The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan, narrated by Kevin Free and Katherine Kellgren. Since their mother's death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane. One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a "research experiment" at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives. Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them —Set— has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe. The Red Pyramid is the first title in this very entertaining series.
True Grit by Charles Portis, narrated by Donna Tartt. Mattie Ross, 14, from Dardanelle, Arkansas, narrates half a century later, her trip in the winter of 1870s, to avenge the murder of her father. She convinces one-eyed "Rooster" Cogburn, the meanest available U.S. Marshall, to tag along, while she outdickers and outmaneuvers the hard-bitten types in her path.
His Dark Materials Series by Phillip Pullman, narrated by a full cast. Beginning with The Golden Compass, we meet orphaned Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors. First, Lord Asriel, and the mysterious Mrs. Coulter. Lyra sets out for the top of the world in search of a kidnapped friend and the adventures begin. In this multilayered narrative, however, nothing is as it seems. Lyra sets out for the top of the world in search of a kidnapped friend and the adventures begin. The books are much better than the movie and have some serious undertones that will keep adults engaged throughout all three titles.
The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue, narrated by Andy Paris and Jeff Woodman. The double story of Henry Day begins in 1949, when he is kidnapped at age seven by a band of wild childlike beings who replace him with one of their own. The changelings rename their captive Aniday and he becomes, like them, unaging and stuck in time. Narrated in turns by the new Henry and Aniday, the story follows them as their lives converge, driven by their obsessive search for who they were before they changed places in the world. This is an adult book, but kids will follow the story easily and be entertained and intrigued by the dilemmas of the main characters.
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, narrated by Tim Curry. "From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune. In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast". Tim Curry does a stellar job narrating these tales with verve and hilarity.