25 Great Audiobooks for Kids

A globe with children around the circumference and text reading International Children's Book Day.
Today was International Children's Book Day, and to celebrate I'd like to share my top 25 audiobooks for children and families. Many of these were favourites from my own childhood, and others I have listened to more recently. Several of them I still own on cassette with the hope of transferring them to MP3. The one thing they have in common is that they are all superb stories which can be listened to again and again. 

The age recommendations listed for each title are based upon the categories under which they are listed on Audible. Many of the books will be fine for a younger (or indeed much older) audience.



1 - The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson.
Narrated by Bill Oddie. Duration: 40 mins. Ages: 0 - 4.


A charming book about a young barn owl who learns to overcome his fear of the dark, and the friends he makes along the way. This was one of my first audiobooks as a child, and I adored the full 1983 recording narrated by Maureen Lipman which doesn't seem to be available as a digital audiobook. It is, however, on Youtube and will be my nostalgic bedtime listening tonight!


2 -  Beatrix Potter: The Complete Tales by Beatrix Potter.
Narrated by Gary Bond, Michael Hordern, Rosemary Leach, Janet Maw.
Duration: 5 hrs 51 mins. Age: 0 - 4.



3 - Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen.
Narrated by Alan Cumming, Nigel Davenport, Andrew Sachs, Juliet Stevenson.
Duration: 3hrs 4 mins. Ages: 5 - 7.


A lovely collection of the classic fairy tales read by some wonderful narrators.


4 - Carbonel by Barbara Sleigh.
Narrated by Anna Massey. Duration: Ages: 5 - 7

Carbonel audiobook cover. A little blonde girl with pigtails touches the magical paw on a black cat.

A charming story about friendship and magic. One of my favourites as a child, Carbonel is sadly not currently available on Audible. It is available on Calibre for those with a subscription.


5 - The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.
Narrated by Michael Hordern. Duration: 6 hrs 56 mins. Age: 5 - 7.


The classic story following the adventures of Mole, Ratty, Badger, and Mr Toad. Poop poop!


6 - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll.
Narrated by Miriam Margolyes. Duration: 3 hrs 22 mins. Age: 5 - 7.


A timeless tale for listeners of all ages. This version is superbly narrated by Miriam Margolyes (Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter films), but there are many other versions available including one read by Scarlett Johanssen.


Narrated by Michael York. Duration:4 hrs 22 mins. Age: 8+


The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was the first of the Narnia books Lewis released, but the author intended The Magician's Nephew - a prequel to the other stories - to be the first book in the series.


8 - Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne.
Narrated by Alan Bennett. Duration: 3 hrs 42 mins. Ages 8 - 10.


Some of the very best tales from Pooh Corner, featuring all of Milne's much loved characters.


9 - Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman.
Narrated by Neil Gaiman. Duration 58 mins. Ages 8 - 10.

 

A short but great fun story about time-travel, dinosaurs, and cereal...


10 - Five on Treasure Island by Enid Blyton.
Narrated by Jan Francis. Duration: 4 hrs 14 mins. Age: 8 - 10.


The first book in Enid Blyton's classic adventure series about Julian, Ann, Dick, George, and Timmy the dog. The famous five investigate a mystery on Kirrin Island, and get far more than they had ever bargained for...


11 - Danny, Champion of the World by Roald Dahl.
Narrated by Peter Serafinowicz. Duration: 4 hrs 27 mins. Age: 8 - 10.


Any of Roald Dahl's books would be a wonderful choice and it is impossible to pick a favourite. Danny is one of Dahl's books which I think is often underrated and missed off of lists like these in favour of Matilda or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.


12 - The Borrowers by Mary Norton.
Narrated by Christopher Eccleston. Duration: 3 hrs 57 mins. Age: 8 - 10.


A story about all the little things that go missing, and the little people who may have borrowed them.

Narrated by a full cast. Duration: 2 hrs 16 mins. Age: 8 - 10.


