The best audiobooks for kids of all ages

Children's audiobooks bring to life adventures that the whole family can embark on together and encourage reluctant readers into fictional worlds. They can also keep little ones entertained for hours on long car journeys . . . so here’s our edit of the best of them.

14/07/2021
6 minutes to read

Audiobooks offer a unique sense of escapism for any age – adults included – but for kids, they offer a special kind of magic.

Helping younger children to develop listening skills and concentration, audiobooks immerse them in a world of their own imagination with music and sound effects to make the stories even more magical. For older children, however, they offer reluctant readers a new way to discover the wonder of fiction and budding bookworms even more opportunities to surround themselves in stories.

Read on for our list of the best audiobooks for children of all ages.

The best audiobooks for kids aged 3-5

The Hospital Dog

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for 9781529037067

Read by Floella Benjamin

Join detective dog Nell as she solves the mystery of the missing books in this bestselling kids audiobook by Julia Donaldson, read by Playschool presenter and children’s author Floella Benjamin. With a fun rhyming story, The Detective Dog is guaranteed to become a firm favourite for children of all ages.


The Gruffalo

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for 9781529037791

Read by Imelda Staunton

Have you met the Gruffalo? With his terrible tusks and terrible claws? Join the quick-witted mouse as he takes a stroll through the deep dark wood and avoids being a meal for a fox, an owl, a snake and even the Gruffalo! The Gruffalo is an undisputed modern classic with gentle rhyming words that will improve your child's phonetic skills. This much-loved book will be asked for at bedtime again and again.


Favourite Stories

by Campbell Books

Book cover for 9781509881482

Read by Floella Benjamin

This delightful collection of ten fairy tales is read by Playschool presenter Floella Benjamin and features added sound effects and music for extra fun. All your favourite stories are here, from The Princess and the Pea to Snow White. This collection is perfect for keeping younger children entertained in the car or at home.


Bedtime Stories and Lullabies Audio

by Campbell Books

Book cover for 9781509882533

Read by Derek Griffiths and Katy Ashworth

Full of stories, lullabies and rhymes, this CD is perfect for getting sleepy little ones to settle down in bed. From much-loved fairy tales like Sleeping Beauty and Thumbelina to calming songs, this is a must-have for any parents of young children.

What the Ladybird Heard at the Seaside

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for 9781529023145

The adventure continues for the little ladybird in Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks's much-loved children's picture book series. The clever little ladybird is off for a day out at the beach, but those two bad men, Lanky Len and Hefty Hugh, are up to no good again. Join the ladybird as she meets a cast of sea creatures and stops Lanky Len and Hefty Hugh from getting up to their usual tricks. Animal-mad little ones will love spotting the story’s seaside inhabitants in this glittery seaside adventure.


The best audiobooks for kids aged 6-8

Wild Child

by Dara McAnulty

Book cover for 9781529045338

Award-winning naturalist and activist Dara McAnulty invites readers to take a walk on the wild side. Dara himself narrates to a lush backdrop of nature sounds, from babbling water to soaring bird song. He explores different habitats, tells readers how to spot a rich variety of birds, plants and animals, demystifies the categorization of animals and explains amazing happenings such as metamorphoses and migration.


The 13-Storey Treehouse

by Andy Griffiths

Book cover for 9781509865574

Read by Stig Wemyss

The first in Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton’s hugely popular Treehouse series, The 13-Storey Treehouse is a laugh-out-loud story about Andy and Terry’s wacky treehouse adventures. The friends live in the world’s best treehouse, with a secret lab, giant catapult and a marshmallow machine! The first book in this hilarious series is sure to leave even the most reluctant readers wanting more.


How to Be a Hero

by Cat Weldon

Book cover for 9781529063066

Read by Saffron Coomber

Fans of How to Train Your Dragon and Who Let the Gods Out will adore this hilarious audiobook for kids aged 6 to 8, read by Tracey Beaker Returns star Saffron Coombes. When Lotta mistakes unconscious Viking thief Whetstone for a fallen hero, she takes him triumphantly back to Valhalla. Lotta is desperate to cover up her mistake,  and Whetstone has a mistake of his own to fix, so the two embark on a quarrelsome journey to regain their heroic status. When Loki the trickster God gets involved, can Whetstone prove he really is a hero?


Into the Jungle

by Katherine Rundell

Book cover for 9781529015096

Read by Nicole Arumugam

Katherine Rundell takes Rudyard Kipling’s classic tale The Jungle Book as the basis for these enchanting new stories about the early years of Kipling’s much-loved characters, from Baloo to Shere Khan. As Mowgli travels through the jungle, each short story comes together as a whole in this atmospheric reading by Nicole Arumugam. This audiobook is one all the family will enjoy listening to.


The best audiobooks for kids aged 9-12

You Are A Champion: How to Be the Best You Can Be

by Marcus Rashford

Book cover for 9781529073294

Star footballer and poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford was once just an ordinary kid from Wythenshawe, South Manchester. Here Marcus shares his tips for how to be the best you can be, and how to reach your ultimate potential. From moving outside your comfort zone to daring to dream, Marcus has much thoughtful, positive and practical advice to share with young readers. 


