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Shake up your Summer Reading Challenge with our top children's CD and digital audiobooks

Written by · Published Jul 26, 2019

Five Children and It, The Light Jar

Did you know that audiobooks count towards the Summer Reading Challenge? Whether you’ve got a reluctant reader or are off on a road trip, we’ve got something for everyone.

CD audiobooks

Amelia Fang and the Memory Thief, by Laura Ellen Anderson, read by Zoe Thorne

“Amelia and her friends are taking part in a competition to visit Pumpkin Paradise Park - the most bloodcurdingly brilliant theme park ever! All they have to do is sell as many cookies as possible. But the creatures of Nocturnia have begun to act very strangely…

“No one can seem to remember anything - including their own names or even Amelia’s big birthnight party! Where have everyone’s memories gone? And how can Amelia save them when they have all forgotten who she is?”

Dear Zoo and friends, by Rod Campbell, read by Dan Weyman

“Rod Campbell’s classic story has been a firm favourite with toddlers and parents alike ever since it was first published in 1982. Now you and your toddler can listen to a dramatised version of the story and sing along with the Dear Zoo Song. Young children will love discovering the animals the zoo has sent - a monkey, a lion and even an elephant! But will they ever manage to send the perfect pet?”

The Sue Hendra Collection, written and read by Sue Hendra

“Meet Barry, the fish with fingers, No-Bot, the robot with no bottom, and many more weird and wonderful characters in The Sue Hendra Collection.”

Matt Millz Stands Up!, written and read by Harry Hill

“Matt did it! His performance at the T Factor has given him the fame he dreamed of. Kitty is getting more gigs booked in with a whole new stable of comedic acts. Unfortunately, Matt hasn’t had time to come up with new jokes so it isn’t long before he is greeted with the worst heckle for a comedian: ‘heard it before!’.

“But when Kitty suggests he takes a break to work on his routine, Matt can’t stand to go back to his normal life. So he signs up with the stylish Excalibur Agency, brushing his concerns (and Kitty) aside. A life of celebrity awaits! But it doesn’t take long for the shine to wear off and when they try and force him on to his first Live At the Apollo, without any preparation and no new jokes, how can Matt save himself from the ultimate humiliation?”

The Skylarks’ War, by Hilary McKay, read by Katherine Press

“Clarry and her older brother Peter live for their summers in Cornwall, staying with their grandparents and running free with their charismatic cousin, Rupert. But normal life resumes each September - boarding school for Peter and Rupert, and a boring life for Clarry at home with her absent father, as the shadow of a terrible war looms ever closer.

“When Rupert goes off to fight at the front, Clarry feels their skylark summers are finally slipping away from them. Can their family survive this fearful war?”

School of Laughs, by James Patterson, read by Adam McArthur

“Even though he has a national contest trophy and a TV show under his belt, Jamie Grimm isn’t one to sit back and relax. When his school has a major funding crisis, Jamie hits on a bright idea to save the day - a comedy class for the other students. Little does he know that making jokes and teaching jokes are two very different things - and he’s only good at one of them.”

From Zero to Hero, by James Patterson, read by Michael Crouch

“After a mostly-successful stint at Hills Village Middle School, Rafe is excited to visit the incredible city of London with his class. Sightseeing around a foreign country sounds like a blast, until Rafe finds out his roommate will be none other than Miller the Killer, bully extraordinaire!

“Then Rafe is forced to work on a class project side by side with his crush Jeanne Galletta and her too-perfect boyfriend, which might be even more torturous than rooming with Miller. And it’s no surprise that Rafe’s bad luck follows him across the pond, putting him in one crazy situation after another – all under the watchful eye of his bad-tempered principal.

“Out of all of his adventures, this trip could prove to be Rafe’s most embarrassing yet, undoing everything good he has going for him back home!”

Biscuits, Bands and Very Big Plans, by Liz Pichon, read by Russell Tovey

“This story is VERY important because it contains BISCUITS, BANDS and all my (doodled) plans to make DogZombies the BEST band in the world.”

The Explorer, by Katherine Rundell, read by Peter Noble

“From his seat in the tiny aeroplane, Fred watches as the mysteries of the Amazon jungle pass by below him. He has always dreamed of becoming an explorer, of making history and of reading his name amongst the lists of great discoveries. If only he could land and look about him.

“As the plane crashes into the canopy, Fred is suddenly left without a choice. He and the three other children may be alive, but the jungle is a vast, untamed place. With no hope of rescue, the chance of getting home feels impossibly small. Except, it seems, someone has been there before them.”

The Boy Who Grew Dragons, by Andy Shepherd, read by Ewan Goddard

“When Tomas discovers a strange old tree at the bottom of his grandad’s garden, he doesn’t think much of it. But he takes the funny fruit from the tree back into the house - and gets the shock and delight of his life when a tiny dragon hatches! The tree is a dragonfruit tree, and Tomas has got his very own dragon, Flicker.

