Seven Audiobooks to Make Holiday Travel Fly By

The impending holidays make me think of travel with kids. I don’t know any kid who likes a long car ride, but a good audiobook can turn cranky into complaisant and make hours feel like minutes.

For the Younger Set:

audio-winnie-the-poohWinnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

The set we had when our children were small was put out by the BBC. We loved it because it had pooh stories but it also had poems from When We Were Very Young. There are loads of editions out there. I’d definitely go for British actors!

 

audio-junie-b-jonesJunie B. Jones by Barbara Park

The whole family loved to listen to Junie B stories. She always got us laughing out loud with her antics!

 

For Older Kids:

audio-hp-and-the-sorcerers-stoneHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

This one almost goes without saying. We’ve listened to some of the Harry Potter stories in addition to reading them. They’re beautifully read by Jim Dale, and each book contains hours of material. We found we got a different appreciation for the stories by hearing the words read aloud.

audio-chronicles-of-narniaThe Chronicles of Narnia C. S. Lewis

My in-laws gave my daughter this boxed set with all seven of C. S. Lewis’s Narnia stories. They’ve been a favorite of both my kids. There are connected stories that fall both before and after The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, so there’s lots of material there. They’re read beautifully, so even though my husband and I aren’t C. S. Lewis fans, we’ve all listened to them together.

My Current Favorites:

audio-the-graveyard-bookThe Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

I’m just listening to this book now. It’s one I’ve been meaning to read for years and what a fun book it is! Nobody, the main character, is a living boy raised by the ghosts in a graveyard. So charming, such beautiful language, so very English! It’s a tribute to The Jungle Book with a very different setting. The beginning is quite violent and scary, so if you’ve got very small or sensitive kids, this might not be the best choice.

audio-brown-girl-dreamingBrown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

I don’t know why it took me so long to get to this book, but it became an instant favorite. Written in verse and read by the author, it was an absolute delight to listen to in the car. Because each track is a poem, it would also be a great book to listen to in small chunks. The language is gorgeous and Woodson’s memories of growing up brown during the civil rights era is important for all American children to hear. This book could also spark great discussions. I may have to plan a road trip, so I can share it with my family.

Finally, Flashing My Geek Card — the radio play my entire family can quote from:

audio-hitchhikers-guideThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

This series was actually a radio play before it was published as a book. It’s got everything you need for a long, boring trip: excitement, space travel, and the answer to life, the universe, and everything. What more could you need besides a towel?

The library’s a great place to discover new audiobooks, and for airplane trips Playaways, those tiny library mp3 players with just one book on them, are perfect. Then everyone can have their own story to enjoy.

Wishing you peaceful, story filled holidays and safe travels.

 

The Way to School by Rosemary McCarney

The Way to School Second Story Press, 2015

What would you go through to get to school? As children in the United States and Canada prepare for a new school year with anticipation or trepidation, they’re likely to be focused on who their teacher will be, which friends will be in their class, or how much homework will be required this year. In many countries, however, simply getting to school requires a very real and physical commitment. They way may be long and treacherous; nevertheless, as is evidenced in The Way to School, children in many parts of the world work hard to simply get to school.

Though the text in this book is quite simple and meant for younger children, I think this book could have a place in a classroom for older students. I love the gorgeous photographs. There’s a wealth of information in every image that will intrigue older readers, too. I found myself pouring over the photographs and comparing them. Which groups had an adult accompanying them? Who wore uniforms to school? Which children had to bring necessities like water and furniture? Every photograph helps readers understand that required school attendance and a school bus to ride are indeed privileges.

Each photograph is identified by country, which provides a great jumping off point for further research on education in specific countries. There are also many points of comparison to research between the photographs. Which countries have mandated education? How many days a year do children go to school? What sort of geographical features limit some communities’ access to education?

Proceeds from the sale of this book go to Plan Canada, one of the largest international development agencies in the world.

I read The Way to School as an electronic ARC courtesy of Second Story Press and NetGalley.