When it comes to keeping everyone entertained on a road trip, we love encouraging our kids to read. And living books are our favorite type of book to share with our boys.

Partially because they are well written and perfect to listen to as audiobooks on a long drive (a.k.a. I don’t wanna claw my ears off 10 minutes in). 🙌

But, also because these are the kinds of books our kids can read on their own for hours. If you’re not there yet with your kids, hang on! I promise it gets better. But, in the meantime, these books will entertain you all.

If you don’t know what living books are, you may want to check out this definition. But, the short version is that living books are books that bring the story to life and pull you into the narrative — whether they are fiction or non-fiction.

For example, many of the classics we grew up with could be classified as living books: Charlotte’s Web, Little House on the Prairie, and Where the Red Fern Grows are great examples. I often think of them as the books that will stick with you for years to come because the author has done such an excellent job of drawing you into the story and making an impact.

We’ve pulled together some of our family’s favorite living books in several genres to help inspire a love of reading in your kids.

And, who knows? They might even get so absorbed that requests for Netflix and choruses of “Are we there yet?” might become a little less frequent. 😉

boy laying on couch reading book from Blaze series peeking out from behind book and smiling

We love finding books at local shops or borrowing from the library. Though, in the list below, I included Amazon links because I know if you’re anything like me, you might run out of time and need one quickly. 😅

Living Books About Nature for Kids

Belle’s Journey: An Osprey Takes Flight

by Richard O. Bierregaard


by Sterling North

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The Call of the Wild

by Jack London

James Herriot’s Treasury for Children

by James Herriot

A Dragon in the Sky

by Laurence Pringle

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Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt

by Kate Messner

Backyard Bears: Conservation, Habitat Changes, and the Rise of Urban Wildlife

by Amy Cherrix

The Trouble with Longtails

by Mary Duplex

Burgess Bird Book

by Thorton S. Burgess

Living Books for Little Readers

Pooh’s Library

by A.A. Milne

The Tale of Peter Rabbit

by Beatrix Potter

Frog and Toad: The Complete Collection

by Arnold Lobel

boy reading a living book while laying on couch in front of a window

Living Books About Outdoor Adventure for Kids

My Side of the Mountain Trilogy

by Jean Craighead George


by Gary Paulson

Living Historical Books for Kids

Magic Tree House Series

by Mary Pope Osborne


by Holling C. Holling

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales

by Nathan Hale

American Regional Series

by Lois Lenski

Little House on the Prairie

by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Living Books to Inspire Kids to Travel

How to Catch a Keeper

by Stephanie Mulligan

Living Books about Adventure for Kids

Billy and Blaze Series

by C.W. Anderson

The Growly Books

by Philip Ulrich

The Ralph S. Mouse Collection

by Beverly Cleary

Wingfeather Saga

by Andrew Peterson

Green Ember Series

by S. D. Smith

Classic Living Books for Kids

Charlotte’s Web

by E.B. White


by Dick King-Smith

Peter Pan

by J.M. Barrie

Living Poetry Books for Kids

Shell Silverstein Books

A Child’s Garden of Verses

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Favorite Poems, Old and New

Compiled by Helen Farris

Final Thoughts about Living Books for Kids on Road Trips (or Anytime)

A lot of kids may be reluctant readers, but if you can do a little investigation and offer a variety of books, they may just find a series or genre that they fall in love with. And, what better time to introduce them to a new book than when you have them trapped in the car on a road trip, right?! 🤪

Just kidding. But, for real. When we’re traveling, I can often convince our kids to try reading a new book that they might object to reading at home – whether it’s more challenging or the topic isn’t necessarily their favorite.

Tell us, do your kids have a favorite book or series?

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