As you know, audiobooks are my favorite! It’s especially wholesome when you find family audiobooks that everyone can listen to and enjoy. For this list, I’ve collected some of the best family audiobooks for road trips, bedtime listening, and every occasion thinkable. These are funny, engaging, propulsive, and intriguing fiction and non-fiction audiobooks that appeal to a wide range of family members.
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20+ Best Audiobooks for the Whole Family
Here are some of the best family audiobooks:
Family Audiobooks for Road Trips
On road trips, what’s better than listening to books about road trips and adventure? All the books in this category will work for readers ages 7 and up.
The Vanderbeekers on the Road
Published: September 20, 2022
I rarely read past the first book in a series. I’m a one-and-done type of reader, but THE VANDERBEEKERS is one of maybe 5 series I keep up with. And each installment is a joy. Pick this up to see our favorite kids growing up and driving from NYC to the West Coast to surprise their dad. Lots of cozy feels and the best kind of book to listen to (I never read these books—I listen to the audiobooks) on a family road trip.
Published: March 10, 2020
Twelve-year old Sara Martinez is a hacker bouncing from foster home to foster home in Brooklyn, New York. After getting arrested for hacking into the NYC foster care system to expose her foster parents as criminals, she meets a man named Mother who is not a lawyer but convinces her to take on her case. Mother somehow wins and Sara gets released only to join a team of kid spies operating out of a base in Scotland.
This is the best spy middle grade series I’ve ever read. Taking readers from New York to Scotland and Paris, this story makes for an engaging experience. Major props for featuring a racially diverse cast of characters who leap off the page and whose realistic, humorous banter will keep readers turning the pages.
The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise
Published: January 08, 2019
This book about a girl on a life-changing road trip with her dad is incredible. With one of the most remarkable (no pun intended) protagonists I’ve read in a while, TRJOCS handles dying, grief, and family excellently. It’s one of those books that brings your heart joy even while it’s breaking it. There’ll be lots to discuss with your kids afterward.
Published: August 01, 2023
Pedro Martin and his family of 11 (NINE kids!) decide to drive from the US to Mexico to pick up his aging Abuelo and bring him to the US with them. Along the way, they encounter corrupt border patrol officers, diarrhea-inducing milk, bad haircuts, stories of his Abuelo’s past, and plenty of family. I loved the idea of this book and the illustrations throughout. The inclusion of Spanish words and touches of Mexican history among the funny hijinks of Pedro and his siblings make this book very accessible for younger readers — and it’s full-cast audio!
Funny Family Audiobooks
Want something funny? The audiobooks in this category will have the whole family laughing out loud. Again, all of these are great for kids ages 7 and up.
The Smartest Kid in the Universe
Published: December 01, 2020
Twelve-year-old Jake’s middle school is about to be shut down—unless Jake and his friends can figure out how to save it. When Jake eats a bowl of jellybeans at the hotel where his mom works, he becomes the smartest kid in the universe. Soon, though, Jack realizes that smarts don’t mean he can avoid hard work. He also learns that he’ll need to change the way he thinks about himself to make the best of this new gift.
Published: June 23, 2009
Nick Allen becomes an unwitting local icon when he starts calling the pen a frindle. This is such a fun, fun book about the power of words and being creative! Great for introducing kids to chapter books and absolutely delightful! Kids as young as ages 5 or 6 would love this.
The Greatest Kid in the World
Published: May 09, 2023
Zeke tries to be a good kid, but most days, he can’t resist pulling a great prank or instigating his classmates into mayhem. So, imagine his shock when he gets an invitation to join The Greatest Kid in the World contest. As a camera follows him and his family for days, Zeke gains a new perspective on life and what it means to be a “great” kid. Surprisingly profound and ridiculously funny.
No Fixed Address
Published: September 11, 2018
12-year-old Felix Knuttson is a sweet kid with an incredible brain for trivia. His mom Astrid is loving but unreliable; she can’t hold onto a job, or a home. When they lose their apartment in Vancouver, they move into a camper van, just for August, till Astrid finds a job. September comes, and they’re still in the van; Felix must keep “home” a secret and give a fake address in order to enroll in school. Luckily, he finds true friends and enters into a contest he hopes will be the solution to their accommodation challenges. But things don’t go as planned.
