle school basketball stars that are about to learn firsthand all about growing up. Your older kids may enjoy this one more (10ish and up), but I didn’t find anything objectionable for younger kids. Mostly I just loved the rhythm and beat of this audiobook and the story is a real gem too.
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Ryan Billingsley says
Great list! I especially like Peter and the Starcatchers and Fortunately, the Milk. A couple of fantastic authors there. We like to do audiobooks at home and on trips too. It’s pretty awesome how you can often pick up picture books audiobooks for just a couple dollars.