12 Adventure-Filled Audiobooks for Your Next Family Road Trip

This clever tale is perfect for bibliophilic families. Twelve-year-old Emily is eager to explore her new city when her family moves to San Francisco. The city is home to her literary idol, Garrison Griswold, an iconic publisher and puzzle-creator. Garrison is scheduled to release a new version of his popular online creation, Book Scavenger, when he falls mysteriously into a coma. Emily teams up with a new friend to uncover the secrets of Griswold’s new game. As with many middle grade novels, there’s a group of nefarious adults chasing after the young adventurers. This novel will appeal to anyone who would eagerly partake in a literary scavenger hunt in which players must solve puzzles to find hidden books.
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A heartwarming adventure for families who love animal characters. Hermux Tantamoq is a well-mannered, shy mouse who works as a watchmaker. He’s comfortably settled in his routines and enjoys his quiet life until a beautiful, bold aviatrix named Linka Perflinger bursts into his shop. As Hermux repairs Linka’s watch, he can’t help but daydream about what he'll say when she returns. When she doesn’t come back, Hermux flings himself headfirst into danger and adventure in the name of love and gallantry. Narrator Campbell Scott is a charming storyteller, and there are two additional books in this series available on audio. 5 hours 23 minutes
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For families that love the outdoors, this adventurous tale combines nature and magical realism. Arlo Finch wants desperately to become a Ranger, trained in wilderness and survival skills. When he arrives in Pine Mountain, Colorado, he discovers that the mountains are also home to dark and ancient magical forces. Arlo and his mountain scouting team take the Ranger’s vows to uphold loyalty, kindness, bravery, and truth, and soon find that they'll need all of those things to survive in a wilderness that’s far more dangerous than they could have imagined. Teamwork is one of the bigger themes in the book, and the story will have you itching to get outside and imagine something fantastic. Author John August was a guest on WSIRN Episode 115: Books that bridge two worlds.
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For fans of Kate DiCamillo’s The Tale of Despereaux, this story about unlikely friendship is on the gloomier side, but features unforgettable characters and a heartwarming ending. Liesl is a lonely little girl who befriends a ghost named Po and an alchemist’s apprentice named Will. The trio set off on a quest to deliver the ashes of Liesl’s deceased father to his final resting place, encountering trouble and villainous grown-ups along the way. Jim Dale, the narrator of the Harry Potter series, does a wonderful job bringing the story to life.
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A. A. Milne said that while the merits of most books are debatable, "one does not argue about The Wind in the Willows." This is the story of four stubbornly loyal friends: river-loving Mole and Ratty, infuriating (but lovable) Toad, and wise Badger. A tale of friendship, loyalty and mapcap adventures. Exuberant, joyful, and full of fresh air.
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11-year-old Alex narrates his journey from his Colorado home to the site of a conference for fellow astronomy-nerds in L.A. There, he’s hoping to fulfill his dream of launching his recordings into space (and hopefully, into the hands of aliens). Alex is quirky and determined to see his plans through, making him endearing to his audience. With a far-from-perfect home life and a penchant for making friends with unusual people, readers will root for Alex every step of the way. This full-cast narration brings an alternative format to the audiobook experience.
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This is on my TBR list because it's been highly recommended. From Sarah Mackenzie: "I don't usually tell people that there is a book they absolutely-must-no-questions-HAVE-TO-without-a-doubt read.... If I could choose only one book for my kids to read this year, this would be it."
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In the summer of 1968, Delphine and her younger sisters journey to Oakland, California. They plan to spend the summer vacation with their mother, who abandoned their family years earlier. When the girls arrive, they find a mother who is radically different from the one they've imagined. Seemingly annoyed by their presence, Delphine's mother wants to send them off to a Black Panthers summer camp. From School Library Journal: "Emotionally challenging and beautifully written, this book immerses readers in a time and place and raises difficult questions of cultural and ethnic identity and personal responsibility. With memorable characters (all three girls have engaging, strong voices) and a powerful story, this is a book well worth reading and rereading."
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The first novel in The Land of Stories series, this adventurous tale follows twins Alex and Conner as they (literally) fall into a favorite book from childhood and find themselves face-to-face with classic fairy tale characters. In The Land of Stories, happily-ever-after is not as peaceful as it seems: Goldilocks is a wanted fugitive, and the Evil Queen has escaped from her prison. Desperate to get back to reality, the twins set out on a quest, collecting magical items for a special spell to send them home. With six books in the series, these are great for families who love a twist on classic fairy tales.
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I just loved this and have been thrilled to see so many readers of all ages enjoy it. It’s a Newbery Honor Book, set during WWII, and the plot is set in motion when two children—one of whom is very much unwanted—are evacuated from London into the British countryside. (If you think this sounds like Everyone Brave Is Forgiven you’re exactly right.)
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From the author of the well-loved Mysterious Benedict Society series, this story will appeal to readers who love a good adventure with unexpected magic. Eleven-year-old Reuben likes to roam in the abandoned part of town, where he stumbles upon an antique pocket watch that grants the ability to become invisible. With his new power in hand and a villain called The Smoke on his tail, Reuben must decide whether or not to play the hero and keep this dangerous secret to himself.
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The story follows a street magician named Carter, who runs away from his arrogant and dishonest uncle. Carter then teams up with five of his fellow kid magicians to battle a crew of crooked and greedy carnival workers. Families love this because it's not just a story -- its supplementary reference material teaches readers (and listeners) the secrets behind popular magic tricks.
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