21 Best Audiobook Series for Family Road Trips (Also a Fantastic Book List for Ages 8-12)
Summertime often means a road trip for most families, even if that’s just within a “staycation”. It’s a great time to pile into the car and get a change of view.
With our five kids, we sometimes have to road trip around the world in our travels. On a recent road trip in Japan, I asked our followers on our Instagram, @7wayfinders, for their recommendations for family audiobooks. We find a good audiobook keeps the kids from fighting and mom and dad from losing our minds :) . Plus, we all look forward to getting back into the car and listening again!
1. Fablehaven by Brandon Mull. This our our recommendation and we are still in the thick of this series. It starts a little slow, but has layers and layers of detail and fantasy that we all have come to love.
Description from Amazon: For centuries, mystical creatures of all description were gathered to a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic in a cynical world. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite. . .
Kendra and her brother Seth have no idea their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws give relative order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken, an arcane evil is unleashed, forcing Kendra and Seth to face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save her family, Fablehaven, and perhaps the world, Kendra must find the courage to do what she fears most.
Best ages: 8 years + (although it keeps even our 4-year-old entertained)
Here are the other books recommended by our followers. I’ve included a quick snippit from Amazon on the storyline.
Description from Amazon: Mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking out of the pages of twelve-year-old Percy Jackson's textbooks and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Now, he and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. Series creator Rick Riordan joins forces with some of the biggest names in the comic book industry to tell the story of a boy who must unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.
Best ages: 10- 14 years
Thanks to @Iammarvelous04 for this recommendation.
Description from Amazon: On his thirteenth birthday, foster child Alcatraz Smedry gets a bag of sand in the mail-his only inheritance from his father and mother. He soon learns that this is no ordinary bag of sand. It is quickly stolen by the cult of evil Librarians who are taking over the world by spreading misinformation and suppressing truth. Alcatraz must stop them, using the only weapon he has: an incredible talent for breaking things.
Best Ages: 8-12 years
Thanks to @flybytheseatofourpants for this recommendation.
4.Peter and the Starcatchers Series (we love anything read by Jim Dale).
Description from Amazon: Afast-paced, impossible-to-put-down adventure awaits as the young orphan Peter and his mates are dispatched to an island ruled by the evil King Zarboff. They set sail aboard the Never Land, a ship carrying a precious and mysterious trunk in its cargo hold, and the journey quickly becomes fraught with excitement and danger. Discover richly developed characters in the sweet but sophisticated Molly, the scary but familiar Black Stache, and the fearless Peter. Treacherous battles with pirates, foreboding thunderstorms at sea, and evocative writing immerses the reader in a story that slowly and finally reveals the secrets and mysteries of the beloved Peter Pan.
Best Ages: 10 - 14 years
Twelve-year-old Artemis is a millionaire, a genius-and above all, a criminal mastermind. But Artemis doesn't know what he's taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren't the fairies of the bedtime stories-they're dangerous! Coming out as a Disney movie in August 2019!
Best ages: 10-14 years
Thanks to @h2oski_cutie for this recommendation.
6.Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull A continuation of the FableHaven Series! Hooray!
Description from Amazon: n the long-awaited sequel to Fablehaven, the dragons who have been kept at the dragon sanctuaries no longer consider them safe havens, but prisons and they want their freedom. The dragons are no longer our allies....
In the hidden dragon sanctuary of Wyrmroost, Celebrant the Just, King of the Dragons, plots his revenge. He has long seen the sanctuaries as prisons, and he wants nothing more than to overthrow his captors and return the world to the Age of Dragons, when he and his kind ruled and reigned without borders. The time has come to break free and reclaim his power.
No one person is capable of stopping Celebrant and his dragon horde. It will take the ancient order of Dragonwatch to gather again if there is any chance of saving the world from destruction. In ancient times, Dragonwatch was a group of wizards, enchantresses, dragon slayers, and others who originally confined the majority of dragons into sanctuaries. But nearly all of the original Dragonwatch members are gone, and so the wizard Agad reaches out to Grandpa Sorenson for help.
As Kendra and Seth confront this new danger, they must draw upon all their skills, talents, and knowledge as only they have the ability to function together as a powerful dragon tamer. Together they must battle against forces with superior supernatural powers and breathtaking magical abilities.
How will the epic dragon showdown end? Will dragons overthrow humans and change the world as we know it?
Best ages: 8-12 years
Thanks to @norsestone86 for this recommendation.
7.Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer (also a series) by John Grisham.
Description from Amazon: In the small city of Strattenburg, there are many lawyers, and though he’s only thirteen years old, Theo Boone thinks he’s one of them. Theo knows every judge, policeman, court clerk—and a lot about the law. He dreams of being a great trial lawyer, of a life in the courtroom.
