10 Audiobooks to Make Your Road Trip Fly By (Bonus, They’re All Banned Books)
Embrace your inner rebel and enhance your road trip with these fast-paced, banned audiobooks!
Are you planning an upcoming road trip? Looking for something to keep yourself entertained through endless hours of driving? Exciting narration and well-paced storytelling make audiobooks fantastic ways to pass the time.
We’ve compiled a list of relevant, diverse, and engaging audiobooks for various audiences — and did we mention they’re all banned? Whether you’re traveling alone, with family, or with teenagers, here are ten audiobooks to make your road trip fly by — and be a little rebellious at the same time!
Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison, Narrated by P.J. Ochlan
Mike Muñoz is a young Latin American trying to make ends meet in Washington State. A few years out of high school and continually performing side jobs, Mike feels like he’s waiting for something to happen. After getting fired from his latest job as a lawn boy for a landscaping crew, Mike realizes that he wants to change his life — but where to begin? Humorous, moving, and angry, Lawn Boy is an important story discussing social class differences and overcoming cultural discrimination.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab, Narrated by Julia Whelan
The year is 1714 in France, and a desperate young woman named Addie LaRue makes a Faustian bargain to live forever. But, as is usually the case with these deals, the catch is that she will be forgotten by everyone she meets. Thus begins her extraordinary life and remarkable adventures spanning centuries and continents. After learning how far she will go to leave her mark on the world, everything abruptly changes when a young man remembers Addie’s name three hundred years after making her climactic deal.
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Malala: My Story of Standing Up For Girls’ Rights by Malala Yousafzai and Sarah J. Robbins, Narrated by Neela Vaswani
This chapter adaptation of Malala’s bestselling memoir is perfect for young readers interested in learning more about her incredible contribution to women’s rights. Raised in a changing Pakistan by a progressive father and an influential, illiterate mother, Malala was taught to stand up for what she believes in. Malala’s courage and determination continue to be relevant as she advocates for women’s education against extremism. Her story teaches a new audience the importance of speaking against injustice and spreading hope amidst hatred.
Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Ph.D., Marietta Collins, Ph.D., and Ann Hazzard, Ph.D., Narrated by Leslie Green
This educational book for young readers features an intuitive discussion between two families, one White and one Black, following a police shooting of a Black man in their community. The story aims to answer children’s questions about these traumatic events and identify racial injustice. The audiobook version discusses the event, its aftermath, and what people can do to help. Research shows that discussing racial biases is highly beneficial for young people since children as young as three years old begin to notice differences in skin color.
All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson, Narrated by the Author
A prominent LGBTQIA+ activist and journalist, George M. Johnson’s moving memoir includes a series of personal narratives discussing his life as a Black Queer boy. Follow Johnson as he recollects his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. Whether it’s stories of first sexual relationships or flea marketing with his loving grandmother, this young adult memoir is perfect for teens, Queer people of color, and allies. All Boys Aren’t Blue covers gender identity, brotherhood, family, Black joy, and more.
Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo, Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller
Winner of the 2021 National Book Award, Printz Honor, Stonewall Book Award, and Youth Literature Award, acclaimed writer Malinda Lo shares a Queer love story set in 1950s San Francisco Chinatown. Seventeen-year-old Lily Lu can’t stop thinking about Kathleen Miller, a young woman she met under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. Unfortunately, Red Scare paranoia threatened everyone in 1954, particularly Chinese Americans like Lily. With the fear of deportation looming over her father, Lily and Kath risk it all to let their love see the light of day.
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Pet by Akwaeke Emezi, Narrated by Christopher Myers
A 2019 National Book Award finalist and Stonewall Book Award winner, Pet is a thought-provoking middle-grade novel that will initiate important discussions for the whole family. The resident children of the town of Lucille are taught that there are no monsters anymore. With this knowledge, Jam and her best friend, Redemption, are content, understanding that the city is safe for everyone. However, Jam’s life is turned upside down when she meets Pet, a creature that emerges from one of her mother’s paintings in search of a monster within Redemption’s home.
Melissa by Alex Gino, Narrated by Jamie Clayton
When people look at Melissa, they think of a boy named George. However, Melissa knows she’s not a boy, and she’s worried she’ll have to keep this secret forever. When her teacher announces that they’ll be presenting a class play adapted from E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, Melissa is ecstatic. Prepared to audition for the role of Charlotte, she’s devastated when her teacher denies her request — because they think she’s a boy. With the support of her best friend Kelly, Melissa comes up with a plan to play her dream role of Charlotte and express who she truly is, once and for all.
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Narrated by the Author and Ruby Dee
Winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature and the acclaimed writer’s debut novel, Toni Morrison’s 1970 classic only increases with relevancy. Eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove is a Black girl living in America who adores blonde, blue-eyed children. She continually prays for blue eyes so that people will think she’s beautiful and her world will be different. Set during the Great Depression, The Bluest Eye is a tragedy depicting a nightmare at the heart of Pecola’s yearning and the trials of its fulfillment.
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, Narrated by Jim Fyfe
Fifty-six years after its initial publication, S.E. Hinton’s classic bestseller continues to impact adolescents and adults alike. Considered one of the most influential works of young adult fiction, The Outsiders follows Ponyboy and his gang of “Greasers.” Constantly in conflict with their rival gang, the “Socs,” Ponyboy and his fellow gang member Johnny run away after a life-altering night. Mixing coming-of-age themes with realistic depictions of life’s darkest moments, The Outsiders is a perfectly paced narrative for the entire family to enjoy.
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