We are definitely a family of readers, and we shared some of our favorite travel reads with you before. The great thing about reading is that it can take you to far off places in your imagination, it can inspire you to visit places in real life, and it can entertain you while you travel.
Audiobooks and roadtrips are perfect fer each other!
As a reading traditionalist, it is hard for me to leave behind my physical books and go digital while traveling, so I am coming a little late to the audiobook party. People have told me time and again about the joys of listening to audiobooks as a family, so as we watched the first episode of “The Great American Read” on PBS this summer, I thought, “what better way for this family to experience these amazing books than while we are driving for hours on end this summer during our Colorado National Parks road trip?” Needless to say, the audiobook experience turned out even better than I expected!
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The Great American Read – 100 books for the whole family
Below are all 100 books on the list. Just click the book cover to read more on Amazon.
A few of our favorite books from our road trips this year
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (because what else?)
First on the list for us had to be Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The kids both read this book at pretty young ages, so I knew they could benefit from a reread. But, my ulterior motive for this choice was to get the lone holdout (ahem, Carrick) to FINALLY read it.
You might have noticed that we’re a little Harry Potter obsessed around here, so it may come as a surprise that in spite of the constant hounding, Carrick had not read it. (We literally went to London in 2017 just to explore more Harry Potter at the British Library). As one of the 100 Great American Read titles, this was a no brainer for our family’s first road trip audiobook. Little did I know that this audiobook would be a gateway to wonderful conversations, family bonding, and further reading.
Harry Potter hooked the kids on the audiobook concept right away. They were reminded of things they forgot from their first time reading it, and it introduced them to some of the more subtle bits that went over their heads when they were little. They were completely engaged with the audio version, and often preferred to listen to the book rather than play video games.
Oh, and our lone holdout liked it too.
J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit
After Harry Potter, we thought we’d give something a little meatier a try. The Hobbit has been on my personal reading list for a long time, but knowing how long it is and how much world building Tolkien does, I had been hesitant to start it. I knew we would like it though, and what else did we have to do as we covered endless miles of road, right?
The first chapter was pretty rough for all of us though. The kids had a hard time following the story, and I thought our audiobook days were over. However, I was so wrong! We took breaks from listening and helped the kids summarize what we had just heard, and by the time Bilbo left his hobbit hole to start his adventure, we were all hooked. The kids begged to turn it on and listen, and they even spent an entire meal discussing what they had read. Talk about making a librarian happy!
Since we couldn’t finish the whole book on the road, we spent several evenings at home listening to the rest of it. And, now Andrew has moved on to reading the physical copies of The Lord of the Rings. I would say this family loves audiobooks now, as well as the Great American Read. Thanks to PBS, we’ve all been inspired to read more and in a variety of ways.
What Great American Reads has your family read together?
On Tuesday October 23rd, PBS presents its Great American Read finale where they’ll reveal America’s favorite book. Tune in to your local PBS station or watch it later on your streaming device with the PBS Anywhere app. (We watch on our FireTV).
Tell us in the comments – what’s your favorite book?
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