The Best Family Audiobooks for All Ages

A father and daughter enjoying time together
03/02/2021

Are you looking for the best books for your family? Find the best audiobooks to listen to with your kids, parents, and family members of all ages.

Sharing stories with your loved ones is an amazing bonding experience. You may remember having a book read to you when you were a child and the magic it brought into your life. By listening to an audiobook with your family, you can offer that same experience to your own children. Whether you’re looking for a fun story or a learning activity, this list has some of the greatest family audiobooks by bestselling authors. Relive some of the stories that you loved as a child with your own kids or discover new ones to enjoy together on long trips or in the comfort of your own home. Here are the top family audiobooks for all ages.

The Hunger Games: Special Edition

Author:
Suzanne Collins
Narrator:
Tatiana Maslany
Length:
10:35
Series:
Hunger Games
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

Built upon the ruins of North America sits Panem, a nation with a deadly tradition. The Capitol protects its shining exterior by forcing a boy and a girl from each of the 12 surrounding districts to fight to the death live on TV. Welcome to The Hunger Games.

16-year-old Katniss Everdeen has managed to avoid the games since she became eligible at 12. But when her little sister, Prim, is chosen for this year’s game, Katniss steps forward to take the surefire death sentence instead. In order to win (and survive), she’ll have to concoct a star-crossed romance with her fellow District 12 fighter, Peeta Mellark. As she battles for her life and humanity, will she be able to cling to what’s important?

Join Emmy Award-winning actress Tatiana Maslany as she narrates the first audiobook of Suzanne Collins’s best-selling trilogy. Maslany brings the book to life in new ways and adds a gripping layer of drama to the dystopian setting. Along with her stunning narration, listen to an exclusive bonus track Q&A with Maslany.

The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials, Book 1

Author:
Philip Pullman
Narrator:
Philip Pullman, Joanna Wyatt, Rupert Degas, Alison Dowling, Douglas Blackwell, Jill Shilling, Stephen Thorne, Sean Barrett, Garrick Hagon, John O'Connor, Susan Sheridan, Full Cast
Length:
10:39
Series:
His Dark Materials
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

Dive deep into the world of parallel universes, magic, and human souls held in animal companions, called dæmons. At 12 years old, Lyra Belacqua and her dæmon Pantalaimon are used to running wild together—until her best friend, Roger, goes missing. After that, it’s a desperate scramble to the North, a frigid land ruled by clans of witches and armour-clad bears. And, Lyra hopes, where the child-stealing Gobblers have taken Roger.

Faced with a missing best friend, Lyra also has to contend with her uncle Asriel, a fearsome man who’s trying to bridge the gap between their world and a parallel universe. Lyra may just be one small girl, but she’s ready to fight, lie, scheme, and force her way into a victory. When she has to choose between Roger and Asriel, however, everything will change forever.

The Golden Compass and the rest of His Dark Materials series are narrated by author Philip Pullman, joined by a full cast of acclaimed voice actors who breathe life into each of the characters. Immerse yourself in the world with a unique flair brought by each narrator. The cast takes advantage of drama-filled scenes and fast-paced action to make this an audiobook you can’t miss out on.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: The Chronicles of Narnia

Author:
C. S. Lewis
Narrator:
Michael York
Length:
4:21
Series:
The Chronicles of Narnia (Author's Preferred Order)
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is the first installment of the bestselling Chronicles of Narnia series. When World War II erupts, the four Pevensie siblings are evacuated to a rural area of England. In their boredom, while playing hide and seek, they discover for the first time the magical world of Narnia through the back of a wardrobe. It is a world full of magical beings, but in conflict.

Emmy-nominated British actor Michael York gives life to a complicated universe where the themes of discovery, conflict, and the importance of family reside. By using different voices, intonations and accents, he portrays the multitude of characters, including all of the fantastic creatures. Simply put, York leads listeners through the magical wardrobe along with the children to a world of fantasy.

A Wrinkle in Time

Author:
Madeleine L'Engle
Narrator:
Hope Davis, Ava DuVernay, Madeleine L'Engle, Charlotte Jones Voiklis
Length:
6:27
Series:
Time Quintet
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

After their father unexpectedly goes missing following an experiment with time travel gone wrong, Meg Murry and her little brother, Charles Wallace Murry, receive a tip from a mysterious stranger: that time and space can be manipulated. With their friend Calvin O’Keefe, the children embark on a magical journey to find their father.

