Read Aloud Books to Read on a Road Trip with Kids
Welcome to part 3 of Road Trips with Kids – Unplugged! You will find a ton of great books to read aloud on your next road trip with kids.
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Read aloud books are one of the best ways to pass the time on a road trip. We’ve always encouraged our girls to bring books along that they were interested in and would take some time to read, but I also packed along several books to read aloud.
We often traveled to Yellowstone National Park and our family has always had an interest in the Oregon Trail and Native American history in the West. So, we read a lot of books in this genre. Reading books aloud is often something that gets overlooked at home when everyone is busy, but with hours of road time in the car on vacation, you will have lots of time to enjoy reading aloud.
When I was young, my mom read tons of books aloud to us on family road trips. My brothers and I can still remember which books we read aloud on specific vacations and where we were sitting around the fire during a particular book. Reading books and stories aloud provides the backdrop for family memories. The shared experiences of a story bond you together.
Some of the best places to find great read aloud storybooks are at National Park or museum gift shops. Their books aren’t usually on sale, but you will likely find books you’ve never seen or heard of which can lead you to great authors who have written other great books.
Another great resource is your local library. Make friends with the children’s librarian and ask about books on certain topics. They can provide you with a great list of suggestions depending upon the interests of your children and family. They may also have a list already prepared with books to read while on vacation.
Reading books aloud provides opportunities to fill your child’s imagination with visions of history, creativity, a love of reading, and adventure. When you are getting ready for your road trip, look for books that will go along with the parts of the country you are driving through or your destination.
This allows your family to learn about the area you are traveling through and provides opportunities for you to explain or add additional context to historical settings, folklore, and phrases that may be unknown to your children.
Look for historical sites along the way that could create a short break while also providing a learning opportunity. This provides an extra layer of richness to the trip when you can combine a story with a place and create an experience. That’s what memories are made of!
For example, if you are driving across the mid-west reading Little House on the Prairie books and then are able to stop at one of the historical sites, this brings geography, history, and your child into one place at the same time. This makes the books you read while on vacation more meaningful for the whole family.
My girls are in college now, but when I asked them which books they would recommend, they helped compile this list from their favorites.
Nature Story Books to Read Aloud While on Vacation
Nature storybooks are great books to read aloud to your kids whether you are on a road trip or at home! The books in this section are all about animals.
Sam Campbell Books – These are simple stories of a man and woman who have a cabin on an island in upper Wisconsin. Each of these books is filled with true stories of all their animal friends and their escapades. These books are by far the top of our list! Full of escapades of squirrels, skunks, raccoons, and deer.
Joe Wheeler – The Good Lord Made Them All Series
Animal Ark Series – Your public library probably has the entire series of this set. These are easier reader chapter books that your child can begin to read to themselves.
Pony Pals Series – Another set of chapter books that your younger readers will enjoy reading to themselves. As the title suggests, these stories revolve around different horses and the kids that work with them.
Homesteading/Oregon Trail to Read While Traveling or Camping
Whenever you are going on a road trip with kids, you will likely pass some historic landmarks. These are some of our favorite historical books to read aloud to kids on a road trip. They are great to read while traveling or camping along Oregon Trail routes or through parts of the country where people had moved “west” to homestead.
Betsy-Tacy – These sweet stories share the adventures of two little girls who are best friends. Set in a simple setting with much of the same simple living theme as Little House on the Prairie. There are several books in the series and they are fast and fun to read aloud! They are written at an easy reading level, so your child may be able to read these books by themself as well.
Little House on the Prairie – No list of read-aloud books would be complete without this delightful series of a homesteading family. You may have already read these books to your kids, but if you are traveling close to any of the locations in the books, they are well worth the read again. Reading these books aloud also allows you to talk to your children about the historical perspective of Native Americans and help them understand some of the issues surrounding those perspectives.
Caddie Woodlawn – Caddie Woodlawn is a girl who’s story is just a few years later than Laura and Mary in Little House in the Big Woods and actually lived a few miles away from the Ingall’s family in Wisconsin. There is still a historic house in Pepin, Wisconsin where Caddie and her family lived.
Ralph Moody – Little Britches Series – These fun stories are about a boy growing up on his family ranch in Colorado in the early 1900s. Joy, tears, and life on the American frontier where kids have to work hard to help their parents on their farms.