“Tomas soon finds out that life with Flicker is great fun, but also very unpredictable. Yes, dragons are wonderful, but they also set fire to your toothbrush and leave your pants hanging from the TV aerial. Tomas has to learn how to look after Flicker - and quickly. And then something extraordinary happens - more dragonfruits appear on the tree. Tomas is officially growing dragons.”

Flying Fergus Collection, written and read by Chris Hoy

“A collection of four stories from the fantastically fun, magical cycling adventure series, Flying Fergus. Four stories featuring Fergus - a boy with a big imagination and a very special bike…”

The Day I Was Erased, by Lisa Thompson, read by Ryan Ireland

“Eleven-year-old Maxwell is always, always in trouble. Roaming the town with his beloved pet dog Monster (who he rescued as a puppy from being run over) as a way to escape his parents’ constant sniping at home, he’s a menace to the neighbours and teachers at school.

“While visiting an elderly neighbour, Maxwell comes across a mysterious cabinet of curiosities and suddenly finds himself erased from his life: it’s as if he’s never existed. Able to walk around anonymously might be great at first - finally, no one is yelling at him! - but he soon realises that he misses his old life and, crucially, if he had never existed, then he wouldn’t have swooped in and stopped Monster the dog from being hit by that car.”

Kid Normal and the Shadow Machine, written and read by Chris Smith & Greg James

“After a dramatic jailbreak at a top secret prison, the planet’s most dangerous supervillains are on the loose! Luckily Murph Cooper and the Super Zeroes are on hand to chase them down.

“But though they manage to bring in a whole host of baddies, they can’t find their nemesis Magpie anywhere. Little do they know that he is close by, and he’s linked up with another old enemy. The super smarmy Nicholas Knox is back! Together, they’ve developed a dastardly machine that can give people superpowers! In the wrong hands it has the potential to bring about the end of the world of Heroes as we know it - and it just happens to be in the wrongest hands of all!”

The Midnight Hour, by Laura Trinder & Benjamin Read, read by Victoria Fox

“Emily longs to be ordinary, but when her parents disappear, she stumbles into the secret, spooky world of the Midnight Hour. There’s only one way she can rescue her parents: she must find the courage to embrace her magic.”

The Trouble with Perfect, by Helena Duggan, read by Sarah Ovens

“Having uncovered the secrets that lay behind the spookily pristine town of Perfect, Violet and the townsfolk are enjoying their new freedom from the maniacal rule of the evil Archer twins. But have they really seen the last of Edward Archer? Why is Boy acting strangely? And who is masterminding a scary zombie army?”

The Jam Doughnut That Ruined My Life, by Mark Lowery, read by David Thorpe

“Roman Garstang is obsessed with food - particularly Squidgy Splodge raspberry-jam doughnuts - but he is about to learn that things are not always as sugar-coated as they might seem. Because of his Monday-morning jam doughnut, Roman’s week takes a very sticky turn.

“By Friday Roman has been banned from eating for 24hrs, narrowly avoided a faceful of warm toddler-wee, accidentally shoplifted, been given a lift in a getaway van, styled his teacher’s guinea pig with a blue mohawk, started an OAP riot and still barely managed to scoff a crumb - or lick - of a single doughnut. Who knew jam could be so deadly?”

Twice Magic, by Cressida Cowell, read by David Tennant

“This was once the story of a young boy Wizard and a young girl Warrior who had been taught since birth to hate each other like poison. But now, the boy Wizard and girl Warrior have been brought together in the Badwoods and they have witnessed the shocking consequences of the Stone That Takes Away Magic. They will need to cast aside their differences once more - for an Evil Spell has broken free. It’s up to Xar and Wish to find the ingredients. But it means entering the Druids’ Castle unannounced.”

Head Kid, by David Baddiel, read by the author, Morwenna Banks & David Rintoul

“Bracket Wood is about to be visited by the school inspectors. But there’s one big problem: Ryan Ward. The maestro of practical jokes, Ryan has played so many tricks that in the end the Head Teacher just walks out.

“And then the new Head Teacher, Mr Carter, arrives. A man so strict even the teachers are scared of him. So imagine his surprise - and Ryan’s - when they swap bodies. Now Ryan is Head Teacher - and his mortal enemy is one of his pupils. It’s every naughty kid’s dream! But soon Bracket Wood School is in a total mess - and only its worst ever pupil can fix it.”

The Train to Impossible Places: a cursed delivery, by P. G. Bell, read by Helen Vine

“Suzy is surprised to find a grumpy troll building a railway through her house - especially when a gigantic steam train crashes into her hallway! This is the Impossible Postal Express, the trusty delivery service of the Union of Impossible Places, and Suzy becomes its newest recruit. And with her cursed first package, an Impossible adventure begins.”