A Wrinkle in Time has been a childhood classic since its publication in the early 1960’s. A timeless story, it was adapted for the big screen in 2018, which ushered in a revival of Madeleine L’Engle’s tale for a new audience. As such, it’s only fitting that this new audiobook includes some of the most significant players from this new era: film director Ava DuVernay performs the introduction, author Madeleine L’Engle delivers the foreword and her granddaughter, Charlotte Jones Voiklis, performs the afterword. Most importantly, Tony-nominated actress Hope Davis lends her voice for the story itself. In this title, a powerful group of astral women guide the children on their journey; this group of narrators serves a similar purpose for listeners, and they do a stellar job of making it magical.

The Hobbit

Author:
J. R.R. Tolkien
Narrator:
Rob Inglis
Length:
11:05
Series:
The Lord of the Rings
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

J. R. R. Tolkien has gone down in history as one of the most masterful fantasy writers of all time. Telling the tale of Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit describes the events that tore him from a quiet and peaceful life in the Shire to one filled with grand adventures and magical beings far away from home. Originally published in 1937, the story has stood the test of time with several adaptations and has touched generations of new audiences.

Delivering such an immense tale to listeners is no easy task, but Rob Inglis takes on the challenge with ease. His captivating performance comes from experience that makes him uniquely qualified for the task. During the ‘70s and ‘80s, Inglis wrote, produced, and performed his own one-man dramatizations of The Hobbit and its sequel, The Lord of The Rings, for which he was much praised by audiences. His distinct voices for each character enliven the action for listeners, immersing them in the experience of this timeless story.

Inkheart

Author:
Cornelia Funke
Narrator:
Lynn Redgrave
Length:
15:34
Series:
Inkworld Series
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

Remember the whimsy of a good story when you were a kid? Everything was more magical and enthralling, and it was easy to feel like it was all so real. Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart takes that sensation a step further and depicts what happens when stories actually do come alive.

The tale follows a father and daughter as one of their books suddenly springs to life in their home, bringing with it an evil ruler they must defeat. They’re faced with great obstacles as they try to harness the tools they need to defeat the magical villains. Lynn Redgrave lends a different voice to each unique character and helps bring an already captivating story further to life. She does more than read the story to the listeners—she makes us feel the suspense of encroaching villains with growling or whispery tones. Redgrave makes the characters come alive just as they do in the story.

The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1

Author:
Rick Riordan
Narrator:
Jesse Bernstein
Length:
10:02
Series:
Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

Percy Jackson is like any other 12-year-old boy: he has a hard time staying out of trouble… especially when his algebra teacher turns into a monster and attempts to kill him. Okay, so maybe he’s not like other boys his age. When he ends up at a summer camp full of sons and daughters of Olympian gods and magical beings, he’s launched into a world of Greek mythology where he learns he’s actually the son of Poseidon. As he’s falsely accused of stealing Zeus’s lightning bolt, the stakes grow so high that his little algebra class incident seems laughable.

As the journey created by Rick Riordan unfolds, you’ll be introduced to gods and creatures of legends right alongside Percy. Jesse Bernstein’s award-winning performance captures the complexity of emotions that young Percy is experiencing. If you’re wondering what Greek gods even sound like, you’ll be pleasantly thrilled and surprised.

Foreverywhere

Author:
Steve Burns, Steven Drozd, Gabe Soria
Narrator:
Steve Burns, Carly Ciarrocchi, Stephanie Mayers
Length:
3:00
Type:

In 2017, former host of Blue’s Clues, Steve Burns, and Grammy Award-winning musician, Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips, produced an album called Foreverywhere. They pooled both of their talents to create an album of children’s songs that stands out from the others. And it’s this very musical endeavor that served as the inspiration for an Audible Original of the same name.

Writer Gabe Soria helped the pair adapt the album into this one-of-a-kind listening experience. It follows a young unicorn on his quest to start the best band in the universe with the help of a giant, a spider, and a princess. Burns’s acting experience and Drozd’s musical prowess give parents more than enough reason to listen along with their kids: whether it’s nostalgia from their own childhood days of watching Blue’s Clues or hearing from a member of an old favourite band.

Matilda

Author:
Roald Dahl
Narrator:
Kate Winslet
Length:
4:18
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

From a very young age, Matilda Wormwood was exceptional. As a child prodigy, she was misunderstood and mistreated by her parents. She resorted to petty pranks in order to fight back, but things change when she starts going to school and meets the horrid principal Miss Trunchbull. Here, her pranks are no longer just little-girl tricks on terrible grown-ups. With the help of a kind-hearted teacher and the added discovery of telekinetic abilities, Matilda begins to use her powers to fight against injustice.

