One of my favorite things about family road trips has been listening to audio books all together in the car. My family often drives from Portland to Spokane to visit the zillion Parry cousins. It’s about a 7 hour trip in good weather and although we all love to sing in the car and engage the time honored traditions of the alphabet train game and counting railroad cars passed and rivers crossed, there is really nothing like settling in for a good hour or two of stories read aloud by an expert reader.
We had our favorites over the years. The Jim Dale readings of the Harry Potter stories are masterfully done. In a series with more than a hundred named characters Mr. Dale does an astonishingly good job with making each voice distinct. We listened to audio books for the Chronicles of Narnia and the wonderful Full Cast Audio productions of Tamera Pierce’s stories. What is unique about the FCA recordings is that each book is recorded by a full cast and is very often narrated by its author. Bruce Coville is the founder of this project and the results are unique and very engaging. My kids particularly loved it that the child’s parts are almost always read by children.
We also enjoyed the work of a story teller called Odds Bodkin who has a broad collection of stories for all ages. Long before the Percy Jackson series my kids were enthralled by mythology from Odds Bodkins renditions of the The Odyssey and The Iliad. My all time favorite of his is a Celtic justice tale called The Winter Cherries. And I’ve recently found the resource Open Culture media which has a huge library of the classics in audio. Most of the titles are adult books but there is plenty there for a young reader to enjoy including The Wizard of Oz, Sherlock Holmes, The Three Musketeers, Neil Gaiman reading his own Graveyard Book and also Green Eggs and Ham, Anne of Green Gables and short stories from Rudyard Kipling and Jack London. Best of all these audios are free! Your library most likely has audio books and your local librarian no doubt has great books on tape to recommend. How about you? Does your family have a great read for the road? Let us know in the comments!