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Summer is here! It’s time for lazy days spent at the pool, backyard barbecues, and long drives to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. It’s also time for endless complaints of “I don’t have anything to do” and “Are we there yet?”
Fortunately, our family discovered the joy of audio books some years ago. Audio books are a wonderful way to pass a hot afternoon or hours on the road, and so, in anticipation of long, hot days and family road trips, here is our family’s of all-time-favorite audio books and radio dramas (in no particular order). Maybe your family will find a favorite or two among them as well.
Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery. As a mom of two boys, I was sure I’d never have the opportunity to share one of my all-time favorite stories with my boys, but as it turns out, they absolutely loved listening to the adventures of red-haired Anne Shirley as narrated by Barbara Caruso. Ms. Caruso transports the listener to a simpler time, a time of long days, kindred spirits, and endless adventure. If your family enjoys Anne of Green Gables, be sure to give Anne of Avonlea a try as well. Anne’s adventures in this second set of stories are a bit more grown-up, but no less fun.
Farmer Boy and the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. As with Anne of Green Gables, I was anxious to introduce my boys to my other favorite literary companion from childhood: Laura Ingalls, but attempts at reading Little House in the Big Woods, the first book in the series, with them ended prematurely as they fidgeted to move on to something different. Just about when I was ready to give up on the Little House series, a friend suggested I try introducing the boys to Farmer Boy, the adventures of Laura’s future-husband, Almanzo Wilder. I decided to try Farmer Boy on audio book. The boys were hooked instantly. They begged for the CD to be turned on each time we climbed into the car, and when we finished Farmer Boy, they couldn’t wait to hear more, and so we moved on to Little House in the Big Woods, and then on to each of the remaining 7 books each in turn. And now, after listening to each story at least twice, my 10-year-old says he wants to move to Minnesota, to Walnut Grove, in particular. He enjoyed the books that much!
The Four Story Mistake, The Saturdays, and Then There Were Five by Elizabeth Enright. Elizabeth Enright’s books are similar to Anne of Green Gables and the Little House books in many ways. Endearing characters, fun adventures, simpler times, and beautiful language will keep parents and children alike listening to her stories again and again. The Melendy children, the subjects of Enright’s stories, are as charming and as memorable as Anne and Laura.
Jonathan Park Adventures. We were first introduced to these Creation-based science adventures through our homeschool Yahoo group. The adventure begins when Jonathan and his father collide with the Brenan family as they seek shelter from a sudden storm in a hidden cave. After discovering a massive dinosaur graveyard, the two families combine forces to build a Creation Science Museum to spread the message of the Creator! From there, the adventures continue with high adventure, Creation Science, and strong family values. As an added bonus, the Brenans homeschool their children, and after several adventures together, the Parks decide this is the right decision for them as well. Produced by Vision Forum, these stories are sure to be a hit with adventure-seekers young and old in your family. (www.VisionForum.com)
The Kingdom Series. We were recently introduced to a new series that is quickly becoming a family favorite. The Kingdom Series is a Medieval chronological allegory of the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation. The knights, castles, and battles are all symbolic of people, places, and events in Scripture. These are audio dramas complete with original musical scores, sound effects, and character voices that are sure to capture the attention of all! (www.KingdomSeries.com)
Summer dragging on? Planning another long trip?
Need more audio book ideas? Our family also loved the Narnia Series, Redwall, and classics like The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, The Secret Garden, The Cricket in Times Square, and The Mouse and the Motorcycle. Jim Weiss’ telling of favorite tales and stories are also a hit on shorter trips (www.greathall.com). For even more ideas, check out the incredible book lists at the Austin Montessori School’s website: www.austinmontessori.com (click on resources and then readings). You’re sure to find many of these books in audio book format at your local library.
What is your family’s favorite audio book or series? Have you shared a favorite from your childhood with your children? We’re always looking for new favorites to make lazy afternoons and long drives a bit more entertaining.
Jennifer and her boys are busy making a list of audio books they will enjoy on their next drive to Grandma and Grandpa’s. They’ll be sure to share their new favorites at their blog: Adventures in McQuill-land.
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