Academy Award winner Kate Winslet’s Audie-winning performance demonstrates her ability to embody a vast cast of characters with ease. The narrator has an extensive repertoire of film, television, and stage performances that aid in her ability to tell the story created by the immensely famous Roald Dahl. From Matilda’s childhood discoveries to the warmth of Miss Honey, Winslet is a joy to listen to.

Charlotte's Web

Author:
E. B. White
Narrator:
E. B. White, George Plimpton
Length:
3:34
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

It’s only appropriate that author E.B. White narrated his own 1953 Newbery Honor Book. He tells the story of Wilbur, a pig who befriends a barn spider named Charlotte. Together, they must prevent Wilbur from being slaughtered by the farmer. White wrote the story with his heart, and performs it as such—there’s no added drama or flair, and each character is portrayed exactly as he intended.

This Earphones Award-winning rendition is the first audio version of this tale and it stands the test of time. It tells children a classic story of kindness and compassion, and parents will value the message it delivers. Even more than 50 years after its debut, Charlotte’s Web still holds the same gentle magic that parents will remember from their own childhood.

How to Train Your Dragon

Author:
Cressida Cowell
Narrator:
David Tennant
Length:
3:29
Series:
How to Train Your Dragon
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is tasked with far more than growing up with a mouthful of a name: he also has to catch and train a dragon in order to become fully initiated into his Viking tribe, the Hairy Hooligans. How to Train Your Dragon follows Hiccup’s difficult path to becoming a hero, reminding listeners of all ages that hard work is the best way to accomplish anything.

Just like the challenges ahead for Hiccup, narrator David Tennant (of Doctor Who and Good Omens fame) has the task of doing more than just narrating this story written by Cressida Cowell. He gives distinct voices to all the characters with his trove of nuanced Scottish accents and breathes life into the dragons with a collection of booming voices, snorts, and snarls. Younger listeners will be thrilled to recognize characters from the popular How to Train Your Dragon film franchise, originally based on the book.

The Ramona Quimby Audio Collection

Author:
Beverly Cleary, Tracy Dockray
Narrator:
Stockard Channing
Length:
18:56
Series:
Ramona Quimby
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

Sibling dynamics can be complicated, to say the least. Ramona Quimby and her older sister Beezus are no exception. Beverly Cleary’s series follows Ramona as she grows through elementary school and navigates childhood. While she and Beezus often butt heads, the two are there for each other through many notable life changes.

Parents will likely be familiar with the best selling series: the first publication being in 1955 and the latest in 1999. Emmy Award winner Stockard Channing’s performance takes you back to your own childhood—when you had to be brave, when you started kindergarten, when you were getting a new baby sibling, or any other assortment of the relatable situations Ramona experiences. Kids will love listening to a character they can see themselves in, while parents will appreciate the reminders of their childhood. This collection includes eight titles, so it’s perfect to listen to in pieces or straight through on a road trip.

The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread

Author:
Kate DiCamillo
Narrator:
Graeme Malcolm
Length:
3:30
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

Despereaux is a mouse on a mission to save Princess Pea from a troupe of rats. While this story has classic themes of a fairytale hero, Despereaux isn’t your typical protagonist—not only because he’s a mouse, but also because his is not the only perspective this story has to offer. Kate DiCamillo composed the story in four parts, the first three following the three main characters individually and then bringing them all together in one final book.

Audie Award-nominated narrator Graeme Malcolm performs this tale of whimsy and adventure with deft precision. Each character is given his or her own voice without the story slipping into a state of melodrama. As a result, the listener is afforded the unique experience of three stories in one.

The One and Only Ivan

Author:
Katherine Applegate, Patricia Castelao
Narrator:
Adam Grupper
Length:
3:46
Series:
One and Only Ivan
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

The One and Only Ivan follows a silverback gorilla living in a cage at a suburban mall. Despite his environment, he’s pretty happy with his life. He lives simply and is seen as the wise older member among his animal friends. His world changes forever when he’s given a new purpose: a young elephant named Ruby has been taken from her family, and Ivan is tasked with watching out for her.

Adam Grupper performs Ivan’s wisdom and unique relationship with Ruby with gentle precision, at a pace that’s easy to follow for younger listeners. His varying character voices and touching delivery send messages of friendship and allow listeners a fresh take on the lives of captive animals.

The Jumbies

Author:
Tracey Baptiste
Narrator:
Robin Miles
Length:
5:09
Series:
The Jumbies
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

Corinne La Mer will be the first to tell you that nothing scares her. She’s especially not scared of the jumbies—the mysterious tricksters everyone else is scared of—because they aren’t even real. But when strange things begin to happen around town and suddenly make their way into her home, Corinne must call upon her courage to fight back against the forces she’s sworn don’t exist. Based on Caribbean folklore, this story is a twist on the classic scary kid’s story that you may want to tell with the lights on.

