We are frequently asked to recommend our favourite audiobooks for kids. With so many great options out there it can be difficult to know where to begin. Are your kids up for something funny, something magical, an adventure, a mystery, a short story or a chapter book? As part of our ongoing collaboration with Audible we thought we’d share our kids’ ten favourite audiobooks.
As important as the audiobook is its narrator. A great narrator (or cast) can elevate a work of literature into a completely engrossing and thoroughly entertaining experience. With better-known titles often recorded by multiple artists, choosing the best performance is key. We use Audible’s ‘sample’ feature to preview every title before we buy it. Some of our kids’ favourite narrators are Kate Winslet, David Walliams, Stephen Fry and Tim Curry.
This was not an easy list to compile as each of our kids had a long list of favourites. Ivy could have quite happily put ten Roald Dahl titles here. Easton and Quin would have David Walliams dominating the list. And of course Marlow, never short of an opinion, had a couple to add.
Here, in no particular order, are our kids’ favourite audiobooks. I’d say all are appropriate for ages 6 to 12, but you’ll find a couple for under-5s too:
Matilda by Roald Dahl. Narrated by Kate Winslet.
One of the many audiobooks we brought home from the Roald Dahl museum, Matilda remains a family favourite. Kate Winslet’s performance, as always, is fantastic and Roald Dahl’s unforgettable characters are forever popping up in our kids’ imaginative play.
The Bad Beginning: A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. Narrated by Tim Curry.
Our older kids especially love this series of ‘unhappy’ tales of the Baudelaire orphans. So far we’ve listened to the first 3 books in the series and Tim Curry’s performance of the eccentric characters takes their misfortune to a wonderfully, dreadful level.
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson. Narrated by Imelda Staunten.
Marlow’s pick. This classic English short story by famed children’s author Julia Donaldson is a perennial favourite. Michael and I have probably read the book to each of our kids a hundred times but Imelda Staunten’s reading plus the music and sound effects puts ours to shame. Our kids are happy to listen to it with or without the book to hand.
The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton. Narrated by Kate Winslet.
Another fantastic performance by Kate Winslet and a wonderfully imaginative tale by one of our kids’ favourite authors. This is the first story in the Faraway Tree series and we will be sure to listen to more. Our kids are also very fond of Blyton’s ‘Famous Five’ series, with Easton and Quin having read four or five titles each.
Awful Auntie by David Walliams. Narrated by David Walliams, Maggie Steed, & Nitin Ganatra.
Our older kids love almost all of David Walliams’ books and his performance of them. This story of a little girl forced to live with her ghastly Aunt Alberta kept them laughing all the way through. Some of David Walliams can be a bit crude and bathroom humour is not uncommon, so be sure (you and) your kids are ready for it.
Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson. Narrated by Penelope Rawlins.
Our friend Vanessa Gerbrandy has a knack for picking great audiobooks. This was one of her recommendations and our older kids loved it. Set deep in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, it’s the story of a young English girl sent to live with her cousins. Our kids’ enjoyment of the story was amplified by their recent visit to the country.
Call of the Wild by Jack London. Narrated by Garrick Hagon.
An American classic, we listened to this while on our road trip through California. It’s the tale of a dog named Buck who is stolen and sold into a harsh life as a sled dog in Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush.
A Bear called Paddington by Michael Bond. Narrated by Stephen Fry.
A classic tale read by a wonderful performer. The adventures of Paddington are popular with all four of our kids.
Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo. Narrated by Derek Jacobi.
This is the story of a young boy and his dog who fall from a boat in the Pacific and wash up on a remote island. The story of their survival reminded our kids of another favourite, ‘The Island of the Blue Dolphins’.
The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Performed by a BBC Radio 4 cast.
This was the first story we listened to in the Narnia series and it remains our favourite. It is performed by a full cast, with music and sound effects. It’s more akin to a radio play than an audiobook and once we heard this recording, we started to look for other BBC Radio 4 performances.
Many of these wonderful audiobooks were recommended to us and we’d love to know yours too. Please leave your favourites here in a comment.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Audible. Like all of our sponsored posts, we only work with companies whose products we use and love. The opinions and text here are entirely my own.