Chances are if you’re planning a road trip with the family one of your top priorities is finding ways to keep the kids occupied. Afterall, what parent wants to hear “are we there yet?” and “I’m bored” for eight hours straight?
While their electronic devices can be great time-wasters, for parents who want to limit their child’s screen time, paper-and-ink books can be a great option.
That’s why we’ve rounded up seven of the best kids books, aimed at kids seven to 13 years old. And if your child gets car sick, don’t worry. Many of the books we’ve selected are available as audio books.
Listen: Kids too little to read? Pop on The Beanies for them to listen to.
The Wings of Fire series. ($9.95 – $19.95 each)
by Tui T. Sutherland
Sitting just behind Harry Potter on the New York Times bestseller list for children's serials is the Wings Of Fire book series. The kids books follow a group of young dragons in a world where dragon tribes are warring and are suitable for girls and boys aged eight and up. These adventure books are perfect for a long drive as your child can get lost in a world of magic, devouring one book after the other. There are 10 books in the series so far, the first being The Dragonet Prophecy. You can buy a box set of the first five books here or access them as audiobooks via Audible.
Frankie Fish and The Sonic Suitcase ($12.50)
By Peter Helliar
While we've been laughing away at his comedy shows and The Project one-liners, comedian Peter Helliar has been writing a kids book - Frankie Fish and The Sonic Suitcase. Set to be the first in a series of adventure kids books, the story is aimed at children aged eight and up and follows Frankie, who has just discovered his Grandad has built a time machine and erased almost his entire family.
Nim's Island ($10.50)
By Wendy Orr
If this kids adventure book sounds familiar, it might be because it was turned into a film starring Abigail Breslin is 2008. It's a rollicking read perfect for seven to 10-year-olds about a girl who lives with her scientist dad on their own island, available here. Nim's Island is also available on audio book on platforms like Audible or here for $12.50.
The Magic Faraway Tree. ($16.75)
By Enid Blyton
If you haven't already introduced your children to the magical world of Enid Blyton, do yourself - and your kids - a favour and go out to your nearest bookstore to get aquainted. The Magic Faraway Tree is perhaps the beloved British author's best known book, but she's also the author of The Enchanted Wood and Folk of the Faraway Tree, (get all three books in one here) as well as The Wishing Chair series, which takes place in a different, but equally enchanting world. Children aged five (with a little help from older siblings) and up will love these delightful and timeless classics.
The One and Only Ivan ($12.50)
By Katherine Applegate
Ivan is an artist - and a gorilla. The story is told from his perspective as a jungle animal living in a mall and video arcade, who has an elephant and a stray dog as friends. The story kicks off when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family. The One and Only Ivan is ideal for your animal-loving children aged nine to 12 years old. You can also find it as an audio book on Audible.
The Isle of The Lost ($14.90)
By Melissa de la Cruz
We can't go past kids books without recommending the Disney phenomenon that is the Descendants series. The books follow a group of teenaged descendants of classic villains who've been stripped of the powers and banished to an isle. So far there are two books available (The Isle of the Lost and Return to The Isle of the Lost), with the third in the series (The Rise of the Isle of The Lost) available from 18 August 2017. These books are great for girls and boys aged eight to 13 years old.