Audie and Earphones Award-winning voice artist Robin Miles is a member of the Audible Narrator Hall of Fame, and she surely proves her prowess in her performance of The Jumbies. Her magical character voices channel Corinne’s bravery as she launches herself into a new world of old magic, and her pacing helps build the suspense.

The Bad Beginning, A Multi-Voice Recording: A Series of Unfortunate Events #1

Author:
Lemony Snicket
Narrator:
Tim Curry, Full Cast
Length:
2:29
Series:
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

From the beginning, Lemony Snicket sets the stage that A Series of Unfortunate Events is going to be a miserable story. Following the lives of new orphans Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire, listeners will be subject to insufferable incidents, atrocious adopters, and miserable manipulation. But those who soldier through these trials will be rewarded with gripping tales of adventure. The Baudelaire children are smarter than their circumstances and captors, and use the power of innovation, intelligence, and sharp baby teeth to remain a family, despite their often sad state of affairs.

English icon Tim Curry’s Grammy-nominated performance serves as the perfect addition to this tale of woe. His extensive history of vocal performances, particularly as cartoonish villains, qualifies him for such a vile venture. Curry and a full cast of characters will have you shivering with anticipation over what misery the Baudelaires will experience next.

Peter and the Starcatchers: The Starcatchers, Book 1

Author:
Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson
Narrator:
Jim Dale
Length:
8:40
Series:
Peter and the Starcatchers
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

In a world filled with revivals, a reinterpretation is a welcome breath of fresh air. Peter and the Starcatchers takes the beloved character of Peter Pan and reimagines his world and counterparts. With familiar characters, terms, and plot lines in a retelling that’s full of adventure, we have the opportunity to fly with Peter once again, made all the better by Jim Dale’s award-winning performance.

In 2005, Dale won the Audie Awards for both Male Narrator and Children’s Narrator of the Year for this audiobook, and it’s quite likely that his performance will have everyone in your family hooked. Parents who’ve known the classic story their whole lives will enjoy a new rendition, and younger kids can have fun expanding their imaginations.

Pax

Author:
Sara Pennypacker
Narrator:
Michael Curran-Dorsano
Length:
5:32
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

The journey of growing up is often rife with transitions, both positive and painful. Pax tells the story of a young boy and his fox, who’ve been together ever since Peter rescued Pax. Much like a beloved family pet, Pax is an integral part of Peter’s childhood, even after they’re separated by war. The rest of the story revolves around both of their journeys of growth and finding their way back to each other.

Michael Curran-Dorsano’s Earphones Award-winning performance of this story will tug at your heartstrings. He depicts feelings many of us are familiar with—growing pains, missing a best friend, loss, and finding yourself. At times a tearjerker, Pax will surely remind your whole family of the important bond we can make with our animals.

Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls: The Baby-Sitters Club, Book 2

Author:
Ann M. Martin
Narrator:
Elle Fanning
Length:
2:50
Series:
The Baby-Sitters Club
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

The Baby-Sitters Club series was a staple for many ‘80s and ‘90s babies. Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls comes from the original group of novels, published in 1986. This Audible exclusive follows Claudia, vice president of the club, as she and other members try to solve the case of mysterious phone calls they keep receiving on the job.

With a touch of nostalgia for parents, this story is narrated by Elle Fanning, a young, fresh star that kids of all ages are familiar with. Unfortunately, this audiobook doesn’t come with matching scrunchies, but maybe you can get your family a stash after they become fans of this series.

The House at Pooh Corner: A.A. Milne's Pooh Classics, Volume 2

Author:
A. A. Milne
Narrator:
Peter Dennis
Length:
3:12
Series:
A.A. Milne's Pooh Classics
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

Winnie the Pooh has been a loving member of nearly everyone’s life for decades, and it’s likely this tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff and his friends are part of your family now as well. This collection of stories follows Pooh and the crew around the Hundred Acre Wood—Eeyore gets a house, Tigger is introduced, Piglet is very brave, and the game of Poohsticks is invented, just to name a few.

What makes this nostalgic dive even more special is the dramatization brought to listeners by a more-than-qualified cast of star narrators. Stephen Fry as friendly Pooh and Judi Dench as motherly Kanga are some of the notable favourites that make this collection a valuable part of anyone’s listening experience. The theatrical background of the cast lends them all to embody their respective roles perfectly, and will make kids of all ages instant fans. The shorter sections are great for adding up on a road trip or just listening to during daily car rides.


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