Summer months bring on summer travels for many families. Audiobooks are an excellent way to keep everyone entertained on a road trip, but finding an audiobook that appeals to all ages and genders is a challenge. Below are some of my favorite “family friendly” audiobooks that will appeal to both girls and boys ranging from elementary school through adulthood (unless otherwise noted). Each audiobook has a superb narrator who is skilled at differentiating character voices. Some so much so that they’re like cartoons for your ears.

Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry“Peter and the Starcatchers”

By Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Narrated by Jim Dale

Found in Juvenile Fiction

Peter finds himself on a ship (the Never Land) with a trunk of mysterious “starstuff” that gives any who touch it strange powers. He also finds himself among those tasked with protecting the starstuff from the likes of the pirate Black Stache.

This is a fun romp for those familiar with the original “Peter Pan,” but with rich characters, humor and adventures galore, it’s also great fun for those who are meeting Peter for the first time. Jim Dale also reads the “Harry Potter” series which is equally not to be missed on audio.

 

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer“Artemis Fowl”

By Eoin Colfer, Narrated by Nathaniel Parker

Found in Teen Audiobooks

Artemis is a genius working pretty hard on adding “evil” to his genius status. When he discovers fairies are real and they have quite the cash pile, he kidnaps Holly Short (an officer with the LEP Recon) to hold her for ransom. Suddenly, Artemis finds himself facing down the entire fairy world and their extensive arsenal.

This is probably my favorite audio to recommend to new listeners. The characterizations are wonderful, their relationships with each other are complicated and fun, and the action is top notch.

 

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman“The Graveyard Book”

Written and narrated by Neil Gaiman

Found in Juvenile Fiction

As a toddler, Nobody Owens narrowly escaped a murderer and stumbled into a graveyard. There, after much debate of the graveyard denizens, Nobody was adopted, named, and raised by the various ghosts (and creatures) that inhabit graveyards. “The Graveyard Book,” similar to “The Jungle Book” is an account of the many adventures Nobody has during his life in the graveyard.

Parts of this one may be a bit scary for younger readers, but it is well worth the listen. Neil Gaiman makes a surprisingly good narrator.

 

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones“Howl’s Moving Castle”

By Diana Wynne Jones, Narrated by Jenny Sterlin

Found in Teen Audiobooks

Being the oldest of three girls, Sophie knows she won’t amount to much and is resigned to spend her life working for her step-mother in the family’s hat shop. Unintentionally, Sophie offends the Witch of the Waste who exacts her revenge by turning Sophie into a 90-year-old woman. Knowing things can’t get much worse, Sophie strikes out on her own and finds herself working as the maid for the greatly feared, but perhaps quite handsome, Wizard Howl.

This is a lovely, whimsical story full of fun characters, intrigue and adventure.

 

Sabriel by Garth Nix“Sabriel”

By Garth Nix, Narrated by Tim Curry

Found in Teen Fiction

Life in Ancelstierre is fairly mundane except when the wind comes from the North across the Wall and from the Old Kingdom. Then all technology fails and often, trouble from dead creatures emerges. Sabriel’s father, the Abhorsen, is tasked with preventing the dead from rising and causing trouble for the living. When Sabriel gets a delivery of her father’s tools as the Abhorsen from a dead creature, she knows he has either been killed or is trapped in Death. Thus she begins her journey with a talking cat named Mogget and a dashing but vulnerable young man who calls himself Touchstone across the magical Old Kingdom to find her father.

With some mild blood, guts, and gore as well as undead creatures determined to take over the world, this title is probably best suited for teens. However, Tim Curry is not to be missed as an audiobook narrator, so the younger set might enjoy his readings of “The Series of Unfortunate Events” by Lemony Snicket.

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