Classic Family Audiobooks
If you favor the classic kid lit, these are some old and new classics for listeners of all ages:
Ramona Quimby, Age 8
Published: October 05, 2010
There’s a reason why this is the first book that comes to mind when I think of a family audiobook! It’s perfect even for kids as young as age 5. Ramona’s hijinks are relatable, and the story is warm and captivating even for older listeners.
Leeva at Last
Published: March 07, 2023
In Leeva at Last, we meet Leeva, a child who’s been kept indoors and put to work by her famous parents. Her mom is the Mayor, and her dad is the Treasurer. They both only care about fame and money, respectively, but not about their daughter or townspeople. They don’t even send her to school, and Leeva learns new words from a vocabulary section of the newspaper and teaches herself to read. But when Leeva finds her way to the town library one day, her eyes are opened to the world around her, and she finds the answer to a question that’s been on her mind forever: “What are people for?”
Save Me a Seat
Published: May 10, 2016
SAVE ME A SEAT is the story of two seemingly different boys – one Indian, one American. When Ravi’s family moves to America, he is shocked at how different things are. The things he liked about himself seem to neither impress nor be appreciated by his American classmates and teachers. Joe is a quiet, sensitive American who is regularly bullied by his classmates. The story follows both boys as they find a way to a solid friendship despite their differences.
A Place to Hang the Moon
Published: June 22, 2021
A Place to Hang the Moon follows three orphaned kids in England during the WWII evacuation. Orphans William, Edmund, and Anna (aged 12, 11, and 9) are evacuated after their (not nice) grandmother dies. The kids are instructed not to disclose how well off their family is until they’re placed with a new family that feels like a forever family.
In their new countryside dwelling, the kids are placed with several poorly matched families. The first family has twin boys that are just horrid and the second family is too poor (and could care less about them besides the money she’s paid to look after them). Through it all, the children take solace in each other, stories from William about their parents, and their love of books and the town library.
Family Audiobooks: For Kids Under 8
If you have most younger kids between ages 5-8, here are some options that might appeal to you:
Ways to Make Sunshine
Published: July 30, 2020
Ryan Hart and her family are moving to a new (old) house because her dad lost his post office job and his new job doesn’t pay as much. Ryan is unhappy about the change for many reasons. She liked their old house, and even though she has her own room in this new house, this house is a smaller bungalow, which means there will be no stairs to play on. She also fears that it will be too small to entertain guests, because Ryan loves to create new recipes — and cook them! Throughout this slice-of-life book, Ryan learns how to believe in herself, enjoy public speaking, be a bigger person, and love who she is.
Published: April 14, 2015
This one is a huge favorite of many young readers! Dory is a lastborn with an overactive imagination who exhausts her parents and siblings with her high energy and propensity for chaos. Join her in the first book of the series as she finds monsters around the house and puts them in their place. The audio is imaginative and fun — but most importantly, only 55 minutes long.
The One and Only Ivan
Published: March 14, 2013
This is a beloved classic! Having spent 27 years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes.
The Terrible Two
Published: January 13, 2015
This young middle grade book about two pranksters caught in a prank war manages to remain wholesome and educational, while being laugh-out-loud funny.
Zara’s Rules for Record-Breaking Fun
Published: April 19, 2022
Ten-year-old Zara has been crowned Queen of the Neighborhood by a loving neighbor. Zara makes fair rules for all the games she and her brother Zayd play with the other kids and Zara likes things just like that. But when her neighbor, Mr. Chapman moves out, a new family moves in. Their daughter Naomi has other ideas for playing and the other kids seem to like many of her ideas too. To win back her crown, Zara decides she’ll try to break a World Guiness Record. But as time goes on, she realizes that it may just be better to share her crown instead.
My Weird School #1: Miss Daisy Is Crazy!
Published: March 08, 2011
Prolific and popular author Dan Gutman launches a fun new series with this tale about second-grader A.J. and the unusual school he attends. On the first day of class, A.J. tells Miss Daisy he loves football and video games but hates school. Then Miss Daisy tells him she hates school, too, and the students think their teacher just might be an impostor.
Family Audiobooks: For Tweens
Older kids also love a good audiobook! The books in this category will work best for readers ages 9 and up. They’re longer, richer stories with more mature themes. See a full list of audiobooks for tweens.