But Theo finds himself in court much sooner than expected. Because he knows so much—maybe too much—he is suddenly dragged into the middle of a sensational murder trial. A cold-blooded killer is about to go free, and only Theo knows the truth.
The stakes are high, but Theo won’t stop until justice is served.
Best Ages: 8-12 year
8.Loot by Jude Watson (not a series, but looks so good!)
Description from Amazon: On a foggy night in Amsterdam, a man falls from a rooftop to the wet pavement below. It's Archibald McQuinn, the notorious cat burglar, and he's dying. As sirens wail in the distance, Archie manages to get out two last words to his young son, March: "Find jewels."
But March learns that his father is not talking about hidden loot. He's talking about Jules, the twin sister March never knew he had. No sooner than the two find each other, they're picked up by the police and sent to the world's worst orphanage. It's not hard time, but it feels like it.
March and Jules have no intention of staying put. They know their father's business inside and out, and they're tired of being pushed around. Just one good heist, and they'll live the life of riches and freedom that most kids only dream about. . . . .
Hold on to your pearls, because this summer, the world's youngest criminal masterminds are coming for you.
Best Ages: 8-12 years
Thanks to @marrellimom2 for this recommendation.
Description from Amazon: The Chronicles of Narnia has become part of the canon of classic literature, drawing readers of all ages into magical lands with unforgettable characters for over sixty years. Epic battles between good and evil, fantastic creatures, betrayals, heroic deeds, and friendships won and lost all come together in this unforgettable world.
Best ages: 8 years +
Thanks to @kacie_mac for this recommendation.
10.My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George (not a series)
Description from Amazon: Sam Gribley is terribly unhappy living in New York City with his family, so he runs away to the Catskill Mountains to live in the woods—all by himself. With only a penknife, a ball of cord, forty dollars, and some flint and steel, he intends to survive on his own. Sam learns about courage, danger, and independence during his year in the wilderness, a year that changes his life forever.
Best ages: 8-12 years
Description from Amazon (from Escape from Library book): The world's most famous game maker, Luigi Lemoncello, has just designed a brand-new, state-of-the-art library in his hometown, and he's invited 12 lucky seventh graders to stay the night just before its grand opening. Avid gamer Kyle Keeley jumps at the chance to meet his idol and see a real live library. After the previous library's demolition, this is the first library this small town has had in 12 years. Kyle is elated when his essay is chosen, and he gets to be among the first to wander the halls of one of the most interactive libraries ever. Kyle and the other contestants have 24 hours to find a secret exit out of the building and win a spectacular prize, and when the doors shut, the games really begin. Love of literature is a must if you want to escape. Librarians will fall in love with Mr. Lemoncello's library. This title is filled to the brim with witty literary references, an education on the Dewey Decimal System, and zany word puzzles. Narrator Jesse Bernstein expertly brings to life each character from the whimsical Lemoncello to the pretentious bully Charles Chillington. Insatiable readers who pick up on all the references will adore this book, as will general puzzle and mystery enthusiasts. The antics are similar to Patrick Carman's Floors while the puzzles are relatable to Blue Balliet's Chasing Vermeer.
Best ages: 8-12
12.Return to Treasure Island by John O'Melveny Woods (not a series).
Description from Amazon: Three years after his triumphant return from Treasure Island, Jim Hawkins learns that Long John Silver has been captured and sentenced to hang. Jims’ fateful decision to help Silver ultimately propels them into a search for the greatest treasure of all – The Pharaohs Gold.
A cryptic map, secret codes and puzzling clues all lead back to Treasure Island, where courage, cunning and mutual trust are the only weapons that can save Hawkins and Silver from a horrific death and help them in their quest for the Treasure.
Return to Treasure Island hearkens back to the days when action, mystery and adventure rode hand in hand with storytelling, and promises to entertain readers of all ages.
Best ages: 8-12 years
Thanks to @sixintune for this recommendation..
13.Adventures in Odyssey Series (Many Authors)
Books series based on religious moral stories told to entertain young children. Quite popular!
Best ages: 8-12 years
Description from Amazon: Found running wild in the forest of Ashton Place, the Incorrigibles are no ordinary children: Alexander, age ten or thereabouts, keeps his siblings in line with gentle nips; Cassiopeia, perhaps four or five, has a bark that is (usually) worse than her bite; and Beowulf, age somewhere-in-the-middle, is alarmingly adept at chasing squirrels.