The version I had as a child was an unabridged recording narrated by Jan Francis, but that doesn't appear to be available anywhere. I loved this story of time travel, friendship, and adventure.


14 - The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks.
Narrated by Richard E. Grant. Duration: 2 hrs 59 mins. Age: 8 - 10.


A tale of magic and responsibility, where two young boys learn that actions have consequences.


15 - Five Children and It by E. Nesbit.
Narrated by a full cast. Duration: 1 hr 27 mins. Age: 8 - 10.


A magical story about a group of children who find a sand fairy who will grant them one wish per day. The wishes only last until sunset, but the adage 'be careful what you wish for' still very much applies...


16 - Redwall by Brian Jacques.
Narrated by Brian Jacques. Duration: 3 hrs 7 mins. Age: 8 - 10.


The story of a brave mouse community whose peaceful existence is under threat. I borrowed all the Redwall audiobooks from the local library as a child and must get round to listening to them again!


17 - The Jungle Book Audible Original Shows version by Rudyard Kipling.
Narrated by a full cast, including: Bill Bailey, Richard E. Grant, Tim McInnerny, Bernard Cribbins, Celia Imrie. Duration: 2 hrs 30 mins. Age: 8 - 10.


Mowgli's story of  friendship in the jungle. I've linked to the Audible Shows version because on Audible UK the shows are free to anyone with an active subscription, but there are many other versions available.


18 - How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell.
Narrated by David Tennant. Duration: 3 hrs 29 mins. Age: 8 - 10.


One of the few contemporary books in this list, I listened to the first book a few years ago and thought it was good fun.


19 - The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Narrated by Indira Varma. Duration: 8 hrs 25 mins. Age: 8 - 10.


When Mary Lennox arrives in England from India she is not predisposed to like it, or anyone she meets there. Discovering a secret garden begins to transform not only her life, but the lives of the whole household.


21 - A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig.
Narrated by Stephen Fry. Duration: 4 hrs 26 mins. Age: 8 - 10.


A charming seasonal trilogy, I have listened to one of the books each year at Christmas.


Narrated by Stephen Fry. Duration: 8 hrs 44 mins. Age: 8+


No children's book list would be complete anymore without the Harry Potter series. Magical tales of friendship triumphing over good and evil, the later books are more suitable for older children but this first one would suit most and is great for family journeys.


23 - The Queen's Nose by Dick King Smith.
Narrated by Eve Kampf. Duration: 2 hrs 4 mins. Age: 11 - 13.


A quirky tale about a girl who prefers animals to people, often merging the two in her perception of the world. Her life is changed by the arrival of a very special pet. This book was turned into a TV series when I was younger, and we loved that as much as the book.


24 - The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett.
Narrated by Stephen Briggs. Duration: 7 hrs 10 mins. Age: 11+.


B=The second book in the Discworld for Children arc of the Discworld novels, The Wee Free Men is the book that introduces us to Tiffany Aching and the Feegles, and is one of the best books for introducing younger listeners to the Disc and the magic of Pratchett.


25 - The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.
Narrated by Neil Gaiman. Duration: 7 hrs 43 mins. Age: 13+


The Graveyard Book is one of my favourite Gaiman novels, and is ideal for families with older children to listen to together. A funny and fantastical adventure story featuring ghosts and ghouls.


I hope you find something you enjoy in the list. If you have any suggestions you would like to add to it then please post them in the comments below.

1 comment

  1. I love the description of Neil Gaiman as a “ridiculously bestselling author”!

    I have almost all of these. Richard and I fell in love with the Alan Bennett Pooh on tape when he was little, and we still quote it now in our attempts at an Alan Bennett voice 😉😉 It’s one of my best companions on a night of insomnia - similarly the Sir Michael Hordern Wind in the Willows.

    Tom’s Midnight Garden makes me cry every time I reread it. It’s the mark of a true storyteller if you can still enjoy their work no matter what age you are!

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