Explorers on Witch Mountain, by Alex Bell, read by Dan Bottomley

“Stella Starflake Pearl is eagerly anticipating her next expedition. Suddenly disaster strikes when Stella’s father, Felix, is snatched by a fearsome witch. Stella must bring her magic ice princess tiara to Witch Mountain or she will never see Felix again! But no one ever returns from Witch Mountain.

“Stella, Ethan, Shay, Beanie and reluctant Jungle Cat explorer, Percival, set off into the unknown. They will face terrifying bat caves, poisonous apple groves, outraged vultures, argumentative mushrooms and deranged broomsticks in their quest to rescue Felix.”

Secrets of a Sun King, by Emma Carroll, read by Victoria Fox

“When Lilian finds a parcel on her grandad’s doorstep, she is shocked to see who sent it: a famous Egyptologist, found dead that very morning! The mysterious package holds the key to a story about a king whose tomb archaeologists are desperately hunting for. Lilian and her friends must embark on an incredible journey to return the package to its resting place, to protect those they love, and to break the deadly pharaoh’s curse.”

BorrowBox eAudiobooks

Set up BorrowBox →

Brightstorm: a sky-ship adventure, by Vashti Hardy, read by Ryan Ireland

“Twins Arthur and Maudie Brightstorm receive word in Lontown that their famous explorer father has died in a failed attempt to reach the southern-most point in the world. Not only that, but he has been accused of stealing fuel before he died!

“The twins don’t believe the news, and they answer an ad to join a new attempt to reach South Polaris. It’s their only hope of learning the truth… and salvaging their family’s reputation.

“As the winged ship Aurora sets sail, the twins must keep their wits about them and prove themselves worthy of the rest of the crew. But will Arthur and Maudie find the answers they seek?”

The Boy Who Flew With Dragons, by Andy Shepherd, read by Ewan Goddard

“Tomas can’t imagine life without his little dragon Flicker. He’s become more than a pet - he’s a friend like no other. And growing dragons on the dragonfruit tree in the garden with his friends Ted, Kat and Kai is the most amazing thing ever.

“But Tomas has promised Grandad something - that he and his friends will let their dragons go back to where they belong. The only problem is - that isn’t such an easy thing to do. Not when they are still having so much fun with dragons Flicker, Sunny, Crystal and Dodger. Not when they still have to work out where the dragons’ home is, and how to get the dragons to leave. And not when Tomas is so close to uncovering the true story of the mysterious dragonfruit tree…”

The Little Prince, by Antoine De Saint-Expury, read by full cast

“When he crashes in the Sahara Desert, the Aviator believes he is all alone – until he meets an unusual space traveller: a boy with golden hair who calls himself The Little Prince. As the Aviator repairs his plane, the Little Prince tells him fantastical tales about his amazing interplanetary journey. On his home planet, asteroid B-612, he fell in love with a beautiful rose, but left her to explore the universe. In the course of his travels, he has met people including a King, a drunkard and a lamplighter, as well as a snake and a wise fox – but now he must return home and be reunited with his rose…”

Five Children and It, by E. Nesbit, read by full cast

“On a hot, Edwardian summer’s day, five children are playing in a gravel pit when they dig up something very peculiar: a funny, furry, fat litte creature with the feet of a monkey and bat’s ears! The Psammead is a magical sand fairy who has the power to grant wishes: but the children can only have one wish a day, and the wishes only last until sunset.

“As the children try to get their hearts’ desires, things go hilariously wrong, and they have a series of amazing adventures that will change their lives. But their last wish gets them into terrible trouble, and it will take all the Psammead’s powers to put things right…”

The Light Jar, by Lisa Thompson, read by Ryan Ireland

“Nate and his mother are running away, hiding out in a tumbledown cottage in the middle of a forest. When Mum heads off for provisions, and then doesn’t return, Nate is left alone and afraid, with the dark closing in all around him. But comfort can come from the most unexpected of places – a mysterious girl trying to solve the clues of a treasure hunt and the reappearance of an old friend from his past. Will Nate find the bravery needed to face the troubles of his present and ultimately illuminate the future?”

The Naughtiest Unicorn, by Pip Bird, read by Carlyss Peer

“Mira CAN’T WAIT to start Unicorn School. (Her big sister goes and won’t stop going on about it). But when Mira arrives on her first day all the unicorns are gone… except Dave!

“Dave isn’t quite the sparkly unicorn Mira was expecting to find at the end of the rainbow – he’s more grumpy than glittery, more interested in lunch than magical Quests and he always runs off when Mira tries to ride him – but Mira’s not going to let that get her down. Along with her new friends and their (much more glittery) unicorns, she is determined to be the best at Quests and protect the special unicorn world!”

