On the road again: Family-friendly titles to listen to while driving this holiday season

By Tori Hamilton, Children's Library Associate, Glenpool Library

We all know that reading together is a great way to bring families closer, but during the busy holiday season, it can be difficult to find the time. Luckily, if your family is planning to take any road trips to visit friends or relatives over Christmas break, the library has a great selection of family-friendly audiobook titles that appeal to a broad range of ages. Check out this librarian's top three audiobook series recommendations, chosen for kid-appeal, adult-appeal, and amazing narrations.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer - In the first volume of this eight-book series, a boy genius with plans to steal fairy gold gets more than he bargained for when the fairy he captures turns out to be a cop, resulting in a standoff between Artemis and the Lower Elements Police. The audio version, expertly narrated by Nathaniel Parker of The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, is entertaining from start to finish. Parker's distinct voices for each character make it easy to keep track of the diverse cast of fairies, dwarves, centaurs, and one irascible butler. With an average run-time of 7 hours per book, the story will keep the whole family entertained for even the longest of trips, but try to finish this series before the Disney movie adaptation hits theaters in 2019!

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell - If you think you don't need to read these books because you've seen the movies, think again. The films (while amazing) are only loosely based on these whimsical, hilarious chronicles of a young viking and his tiny, belligerent dragon. Narrator David Tenant, of Doctor Who fame, really brings these stories to life. He's the perfect voice for Cowell's humorous style, which alternates between juvenile puns and a subtle dry wit very well, giving both kids and adults something to laugh at. With twelve books each lasting 3-4 hours (though the last few books are longer), this is a great series for shorter trips.

The Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket - There's a lot to be said for Lemony Snicket's thirteen-book saga of the orphaned Baudelaire children and their struggles against the devious Count Olaf, but the audio version, narrated by Tim Curry, takes this already amusing series to the next level. Not only does Curry perfectly voice each character, utilizing an astonishing variety of accents and styles, but his portrayal of the series' often snarky narrator is beyond perfect. These books are written at a very high reading level, making it educational for younger children while not leaving adult listeners feeling like they've been talked down to. These audiobooks range from 3 to 6 hours each, getting longer as the series goes on.

These are only a few of the great audio titles available through the Tulsa City-County Library. If none of these pique your interests, your local librarians are only too happy to offer other suggestions. If you haven't tried audiobooks with your family before, make this the year you do! Listening to books and discussing them together can become just as much a holiday tradition as turkey dinners. And who knows? Maybe someday you'll look back on this holiday season and think, "Oh, yes! That was the year we listened to that book together." The "together" bit is more important than the title you choose. 

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