Rescued by library magic

“Stop! Stop it! Stop!” Last summer these sounds echoed from the backseat of my car whenever I took a local drive with my two kids, ages six and nine at the time. Suddenly they seemed unable to go on a 20-minute car ride anywhere without bickering, fighting, and generally annoying each other to the max. Perhaps too much family togetherness during the pandemic allowed them both time to learn exactly how to push each other’s buttons. Perhaps this was simply the natural progression of siblings getting older. Whatever the reason, we were all miserable together in the car. And then our family moved.

All of our extracurricular activities became just a little bit further away. One cherished evening activity was now a grueling 37 minute drive from our house. As we embarked on our first drive there after moving, I threatened, threatened again, and then actually pulled the car over to the side of the road until my kids stopped fighting. I knew that something had to change. 

While I was waiting in my car for the kids to finish their activity, I grabbed my phone, opened the hoopla app, and checked out an audiobook I was fairly certain they would both like, Mac Undercover by Mac Barnett. It was a desperate act that I wasn’t sure would be met with much success. We had tried out audiobooks on our long car trips to visit family in Illinois, but neither kid seemed very interested when there were so many other distractions, toys, and snacks in the car. Maybe during a shorter drive, they would listen?

Our drive home that night was almost silent, except for the sound of Mac Barnett’s excellent narration of his book and a handful of questions from the kids about the meanings of words and the Queen of England (one of the characters in the book). I was dumbfounded at the contrast between the ride to our activity and the ride home. As we all fell under the spell of listening to the story, I felt rescued. The transformation seemed magical. It was library magic.

Since that night audiobooks have become part of our driving routine. I can easily open up the Hoopla or Libby app on my phone whenever we have somewhere to go and download something new. Together we have made our way through the rest of the Mac B., Kid Spy series and Frindle by Andrew Clements. On our Saturday morning drives to dance class, my daughter and I listen to the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary and the Dory Fantasmagory series by Abby Hanlon. When it is just my son and me in the car, we put on one of Lauren Tarshis’ I Survived books or sometimes simply a joke book because he and I are always looking for new zingers.

For anyone just starting out with audiobooks or looking for new recommendations, the library is here to help. We have staff curated lists of audiobooks for both kids & families and teens. We also offer our Personalized Picks service where Youth Services staff provide audiobook recommendations tailored to your interests and needs. Wherever your journey takes you, the library is here to make sure you have something great to listen to along the way.

Photo by William Krause on Unsplash

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