Noah's Gold

by Frank Cottrell-Boyce

Book cover for 9781529048292

Full of adventure and comic moments, this is the latest novel from multi-award-winning author Frank Cottrell-Boyce. Eleven-year-old Noah sneaks along to his sister's geography field trip. Chaos ensues, as the teacher disappears and six kids are left on an island to fend for themselves. Disaster looms, till Noah discovers a map and they begin a  hunting for gold . . .


Rumaysa: A Fairytale

by Radiya Hafiza

Book cover for 9781529082395

Weaving together the well-known stories of Rapunzel, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, this modern retelling offers a fresh new perspective on three classic fairytales. Locked away in a tower for her whole life by an evil witch, Rumaysa has no idea what lies outside, until one day, she lowers her hijab out of the window and escapes to freedom. As funny as it is escapist, this debut novel will be loved by fans of young adult fiction as well as readers who enjoy retellings of classic stories. 


Vega Jane and the Secrets of Sorcery

by David Baldacci

Book cover for 9781529066548

Read by Katy Sobey

The first audiobook in the Vega Jane series is a fast-paced adventure full of thrills, mystery and danger. Vega Jane is fourteen when she is secretly given a map that reveals a mysterious world and dangerous creatures beyond the walls of Wormwood, a place no one has ever left – or wanted to.  The map makes her question everything she thought she knew about her home, and, with the help of her friend Dewlph and her dog Harry Two, she's determined to fight for freedom and find the truth. 


The Umbrella Mouse

by Anna Fargher

Book cover for 9781529030600

Read by Katherine Press

This timeless tale of courage is a heart-stopping adventure based on the true stories of animals caught in the conflict of WWII. Pip Hanway is a young mouse who lives in James Smith & Sons, an umbrella shop in London. Her life is turned upside down when her home is destroyed by a bomb. Searching for a new home, she joins Noah's Ark, a band of animals fighting with the resistance in France. 


The Highland Falcon Thief

by M. G. Leonard

Book cover for 9781529027976

Read by Jot Davies

Join Harrison Beck on a breathless train journey full of deceprtions, puzzles and clues to solve. Harrison is reluctantly traveling with his Uncle Nat on the last journey of the royal train The Highland Falcon. As the train heads towards Scotland, a precious brooch goes missing, and suspicions and accusations run high among the passengers. Can Harrison solve the mystery and catch the thief before the end of the line?


Runaway Robot

by Frank Cottrell-Boyce

Book cover for 9781529008371

Read by Ben Bailey Smith

This funny, heartwarming adventure from award-winning children’s author Frank Cottrell Boyce is about two best friends helping to put each other back together. Alfie finds a lot more than he bargained for when he visits Airport Lost Property – in the form of a giant robot called Eric! Eric is sure he’s the latest technology when he’s actually about to be consigned to the scrapheap. Can Alfie find a way to save Eric? Kids certainly won’t be arguing over what to listen to with this sweet, funny audiobook on hand.


The best audiobooks for kids aged 12+

Black and British: A short, essential history

by David Olusoga

Book cover for 9781529066968

Read by Ben Onwukwe

This new audiobook edition of award-winning historian and broadcaster David Olusoga’s Black and British is aimed at younger readers aged 12+. This is an essential introduction to 1800 years of the Black British history: from the Roman Africans who guarded Hadrian’s Wall right up to the present day.


Deeplight

by Frances Hardinge

Book cover for 9781529014723

Read by Joshua Akehurst

Deeplight is a mystical fantasy book from the author Sarah Perry described as ‘one of our finest storytellers’: Frances Hardinge. For centuries, the gods of the Undersea have ruled the islands of the Myriad through awe and terror. Sacrifices were hurled into the waters to appease them, and every boat was painted with pleading eyes to entreat their mercy. They were served, feared and adored. Then, thirty years ago, the gods rose up in madness and tore each other apart. Now, the gods are nothing but a collection of valuable scraps to be scavenged from the ocean and sold. But something is pulsing beneath the waves, calling to someone brave enough to retrieve it.


Fierce Fragile Hearts

by Sara Barnard

Book cover for 9781529017496

Read by Charlie Sanderson

This stunning novel from Sara Barnard, author of the bestselling Beautiful Broken Things is the perfect audiobook for older children to become absorbed in, and the twelve-hour running time means this will keep them entertained through a long journey and into the holidays. Two years after she hit rock bottom, Suzanne is rebuilding her life. But her two best friends, Caddy and Rosie, are about to leave for university. How will she cope with being the one left behind?


The Skylarks' War

by Hilary McKay

Book cover for 9781529015072

Read by Katherine Press

Audiobooks are a great way to relax and unwind before bed, and older children will love this beautiful story of a family growing up through the years of World War One. Clarry and her older brother Peter spend idyllic summers in Cornwall with their grandparents and cousin Rupert. But as boring, ordinary life resumes in September and the war looms closer, will everything change for the Skylarks?


Children of Blood and Bone

by Tomi Adeyemi

Book cover for 9781529000559

Read by Bahni Turpin

This award-winning audiobook read by Bahni Turpin provides a truly immersive experience for older children and teenagers. Zélie remembers when magic clans ruled Orïsha and her own Reaper mother had the ability to summon forth souls. But everything changed when the ruthless king called for all those with powers to be killed, and Zélie was left motherless as her people were left without hope. But now, she may have the chance to bring magic back, and bring down the monarchy . . .