Kristiana Gregory – Prairie River Series – This series is about an orphan girl who makes her way to Kansas to make a new life for herself. We really enjoyed this series as were driving across the Midwest.
Lois Walfrid Johnson – Adventures of the Northwoods Series – This was another one of our very favorite series. Each book is a mystery that three friends are trying to solve in the early 1900s in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Great historical references and exciting stories. There are intrigue and mystery to solve in each story.
Lois Walfrid Johnson – Riverboat Adventures Series – This adventure series is similar to the Northwoods series only these stories are about children who are helping with the underground railroad. Another set of really exciting stories. More mysteries and puzzles to solve.
Christian Historical Fiction Books to Read Aloud
Christian historical fiction books can add a great variety to the books you read aloud to your kids on a road trip. Filled with messages of hope, they also include the historical perspectives and locations of places you may be traveling.
Of course, you can expand your horizons and read about missionaries in Africa while driving through Kansas and not just about the places you are traveling to.
Reading Christian historical fiction books out loud to your kids on a road trip provides a captive audience for the stories you select. Choose books that will build character and provide opportunities to struggle through difficult situations with the characters in the stories.
Louise Vernon has written many books about Christian history. She has written the stories about children but around historical events that affected groups such as the Waldensians, the first printed Bible, Martin Luther, Menno Simons the founder of the Mennonites, and many more.
Robert Elmer – The Young Underground Series – This story was inspired by the author’s parents who were born in Denmark and lived through the German occupation.
Trailblazer Books by Dave and Neta Jackson – This series is quite large and each book has a child or several fictional children who are part of a historical Christian story of well-known Christians. Some of the people include Amy Carmichael, Martin Luther, Tyndale, Hudson Taylor, William Booth, and many others. There is some suspense and intrigue which makes you want to keep reading.
Mission Story Books – Here are a few of our very favorite mission storybooks.
Native American Stories to Read Aloud While Traveling
Our family loves Native American history, culture, and traditions. Much of this love and interest has come from many vacation destinations as well as the books we read aloud to the kids on our road trips. Reading some of these books, inspired us to visit museums, historic landmarks, and cultural centers to learn more.
Ken Thomasma books – These books are great for learning about different tribes and areas where Native Americans lived. Each book is about a child in a different tribe and region of the US. We were introduced to Ken’s books at a visitor center store in Teton National Park. These books are great for younger children as they have some intrigue but they aren’t scary.
American Girl – Kaya series – This series is about a girl named Kaya who is Nez Perce. Even though they are produced by American Girl, they are still very interesting stories for all kids – not just girls. Lots of history and details. Easier reading level so your child may be able to read these books alone.
Christian Story Books to Read Aloud to your Kids
Choosing some Christian storybooks to read aloud on a road trip with kids can provide opportunities to talk about Christian morals and decisions as you are reading the stories. Sometimes, you will have the ability to have deep conversations about matters of the heart when reading these types of stories to your kids.
Guide’s Greatest Series – The books in this series are filled with true stories that will encourage lots of great conversations with your kids. Tons of answers to prayer, angel stories, miracles, and many more. These stories were originally printed in church paper for kids and have been compiled into this awesome series!
Joe Wheeler – Great Stories Remembered – The stories in these books are timeless. Also filled with true stories from today and yesterday, they are stories that the whole family will enjoy. They include stories of loss, triumph, grief, and answers to prayer.
Fun books For Kids to Look at on a Road Trip:
The following books are amazing time fillers to read while traveling. They aren’t so much reading as they are looking at pictures and finding things, finding differences, or searching for clues. These are great books to read while on vacation. You can find books in each category below in many themes such as places, locations, types of activities, and more.
Seek and Find Books Lots of hidden things in each picture. These books provide hours of entertainment while the kids are trying to find the hidden pictures.
Where’s Waldo This classic series has a boy named Waldo, who is hiding in many busy pictures. As your child tries to find Waldo, they will also see tons of other little details in each picture.
Seeking Sammy Sammy is a lost sheep. Similar to the Waldo series, Sammy is hiding in lots of Biblical places.
Richard Scarry These books are filled with a fun little cat, worm, pig, and other animal characters doing what people do in cities, parks, airports, and train stations, etc. Lots of fun things going on in each picture. These books are great for younger kids who don’t have the attention span for trying to find Waldo quite yet.
