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Going on a road trip? Listen to a book.

by Miriam Downey 11. June 2012 11:38

When my daughter was in middle school, we frequently drove from Michigan to New York and Minnesota to visit relatives. Both were very long trips for me as the driver and her as the rider. I remembered that my mother had read to us in the car when we were young, so I went to the library and got audio books for us to listen to in the car. It turned out to be a wonderful experience for us both; I tried to pick books that we both would like to hear. My fondest memory is when we listened to To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It turned out to be transformative for both of us.

If there are several children in your family, you will need to be cognizant of the differences in the ages as you are choosing your audio books. Remember that children can listen to books geared to an older age level than they can read. You will find that even the driver tunes into the book. I have always gotten a kick out of my husband and the books we listen to in the car. He says that he doesn't like fiction, but he is always the first to turn on the player when we get into the car.

Here are my best suggestions for books for road trips. All of these books are available at my local library. Check with your library website or just go and browse their audio book shelves.

The best part of listening to a book in the car is that the hours just fly by!

These books are appropriate for almost all families.

The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Most of the books in the series run about 6 hours on CD. The book for the youngest children is The Little House in the Big Woods. Please be warned that Pa speaks despairingly of Native Americans in some of the books but not in The Little House in the Big Woods. Probably will need some explaining about how pioneers felt about Native Americans.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. 4 1/2 hours. An adventure novel and modern fairy tale. It is fun with lots of puns and jokes about the meanings of English language idioms.

Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe. 2 hours. Talk about silly! A vegetarian vampire bunny. Other books by the Howes that are also available on audio book include Howliday Inn and The Celery Stalks at Midnight. Everyone will be in stitches.

Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater.  2 hours. Mr. Popper is a house painter who is given two penguins who begin a small flock. The curiosity of the penguins and Mr. Popper's goodwill is memorable.

Redwall by Brian Jacques. 10 hours. Several books in the series. The story of a brave mouse who founds an abbey deep in the woods and fighs evil. Great stories.

Travels with Charlie by John Steinbeck.  8 hours. Travel with the famous American author John Steinbeck as he travels around the United States with his dog, Charlie.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  12 hours. The classic story about Scout, a girl of the South and her lawyer father, a kind man who tries to live a just life. Scout is one of the most appealing children in American literature.

Happy Travels!

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