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Learn while you drive with Audio books

April Audio book favorites

Much of our reading time recently has been with audio books. We seem to spend a lot of time running around in the truck, so our Audible account has gotten well-used these last few years of homeschool. You would be amazed how many books you can listen to just while driving to PE and the grocery store!

We mostly try to stick to educational reads, or listens, so that we can sneak in a few more minutes of learning on the go! I like to include history biographies, great missionary stories, and anything that I come across that sounds like it would be inspirational.

Here are some that we have listened to recently, along with our thoughts on them.

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Through Gates of Splendor

Through Gates of Splendor Audio book

Thumbs UP! 

I recommend this book!  This is the story of Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Pete Flemming, Roger Udarian, and Ed McCoulough, who lost their lives on Operation Auca.  These missionaries gave their lives for the tribe that they hoped to reach, and this is the story of how they came to serve as missionaries.  It also gives the history of the Auca tribe, tells about the wives, and about events leading up to the secret initiative to reach the white-man killing tribe in the jungles of Ecuador.  

We listened to the story of Nate Saint, On a Wing and a Prayer, several years ago, and were on the edge of our seats until the end. (Nate Saint was the pilot of Operation Auca)   So, we knew the story and how it ended.  I still didn’t find that this spoiled this book for us.  This book gives much more detail into the lives of the other men, including some of their personal and spiritual struggles.  I will say regarding the Nate Saint book, that it has been our favorite in the series, Christian Heroes, Then and Now, and we have listened to/read more in this series than I can count!

This book is authored by Elizabeth Elliot, who is the widow of Jim Elliot.  She is the perfect person to write a book like this, rather than a casual observer.  She gives first-hand accounts of what she and the other wives experienced during and after the tragedy.  Just a very inspiring read!  So much so, that we have decided to listen to another book authored by Elizabeth Elliot on the life of her husband, Jim, Shadow of the Almighty.  I will give you an update on this one when we finish, but so far I am finding it to be very inspiring, and containing much more detail about Jim’s personal life. 

Florence Young, Mission Accomplished

Florence Young, by Janet and Geoff Benge

Florence Young, audio books

We give this one one thumb up.

We listened to this book while on a trip. It was a good story of missionary Florence Young, who served in the Solomon Islands and Australia for many years. Although this is a series that I wholeheartedly recommend for quality biographies for children, this one didn’t have a lot of drama or fanfare. This isn’t a bad thing; many people’s lives are more everyday, and they do amazing things behind the scenes instead of up front. I did enjoy it, but the boys would have preferred a bit more action.

Abraham Lincoln, A Man of Faith and Courage

Abraham Lincoln, A Man of Faith and Courage by Joe Wheeler

Abraham Lincoln, man of faith and courage audio book

If you have read any other books by Joe Wheeler, then you know that he is a master storyteller. He is the author of the very popular and beloved series, Christmas in My Heart. I have lost track of how many books are in the Christmas in My Heart Series, but there are at least 26.

The Abraham Lincoln book is no exception to the excellent story-telling of Joe Wheeler.  We were captivated from the first page.  I wondered if this book would be dry, since it is a biography, and there have been so many written by Lincoln.  What more could be written about him?  But, quite the contrary, we found this book to be full of interesting accounts.  

Different from the general Lincoln biographies, this book goes through Lincoln’s life from his religious and spiritual perspective.  Lincoln was a man of deep faith, and this collection of accounts really brings him to life as a very humble and personable man.  I think that our favorite part of this book was the appendix in the last part of the book.  Here, the author shared several first-hand accounts of people who had interacted with Lincoln in different scenarios:  a child who met him along the road, a soldier due to be shot but who received pardon by Lincoln, and personal friends.  

This book received two thumbs up for us, and I will say that if you have the chance to just choose one book to listen to on the life of Lincoln, this book would be an excellent choice. It’s just long enough to provide good detail,(around nine and a half hours), but not too long to bog you down like some of the other Lincoln biographies.  

The Boys in the Boat

The Boys in the Boat

This book, The Boys in the Boat, was by far the favorite book of my boys!  Of all of the audio books we have listened to recently, this is a keeper. This book is everything a great book should be–poor hero, up from poverty, hard work, difficult people to deal with, a chance at talent, supporting coach, victory over bitterness, comradeship, and finally, a crew who believed in each other.  This crew of rough boys conquered all personal and team obstacles to win the gold medal in the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936.  This is a story of a boy, Joe, who you will come to root for and believe in throughout the book.  

There is a full-length book that we started.  It is very good.  Much more detail, a longer listen, and unabridged.  But, we listened to the first couple of hours, then, because a couple of times there was a word of profanity, I chose to go with the Young Reader’s Version.  It is a shame that in a book this good, we turned it off, but I know my boys, and I know that if they hear it, it will get planted in their minds.  I have a zero tolerance for profanity, so we found the Young Reader’s version to be a better fit for us.  

By the end of this book, we were all riveted to the speaker to hear the ending.  If you choose to listen, I do not think you will be disappointed.  

Up From Slavery

Up From Slavery, by Booker T Washington

Up From Slavery audio books

Okay, so this was not the favorite of the boys. But I am very glad that we listened. This book is not only a classic, but it is good from a historical viewpoint, telling the perspective of a black man during the Civil War and Reconstruction periods.

The perspectives that Booker shared are important. Hard work, hands-on learning, trades, the use of the toothbrush, working together, and just good work ethics are some of the principles you will hear.

What my boys did not enjoy was what they termed his bragging. They felt that when he listed the accomplishments of himself and the Colored Race, he came across as boasting. I don’t feel this way, but I can see where they might come to this conclusion. I found the end to be a little dry because there was less detail about daily life and more about meetings, accomplishments, etc.

Overall, I am glad that we listened. I did find a copy on Audible.com for less than $1, so grabbed that for a try!

About audio books and homeschool

Audio books are just a great way to squeeze learning into your day. We often listen: in the car, during lunch, together during school hours, before bedtime, outside in the garden, while picking berries, while cleaning, on the way to church, and just about anywhere in between.

We have an audible.com membership, which gives us a book per month to listen to. We have listened to many, many books through the years. Our favorites, that we listen to over and over, are probably the Your Story Hour series. We have learned about SO many famous people and events because of Your Story Hour. They have many of these albums on audible.com, and they are at a better price than in the stores. If you happen to get a membership for yourself after you click on my link, I will receive a commission. .

Your Story Hour audio books

Now that you’ve heard about our recent listens, how about you? What books are you reading or listening to?

I’ll be writing another post in the future about some of our favorite non-audio books. We have read a ton, and I love to share great stories with you, so that you can enjoy them too!

What do we do when we’re not running around listening to books? Well…here’s what often fills up much of our time!

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