Hidden Picture Books These pictures have things hiding in them but they are disguised in the pictures. They have a list of the items hiding in the picture and these books can occupy hours of quiet time for the kids in the car, plane, doctor’s office, or anywhere else!
Spot the Different Books The pictures in these books have two pictures that look identical, but you have to try to find the things that are different in the two pictures. Great for older kids or kids who really enjoy seeking.
This list is certainly not exhaustive! Once you find a few good books to read aloud on a road trip, it is easier to find the next ones that will hold your family’s interest. Add some books to your shopping cart right now and order them so you are ready for your next road trip!
When you start a series, be prepared for your kids to beg for the next book! Plan ahead and make sure you have the whole series before you begin reading aloud.
Be sure to Pin this for reference later so you can come back to this list.
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59 thoughts on “Read Aloud Books For a Road Trip with Kids”
This post has some great ideas. Just the other day I was in the library and we couldn’t find an audio book that I thought the kids would like. I started thinking about reading aloud to them as we drove and being my own audio book.
Love all of the adventure book ideas. Saving for our road trips this summer. I love sharing literature as a family as we drive. Thanks for sharing.
Oh you are welcome. We have spent many years reading aloud! So many good books! Yes, road trips are a great way to share literature or other educational material along the way.
Love all of these great suggestions for read alouds! We typically listen to audio books (we love the collections of kids books from Audible – the Ramona collection, the Mouse and the Motorcycles collection, etc.) But there’s definitely benefit in reading aloud too!
Yes, audio books really help to pass the time when momma’s voice is gone from reading so many hours! 🙂 Or when it’s a curvy road!
I am hoping to go on a nice long roadtrip this year with my daughter. You have some fantastic recommendations here. I really love the Where’s Waldo series. Perfect for roadtrips!
Oh, I hope your road trip is phenomenal! I love the hours of talking, sharing stories and just being together than doesn’t happen at home.
Reading (and books on tape or podcasts) are our favorite ways to pass time during a road trip, too! It’s funny that we’ve read (and loved!) every book in your homesteading category and NONE of the others. So I’m grateful for some more great suggestions! We’ll be checking these out!
Oh, great minds think alike! 🙂 Hope you enjoy the others as well.
These are all great book ideas! We take Noah on road trips pretty often to visit family back in Idaho so we are always looking for new books and games to play
Sounds like fun! I used to live in Idaho when I was a kid.
Love your suggestions! We are planning a road trip to Yellowstone so I want to stock up on nature books and have a Roosevelt’s nature journal to read as well. I just hate that I can’t read in the car without getting sick! It’s much more of a struggle to find good books on audio and then miss out on the pictures! Thanks!
Ohhh, we LOVE Yellowstone and the Tetons. The visitor’s centers have the best books! If you haven’t been there before, be sure to spend time in the visitor’s centers. Each one is different and they have lots of great information, displays and BOOKS! 🙂
I’ll have to try this with my daughter next time we take a road trip. My only problem with reading is that I get car sick from it. Maybe we can try an audio!
I hear you with being car sick. I am only able to read on the freeway but our road trips were usually cross-country so I had lots of straight roads.
When my kids were young, they were avid readers. Family vacations always included books or listening to a book on tape. Many of the ones you listed were ones my kids enjoyed.
Sounds like we have similar tastes in books! 🙂
These are great! Good resource. I traveled a LOT as a kid and we always listened to stories on tape. I still remember them. It would have been nice to have more variety like this though!
Stories make the time go by so much more quickly too.
Little House on the Prairie was my favorite growing up! Reading on trips is a must for our family too! It’s a great way to pass the time as you ride on a long road trip.
This is actually helpful, thanks.
This is such a good idea to read in the car. Take advantage of the time together!
Absolutely! As moms, we have to take advantage of each opportunity we have as our children are growing up!
This is so great Karen! I didn’t realize other books had come out similar to the Laura Ingall’s books. And that Caddie Woodlawn only lived a few miles from where the Ingall’s home was in Wisconsin. I especially would love to read that one myself haha. I know I’m probably too grown to still love these books but I do! My daughter homeschools and our g-babies love Laura Ingall’s books. I will have to tell her about this too! Thank you for this wonderful post! I am now also interested in visiting the Oregon Trail. I LOVE historical sites … ❤
Thanks for the research and thought you put into this post. It is so wonderful to read to our children. There is so much time on road trips and I love reading instead of each person zoning out on their own!
