During the initial lockdown of in March 2020, which saw schools close for the first time, audiobooks site Audible announced it would share hundreds of kids’ books for free.
With another lockdown in full swing, the company has done the same again, making lots of books available for children of all ages at no cost.
The books can be found on its dedicated stories site rather than the usual Audible website, and you’ll find them broken down into categories including littlest listeners, elementary, fairy tales, timeless listens, tweens and teens.
As well as being free, you don’t even need to log in, so no passwords or emails are required.
Audiobooks are great not just for long journeys (which, let’s face it, we’re not doing many of at the moment) but also for screen-free days when you’d rather not have your kids constantly watching a tablet or the TV.
And, of course, you can listen to an audiobook with your eyes closed. Bliss for adults too!
Here we’ve picked out a few books from the sections for older children to give you a flavour of what you’ll find, but there are plenty more available, with 28 books for tweens (9-12-years-old) and 53 for teens (13 and above).
You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
Books for tweens
‘White Fang’ by Jack London, published by Macmillan
This classic book by Jack London tells the story of a wolf who is captured and abused. But one man sees the intelligence and nobility of this animal. Will White Fang be affected by his kindness?
‘The Spies that Bind: A Gallagher Girls Prequel’ by Ally Carter, published by Audible Studios
This story acts a precursor to The New York Times bestselling Gallagher Girls books, which are full of teen spies and boarding-school drama.
Cammie Morgan has spent her whole life wanting to be a Gallagher Girl, but she has no idea what she’ll face when she arrives at The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women. Intrigued? So are we.
‘The Return of Sherlock Holmes’ by Arthur Conan Doyle, first published by George Newnes
For a child who likes a mystery, you can’t get better than a Sherlock Holmes tale. This audiobook runs for an impressive 11 hours and 21 minutes and includes stories like The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist and The Adventure of the Priory School.
These 12 stories should prove enough to keep anyone busy through a run of rainy afternoons.
‘Truesight’ by David Stahler, published by HarperCollins
There’s an interesting premise to this tale: everyone in Jacob’s colony is born blind and their philosophy is that blindness brings unity, purity, and freedom.
As Jacob approaches his 13th birthday, he thinks about the changes being an adult will bring. Then he starts to experience a terrible pain in his eyes…
‘Interview with the Robot’ by Lee Bacon, published by Audible Studios
Young sci-fans should enjoy this audible original about a girl called Eve, who’s actually a robot. When she discovers the truth of who (or what) she is, she escapes the lab she has called home.
This story explores the vast potential of technology as well as the deep complexities that of being human.
Books for teens
‘Ask Me No Questions’ by Marina Budhos, published by Atheneum Books
This book tells the story of Nadira and her family, who move from Bangladesh to New York when she’s 14-years-old.
But, after 9/11 happens, Nadira finds things change for her family, who are Muslims. Her father is arrested and the family splits apart. Nadira is the one that needs to bring them back together.
‘The Complete Stories’ by Clarice Lispector, published by New Directions
Lispector was an acclaimed Brazilian writer, and this audiobook of her works includes fictional short stories about a range of characters: from older people not sure what to do with themselves to teenagers first becoming aware of the sexuality.
There are 89 stories in all, making for a multi-sitting, 22-hour listen.
‘The Three Documents that made America’ by Sam Fink, published by Blackstone Publishing
With the 2020 election, there has been plenty of media coverage about the US recently. This non-fiction audiobook could be a popular choice for a worldly teen who enjoys politics.
Author Sam Fink introduces three of the country’s most important documents, before narrator Terry Bregy goes on to recite the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the USA and the Bill of Rights in an unabridged recording.
The audiobook is one-and-a-half hours long, so could even be finished with one sitting, should your child find it really absorbing.
‘All Eyes on Us’ by Kit Frick, published by Simon and Schuster
Here’s a thriller that tells the tale of two teens whose lives become connected when they both get anonymous texts that threaten to uproot their lives.
Amanda has a boyfriend she really likes but he’s seeing someone behind her back, a girl called Rosalie. Rosalie, meanwhile, has a girlfriend but is maintaining a fake relationship with Carter.
As the texter starts contacting both Amanda and Rosalie, they become unlikely allies.
‘Night Sky’, by Suzanne and Melanie Brockmann, published by Sourcebooks
This is a paranormal suspense book written by a mum and daughter duo. Skylar is shaken when a little girl she looks after is kidnapped. Things get stranger when a new girl in town with extraordinary abilities starts to stalk Skylar and finally tells her she has hormones that make her faster, stronger and smarter than the average human being.
Skylar’s invited to be part of a mission to mould her into the ultimate weapon. Adventures ensue…
For more ideas on good reads for kids, take a look at our dedicated children’s books section