Luckily, Miss Penelope Lumley is no ordinary governess. Only fifteen years old and a recent graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, Penelope embraces the challenge of her new position. Though she is eager to instruct the children in Latin verbs and the proper use of globes, first she must help them overcome their canine tendencies.
But mysteries abound at Ashton Place: Who are these three wild creatures, and how did they come to live in the vast forests of the estate? Why does Old Timothy, the coachman, lurk around every corner? Will Penelope be able to teach the Incorrigibles table manners and socially useful phrases in time for Lady Constance's holiday ball? And what on earth is a schottische?
Best Ages: 8-12 years
Description from Amazon: Cole Randolph was just trying to have a fun time with his friends on Halloween (and maybe get to know Jenna Hunt a little better). But when a spooky haunted house turns out to be a portal to something much creepier, Cole finds himself on an adventure on a whole different level.
After Cole sees his friends whisked away to some mysterious place underneath the haunted house, he dives in after them—and ends up in The Outskirts. The Outskirts are made up of five kingdoms that lie between wakefulness and dreaming, reality and imagination, life and death. It’s an in-between place. Some people are born there. Some find their way there from our world, or from other worlds.
And once you come to the Outskirts, it’s very hard to leave.
With the magic of the Outskirts starting to unravel, it’s up to Cole and an unusual girl named Mira to rescue his friends, set things right in the Outskirts, and hopefully find his way back home…before his existence is forgotten.
Best ages: 8-12 years
A religious book series based on the Book of Mormon.
Description from Amazon: Jim Hawkins has a bad attitude. What's more, he enjoys having a bad attitude about everything--especially about church.
Garth Plimpton is a fanatic. He's spent so much time studying the scriptures and thick books on archaeology that that he can't carry on a normal conversation with other kids. That's why they consider him a nerd.
Through an unusual chain of events, these two opposites become fast friends. It all began when Garth told Jim a simple truth: "They really existed once, you know."
"Who?" Jim asked.
"Nephites," Garth replied. "Every character in the Book of Mormon ate, slept, died, was buried . . ."
That statement, taken for granted before, would soon echo deeply in the two boys' minds--because they were on the trail of a chilling secret.
Best Ages: 8-12 years
Thanks to @travelingwith5kids for this recommendation.
#1 bestselling chapter book series of all time!
Description of first book from Amazon: This enjoyable time-travel fantasy is a successful beginning chapter book. Jack and his younger sister find a tree house filled with books. When he wishes he could really see the Pteranodon pictured in one of them, it appears at the window. The children have been transported back to the Cretaceous period. They begin to explore and are soon threatened by a Tyrannosaurus. The Pteranodon comes to their rescue, and they figure out enough about the magic that carried them back in time to be able to use it to return home. There is plenty of suspense and magic here, and enough dinosaur information to please science buffs. Characterization is sketchy and older children will find the plot predictable, but readers just past the easy-to-read stage will find it satisfying. It should attract those who devour Ruth Chew's books.
Best ages: 6-9 years
I remember these as a child and they were pure magic for me!
Description from Amazon: Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden take care of one another. They have no parents, no other family—except for a grandfather they don’t care to see—and no home . . . until the night they find the boxcar. Old, rusty, lonely, and abandoned in the woods, it’s the perfect home for four brave children on their own.
Through hard work and courage, the Aldens begin to build a life full of fun and adventure. But when they’re faced with a problem they can’t solve themselves, they’re forced to look for adult help—and will find it in the most unlikely ally.
Hailed by School Library Journal as one of the top 100 children’s novels of all time, Gertrude Chandler Warner’s story has delighted generations of young readers and launched a long-running series and an animated film featuring her fearless foursome. Now, new and old fans alike can delight in the timeless book that started it all, featuring illustrations by L. Kate Deal.
Best ages: 7-12 years
Description from Amazon: The adventures continue for Laura Ingalls and her family as they leave their little house in the Big Woods of Wisconsin and set out for the big skies of the Kansas Territory. They travel for many days in their covered wagon until they find the best spot to build their house. Soon they are planting and plowing, hunting wild ducks and turkeys, and gathering grass for their cows. Just when they begin to feel settled, they are caught in the middle of a dangerous conflict.
The nine Little House books are inspired by Laura's own childhood and have been cherished by generations of readers as both a unique glimpse into America's frontier history and as heartwarming, unforgettable stories
Best ages: 7-12 years
Thanks to @tawiesser12 for the recommendation.
Description from Amazon: Alex and Conner Bailey's world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairy tales.
The Land of Stories tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.
But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.
Best ages: 9-12 years
I lost who sent this to me, but thank you!
Hopefully this helps fill your summer road trip book list! I’m excited to check some of these out for my kiddos, even for their personal reading lists.