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Summer is a time we listen to a lot of audiobooks. On the way to swim lessons & parks, lounging around the house on a hot afternoon. We like our summer audiobooks to be summer-themed, outdoor-themed or highly imaginative…if we can get all three, even better! Most importantly, they need to appeal to all of us. (Kids were 4-11, two boys & a girl when we listened to these suggestions.)
We found all of these audiobooks on CD or through our library’s Overdrive system (which I put through my car’s speakers). Several of these have also been read as read-alouds and have been excellent in that format.
Audiobooks perfect for summer
I never read Mary Poppins * by P.L. Travers and, until we listened to the audiobook, I didn’t know that it was so different from Disney’s movie version. The movie isn’t one of my favorite Disney movies, so I had put off reading the book with the kids. BIG MISTAKE! What a JOY the book is! Mary Poppins is less perfectly pleasant than in the movie which made me like her more. As usually happens, the movie cut out large portions of the book–some of the best parts! Sophie Thompson does a marvelous narration, transitioning from character to character perfectly. She makes an already great story even better. As one reviewer put it, ” I wish so much that I could go back in time and read this to myself as a child. It’s a book to make grown-ups think and to remember being children, and a book to make children dream.” (My oldest has listened to more books in the series but we haven’t listened to them as a family. I plan to start book 2 on a road trip next week.)
All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor follows five sisters through simple life adventures in the Lower East Side of New York at the turn of the 20th century. A sweet story that all my kids found engaging. A part of the story takes place over summer and includes a trip to Coney Island, which is why I’m including this recommendation. My kids especially enjoyed the section on the family’s preparation for Purim (which led us to a study on Esther (LINK!!).) After you listen to that, be sure to listen to the two sequels.
The Fudge books are the first audiobooks I’ve listened to with each of my kiddos. Fudge’s young age & his antics make for a very engaging book for the younger age. Older kids will delight in them, too, especially if they have younger siblings–they can certainly relate to Peter! Fudge-A-Mania* follows the family’s summer adventures renting a house in Maine with the Tubman family.
Two summers ago we listened to The Penderwicks A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits & a Very Intersting Boy*. Before the first CD was over, my big two were begging me to look for sequels. We quickly devoured those. And they have continued to listen to them again and again. In the first book in the series, the Penderwick family (widowed professor father + four girls + the family dog) spends the summer at the Arundel estate. Joined by the son of the estate’s owner, the Penderwicks are in for an adventure-filled summer.
“‘It’s [most important thing in life] different for everyone,’ she said. ‘You find out on your own. But in the meantime, you got to remember, you can’t always judge people by the things they done. You got to judge them by what they are doing now.'” A big summer is in store for India Opal Buloni in the classic story Because of Winn Dixie*. Found outside a Florida Winn-Dixie, a dog comes into India’s life and, through the dog, comes change.