The Fire, the Water, and Maudie McGinn
Published: July 11, 2023
The Fire, The Water, and Maudie McGinn is a vivid, triumphant, and authentic coming-of-age story about discovering one’s inner strength. Maudie is a sweet, autistic girl spending the summer with her dad. When her dad’s home is razed in a California wildfire, they move to the small beach town where her father grew up. Throughout the summer, as Maudie makes new friends, starts learning to surf, and enters a surfing contest, a secret tugs at her–one her mother has asked her to keep from her dad.
Three Strike Summer
Published: August 30, 2022
Gloria and her family lose their farm when an unending drought leads to a lack of produce. They move to California to find work and eventually start picking peaches on a farm. The family is also reeling from the loss of Gloria’s baby brother and struggling to contain Gloria’s spunky attitude which often gets her in trouble. At the farm, Gloria quickly discovers a baseball team (with only boys! who don’t want a girl on the team!) and is ready to do what it takes to join the team. At the same time, ripples of discontent with working wages lead to organizing that puts Gloria and her family in a precarious position.
Coop Knows the Scoop
Published: July 28, 2020
When a dead body is found in Coop’s small town, he and his best friends Justice and Liberty are intrigued and want to help solve the mystery. But the stakes get even higher when Coop’s grandfather is accused of murdering the victim (who turned out to be Coop’s missing grandma!). Can Coop get the scoop on this mystery and save his grandfather before it’s too late?
The Curious League of Detectives and Thieves: Egypts Fire
Published: June 14, 2022
After twelve-year-old John Boarhog’s mom dies, the last thing he wants is to be schlepped off to the Jersey Home for Boys, where kids are forced to make skinny jeans for hipsters and are fed nothing but kale. Instead, he makes himself a snug home in the ceiling of the New York Museum of Natural History, where he reads anything he can get his hands on and explores the artifacts after hours.
But when a rare Egyptian ruby—the highlight of the museum’s new exhibit—goes missing, John is accused of the crime. That is until the unpredictable Inspector Toadius McGee sweeps in to wrestle control of the case, certain that the true culprit is a notorious criminal he’s been tracking for years. Along the way, John uncovers secrets about his own past, including that he’s a lot more involved in this web of endearing ne’er-do-wells than he ever could have imagined.
Audiobooks for the Whole Family
To wrap this up, here’s a bunch of audiobooks I think will especially appeal to adults and older kids, but also the occasional younger kiddo.
Published: September 12, 2023
This is a non-fiction audiobook about the history of popular Chinese meals like dumplings and wontons. Kids who like folk tales, foodie books, and history will eat this up. I got this as an advanced listening copy from Libro.fm.
The Lost Year
Published: January 17, 2023
It’s 2020, and Matthew is sick of being inside with the pandemic raging outside. While reluctantly helping his great-grandmother sort through her belongings, he finds a picture of two girls. As she shares her experience during the Ukrainian famine, the story alternates between three narrators: Matthew, Helena, and Mila. A powerful, unforgettable account of historical events.
What Happened to Rachel Riley
Published: January 10, 2023
When Anna Hunt moves from Chicago to Wisconsin for her mother’s new job, she soon realizes that something’s off about her new eighth-grade class. One student, Rachel Riley, who was once popular is now treated as a social pariah. So when their English teacher assigns them an un-essay — which is an exploration of a topic in any other format besides an essay — Anna decides to investigate the question: What happened to Rachel Riley? Of course, the teacher rejects Anna’s topic despite her lawyer mom’s protests. But with some hesitant help from Rachel and some other schoolmates, Anna pieces together the mystery. This is especially great for older tweens!
Published: October 13, 2020
This is a great non-fiction book about the 12 soccer playing kids who got stuck in a cave with their coach in Thailand. This audiobook feels a lot like a great podcast and can be an option for families who like that format.
Lasagna Means I Love You
Published: February 21, 2023
11-year-old Mo has lost her Nan (and sole guardian). So, Mo’s entering the foster care system. She ends up with a well-to-do couple who seem delighted to have her. There, Mo tries recipes and even starts a website for all the family recipes she’s been collecting. But then, Mo’s world is turned upside down again. An achingly tender portrait of a girl searching for a family.
Get a printable of this list to take to your library. Just pop your email in the box below and it’ll come right to you!
There they are 20+ of the best family audiobooks for every occasion! Which of these audiobooks have you listened to and loved as a family? Which ones did I miss?
More Audiobook Lists
- Best short audiobooks
- The best audiobooks narrated by the author
- Great full-cast audiobooks for kids and adults