OverDrive eAudiobooks

Set up OverDrive →

I Am So Over Being a Loser, by Jim Smith, read by Huw Parmenter

“Barry’s mum has become a bit of celebrity, and now he can’t go anywhere without seeing a poster of her wiggling her bum in a pair of jeans. It’s so annoy-embarrassing, and everyone at school is making fun of him. But you can’t keep Barry down for long! With the help of his napkin collection and a snail called Snailypoos, Barry is determined to prove once and for all that he is not a loser.”

Now Look What You’ve Done, by Stephen Pastis, read by Jared Goldsmith

“Timmy is about to crack the biggest case of his generation: a school competition to find a stolen globe. But someone is clearly trying to con the system. So it’s up to Timmy Failure, with the dubious help of Total, his lazy polar-bear partner, and his unlikely new ally, eccentric Great-Aunt Colander, to find a way to defeat this injustice. If he can only get his entry form in on time.”

Beetle Boy, written and read by M. G. Leonard

“Darkus is miserable. His dad has disappeared and now he is living next door to the most disgusting neighbours ever. A giant beetle called Baxter comes to his rescue. But can the two solve the mystery of his dad’s disappearance, especially when links emerge to cruel Lucretia Cutter and her penchant for beetle jewellery? A coffee-mug mountain, home to a million insects, could provide the answer - if Darkus and Baxter are brave enough to find it.”

Bloom, by Nicola Skinner, read by Flavia Sorretino

“Sorrel Fallowfield is so good at being good that teachers come to her when they need help remembering the school rules – and there are LOTS.

“Luckily, Sorrel doesn’t have any trouble following them, until the day she discovers a faded packet of Surprising Seeds buried under a tree in her backyard.

“Now she’s hearing voices, seeing things, experiencing an almost unstoppable urge to plant the Seeds in some very unusual places… and completely failing to win her school’s competition to find The Most Obedient Child of the School.

“And all that’s before flowers start growing out of her head…”

The Bolds to the Rescue, written and read by Julian Clary

“The Bolds are a family of hyenas living as humans in a suburban house. But now their kindness to animal waifs and strays has become legendary, and more and more animals keep turning up to stay! But when the Bolds take in a couple of race horses who are on the run, they worry their animal magnetism is getting to be too much. Have these hyenas bitten off more than they can chew?”

Goth Girl and the Wuthering Fright, by Chris Riddell, read by Lucy Brown

“People are flocking to Ghastly-Gorm Hall to compete in Lord Goth’s Literary Dog Show. The judges are in place and the contestants are all ready to win. But there’s something strange going on at Ghastly-Gorm - mysterious footprints, howls in the night and some suspiciously chewed shoes. Can Ada, the Attic Club and their new friends the Vicarage sisters work out what’s going on before the next full moon?”

How to Raise Your Grown-Up, by Lauren Child, read by Tamsin Greig

“The Bobton-Trent seniors certainly know how to make the most of their extravagant wealth – socialising, doing things, buying things and generally being more than a little bit… irresponsible… Luckily for them, their son Hubert Horatio is an exceptionally intelligent, talented and sensible child. Unluckily for Hubert, this tends to mean that a lot of his spare time is spent steering his rather unruly set of grown-ups out of trouble.”

Pugs of the Frozen North, by Philip Reeve & Sarah McIntyre, read by Charlie Sanderson

“The Race to the Top of the World comes around once in a lifetime. The prize? Your heart’s desire.

“Shen and Sika can’t resist the chance to win. The path to victory is littered with snow trolls, sea monsters, and a gang of particularly hungry yetis. But Shen and Sika have something the other contestants don’t have: 66 pugs. That’s a 264 paw-powered sled.”

The Unlikely Outlaws, by Philip Ardagh, read by Andrew Baguley

“Join author Philip Ardagh, assistant Dotty and harassed editor, Adrian, as together they craft the entertaining escapades of young knight-to-be, Tom Dashwood and his merry band of outlaws. Well, just as soon as Philip can be convinced to write the manuscript…”

Willow Moss and the Lost Day, by Dominique Valente, read by Tuppence Middleton

“Willow Moss, the youngest and least powerful sister in a family of witches, has a magical ability for finding lost things – like keys, or socks, or wooden teeth. Useful, but not exactly exciting…

“Then the most powerful witch in the world of Starfell turns up at Willow’s door and asks for her help. A whole day – last Tuesday to be precise – has gone missing. Completely. And, without it, the whole universe could unravel.

“Now Willow holds the fate of Starfell in her rather unremarkable hands. Can she save the day – by finding the lost one?”

Sophie Green

Sophie Green

I work for the Suffolk Libraries stock team. I also write children’s fiction, short stories and comedy. Visit my website.