Summer vacation is fast approaching and the planning has begun for summer road trips! One of our favorite ways as a family to keep ourselves occupied in the car is to read aloud some great books. Not only is it a fun way to hear a terrific story (and keep the kids from being bored), but if you alternate readers like we do, it’s great reading practice too! We have taken many road trips as a family. Many of the books below are ones we have read while racking up the miles, or we have at least read them together at home.
Over the years, we have read some great books together and wanted to share the list with you. So before you head out the door on your next road trip – whether 2 hours or 20, make sure you take a book or two along with you!
11 Best Read-Aloud Road Trip Books for Kids
Road Trip Books for Kids: The Mouse and the Motorcycle
When the ever-curious Ralph spots Keith’s red toy motorcycle, he vows to ride it. So when Keith leaves the bike unattended in his room one day, Ralph makes his move. But with all this freedom (and speed!) come a lot of obstacles. Whether dodging a rowdy terrier or keeping his nosy cousins away from his new wheels, Ralph has a lot going on! With a pal like Keith always looking out for him, there’s nothing this little mouse can’t handle.
Texas TravelingMom’s Tip: Beverly Cleary is a wonderful children’s author and has such fantastical stories for kids. The Mouse and the Motorcycle will keep kids of all ages entertain with Ralph’s adventures. It’s also a short enough tale to keep even the youngest listeners’ attention. Ages 4+
Road Trip Books for Kids: Charlotte’s Web
Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte’s Web, high up in Zuckerman’s barn. Charlotte’s spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur’s life when he was born the runt of his litter.
Texas TravelingMom Tip: This classic tale touches the heart of every child…and their mom. We could read this one over and over! So many underlying themes to Charlotte’s Web, that it will provoke some great conversation with everyone in the group. Ages 4+
Road Trip Books for Kids: Superfudge
Farley Drexel Hatcher—otherwise known as Fudge—thinks he’s a superhero, but his older brother, Peter, knows Fudge is nothing but a big pain! Dealing with Fudge is hard enough, but now Peter’s parents have decided to move to New Jersey for an entire year! Even worse, Peter’s mom is going to have a new baby. And if this baby is anything like Fudge—help! How will Peter ever survive?
Texas TravelingMom Tip: Out of several of Judy Blume’s books about this annoying little brother, Superfudge was always our favorite. It’s laugh out loud fun, especially for any younger siblings. Ages 5+
Road Trip Books for Kids: The Indian in the Cupboard
It’s Omri’s birthday, but all he gets from his best friend, Patrick, is a little plastic Indian brave. Trying to hide his disappointment, Omri puts the Indian in a metal cupboard and locks the door with a mysterious skeleton key that once belonged to his great-grandmother. Little does Omri know that by turning the key, he will transform his ordinary plastic Indian into a real live man from an altogether different time and place! Omri and the tiny warrior called Little Bear could hardly be more different, yet soon the two forge a very special friendship. Will Omri be able to keep Little Bear without anyone finding out and taking his precious Indian from him?
Texas TravelingMom Tip: This magical story kept us on the edge of our seats the whole ride. It’s a great dip into imagination, to think of your toys coming to life! There are several folow-up books where the story continues. My boys were a bit more interested in these books than my daughter. Ages 5+
Road Trip Books for Kids: Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone
Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That’s because he’s being raised by his miserable aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he’s really a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny.
Texas TravelingMom Tip: One summer, my children and I read all seven of the Harry Potter books. It’s a fantastic book to read aloud for all ages. Even if you have seen the movies and read the books before, these books never grow old. It’s a great series to read for the whole family – mom & dad included! Ages 5+
Road Trip Books for Kids: Kingdom Keepers
In book one, five young teens tapped as models for theme park “guides” find themselves pitted against Disney villains and witches that threaten both the future of Walt Disney World and the stability of the world outside its walls. Using a cutting-edge technology called DHI–which stands for both Disney Host Interactive and Daylight Hologram Imaging–Finn Whitman, an Orlando teen, and four other kids are transformed into hologram projections that guide guests through the park. The new technology turns out, however, to have unexpected effects that are both thrilling and scary. Soon Finn finds himself transported in his DHI form into the Magic Kingdom at night. Is it real? Is he dreaming?
Texas TravelingMom Tip: We picked these books up years ago as we are big fans of anything Disney and were intrigued by the idea that the Magic Kingdom comes to life after dark. These stories can be a bit dark, which is why I suggest that you wait until your children are a bit older to read them. But for every Disney fan, this series is a wonderful twist on the ‘Happiest Place on Earth.” Ages 8+
Road Trip Books for Kids: The Lightning Thief
After getting expelled from yet another school for yet another clash with mythological monsters only he can see, twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is taken to Camp Half-Blood, where he finally learns the truth about his unique abilities: He is a demigod, half human, half immortal. Even more stunning: His father is the Greek god Poseidon, ruler of the sea, making Percy one of the most powerful demigods alive. There’s little time to process this news. All too soon, a cryptic prophecy from the Oracle sends Percy on his first quest, a mission to the Underworld to prevent a war among the gods of Olympus.
Texas TravelingMom Tip: We caught the Percy Jackson series before the movies came out and were hooked. Where as Harry Potter deals with magic, Percy Jackson fights with mythical creatures – both heroes in a sense and fantastic story-telling. The first book in this best-selling series, it makes for a great summer road-trip read. Even if you have seen the movie, do not pass up this book. Ages 10+
Road Trip Books for Kids: Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe
Four adventurous siblings—Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie—step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice.
Texas TravelingMom Tip: These C.S. Lewis classics are great books for tweens. Book two of the Chronicles of Narnia series, my children completely related to the story. There are several versions of the story to read to all ages, but we preferred the original. The story is a bit complex, so we recommend it for the older ages. Ages 10+
Road Trip Books for Kids: Wonder
August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.
Texas TravelingMom Tip: This is a fantastic book that even adults need to read. Not only is this a great book, it opens the door for fantastic conversations with your children about social acceptance and grace. Ages 10+
Road Trip Books for Kids: Out of My Mind
Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory and she remembers every detail of everything she has ever experienced. Smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her, she is also smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom. The very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged, because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she’s determined to let everyone know it…somehow.
Texas TravelingMom Tip: This is a fantastic book for everyone one in the family to read. Another great story that starts up great conversations with your children. Ages 10+
Road Trip Books for Kids: The Hunger Games
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games,” a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed.
Texas TravelingMom Tip: The Hunger Games is on of a trilogy of fantastic books, but definitely for a mature audience, as death is a central theme. Movies have been made,but we always think the books are better, which is why we recommend reading this series. Ages 12+
What road trip books have you read & recommend? Check out more road trip tips & fun with Six Tips for Road Tripping with Teens and Tweens and 7 of the Most Entertaining Road Trip Games for Families
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