Yes! Reading aloud makes it so that everyone is experiencing the same thing together instead of on their own device!
Our children are grown but just the other day my daughter asked me if I remembered when I used to read aloud to them the Elsie Dinsmore series. Reading aloud truly does make memories with our children. Great list of recommendations!
Somehow we missed the Elsie Dinsmore series, although I have seen it. That’s so neat that your daughter remembers the books you read to her!
Such great selections here! When my kids were little, we LOVED our read alouds together. I truly think it is what helped develop them into such avid readers. Thanks for writing this!
I’m sure that your reading aloud had a great impact on encouraging your kids to become avid readers. You modeled a love of reading to them.
I love reading out loud. As empty nesters, we read the Bible and devotions out loud. I have countless fond memories of reading a variety of books out loud to our daughter. Great selection you provided, thank you.
I love that you are still reading aloud to each other! That’s wonderful. What a beautiful example to your daughter.
Great ideas for a road trip. You have to pass the hours somehow and reading is a great way to pass the time and learn a few things. I always loved reading in the car when we traveled when I was younger. Good luck on your road trip!
You are absolutely right! So much to learn while you are reading. We loved connecting our reading aloud with the locations and destinations that we were going to.
Hi! Thank you so much for writing a blog on reading aloud to children. I loved when my mom used to read to me when I was little. I’m so happy that you mentioned the American Girl series, I loved those books!
Oh, I’m so glad you have happy memories of your mom reading aloud to you! So many wonderful books to read! The American Girl series was a real favorite in our family!
I always take a book with me when I’m traveling. But thinking about reading while traveling is a whole different story. My car needs to be stopped and I need to read in a quiet non moving location. But reading during your downtime is really what vacation is all about. Taking a break. And I love teaching that to our children.
You’re right Wendy. You don’t just have to read in a moving car to create memories! I found that it got easier to read aloud in the car as I did it. I get car sick easily, but the more I read in the car, the better I felt while reading. I also only read alound on the freeway and not curvy roads! 🙂
I love this idea! Personally I can’t read whilst travelling as I get motion sickness so audiobook versions would work well for us. Love the book suggestions
Audiobooks are great! Saves your voice as well. Motion sickness is a bummer on road trips!
This is a great list! Reading out loud while on a trip is so memorable, fun and educational for kids. Thanks for sharing you’re recommendations ?
What a lovely reading list! A really useful post!
I have so many memories of being on long car trips as a kid and my mom would pop a cassette in the tape player and it would have a book that you followed along with. This post just brought those times back. I will have to look into some of these for my kids! I think they would really enjoy them!
I’m sure your kids will love this! Those cassette tape stories were the best weren’t they? 🙂
This is a really great list you can read at home or on the go. Thank you for putting this together. Blessings, Joni
You are most welcome, Joni.
My family hasn’t gone on a family road trip yet, but I can picture it…Are we there yet???
This is a good list of books that will help to make the trip alot easier
I absolutely love this list! Unfortunately, I get sick in the car if I read but we definitely listen to audio books and podcasts when on long road trips. We are big campers so we love going to national parks and exploring the western US. Thanks for these amazing suggestions!!!
You can always read aloud around the campfire or in the tent at night! It doesn’t only have to be in the car. 🙂
I was just talking with some friends about how our parents would read aloud to us on long drives when we were younger. Special memories that we need to create for our kids! I’m excited about all the links you’ve provided.
Yes! Keep those great memories alive for another generation! 🙂
I’m so glad this list was helpful! Happy reading!
I think I’ve gone about this the wrong way. I keep trying to find things for them to read, but never once thought about reading aloud! What great family memories!
Jessie, I’ve found that when you read aloud to your kids, it helps them see you model a love of reading and then encourages them to want to copy that. It’s so much fun to experience the story together too! 🙂 Happy reading!
Thank you for recommending all these wonderful books. Growing up, I never had a book read to me at all, much less on a road trip but I like the idea.
It’s not too late! 🙂
The Christian historical books really caught my eye. This is so much better than watching videos while on vacation!
I agree very much. We never did watch videos in the car on our road trips and somehow we all survived! 🙂
Traveling with books is a must. We usually have a basket full.
Awesome! I don’t think we’ve ever traveled and come home to say “we took too many books along!” 🙂