The Sounds of Summer: Some Suggestions and Our Favorite Resources for Listening!

Everyone knows the Clarkson home is always filled with music! We aren't only music fans at home, though--I carry my favorite tunes along not only on my walks, but also to hotel rooms across the world whenever I travel. Familiar music makes any place seem more like home, even as it transports us to other places. Pandora and Spotify are family favorites as we can create the stations and lists for our varying moods and seasons. Here, from the Lifegiving Home Resource pages, are a few other resources you may find helpful this summer! These are great ways to incorporate a quiet hour in the afternoons. I am convinced that my children gained more wisdom and insight and inspiration from listening to great books, stories and music as well as our dinner table discussions than anything else we did.

Resources for Audiobooks, Radio, and Podcasts

Our family has always loved reading aloud to one another, and listening to audio broadcasts is just another form of being read to. We have always loved to listen together—especially on long car trips, but also while doing chores or just snuggling by the fire. These days you can find almost anything in audio form—as CDs, mp3s, streaming podcasts, or simply listening on the radio. Many, many books are available in audio form, from classics like Oliver Twist to more recent fare like Holes. Below are some great sources—plus a few specific audio books that we especially love.

Adventures in Odyssey

This Christian radio drama and comedy series for kids has been on the air since 1988. Centered in the fictional town of Odyssey, it “uses storytelling to teach lasting truths.” The shows are professionally produced and recorded in Hollywood. When mine were elementary to junior high-ish, I loved the history ones because they made me feel like the kids were affirming some of the historical biographies they had already read or studied. To locate a station, download a podcast, or buy a recording, visit the Adventures in Odyssey website

This subscription service is worth every penny for families who enjoy audiobooks on a regular basis. Choose from a wide variety of fare. I have downloaded many books on audible to take with me on trips so that I don't have to drag along as many books. I know, I said I would never do it, but I actually love carrying a light suitcase. And there are some great dramas on audible. One of our favorites that every family should listen to is Cheaper by the Dozen. So fun, interesting, such a great story, so inspiring. 

Cracker Barrel Books-on-Audio

Cracker Barrel’s audiobook system is a great resource for traveling families. Buy an audiobook CD at any Cracker Barrel location—and keep the receipt. After you listen, you can return it to any other Cracker Barrel. They will refund the purchase price minus a rental fee of about $3.50 a week—a bargain.

Focus on the Family Radio Theater

Radio Theater productions include professional scripts and productions, orchestral musical scores, and motion-picture quality sound design. These dramas are still available on radio, or you can choose from an impressive selection of recordings in CD or mp3 format. The Radio Theater’s production of the Chronicles of Narnia are the most famous (see above), but we also loved their version of Oliver Twist, Amazing Grace (the story of England’s abolition campaign), and others. To locate a radio station, buy a recording, or simply find more information, visit the Radio Theater web page.

Lewis, C. S.. The Chronicles of Narnia (audiobook). Dramatized and directed by Paul McCusker. Focus on the Family Radio Theatre. Collector's Edition. Tyndale Entertainment, 2014.

This is a dramatized version of C. S. Lewis's classic--that is, produced as a radio drama rather than simply read aloud. Recorded in London with an all-star cast, this version is perfect for families. All seven Narnia books are included. I personally listen to these as an adult and am inspired every time.

Loyal Books

At you can download a wide variety of free public-domain audiobooks in several formats. This is a great source of classics like Alice in Wonderland or Jane Eyre. The quality of the narration varies, so be sure to check the reviews!

Public Libraries

Don’t forget the library as a source of downloadable audio. Some libraries also lend out CD audiobooks. Visit your library’s website for information about what is available to you or just ask a librarian.

Your Story Hour

Established in 1949, YSH produces weekly radio productions for children that are also available in CD or podcast form. The dramatized radio stories include Bible stories, historical stories, and contemporary stories. For more information or to buy story albums, visit the Your Story Hour website. These were a staple for our kids in the elementary years. Great historical series. Sometimes they might sound a bit old fashioned to the modern ear as they were produced to be radio drama for kids in the 50's and 60's but our children learned so much from them. See if you can find a review of the best ones. We did not listen to the Bible ones, though they might be great, but more to history, character, inventors.


Of course you will want to listen to our inspiring podcasts this summer! Join us for our newest podcast: At Home with Sally and Friends with Kristen Kill as my host. 

We want to make sure you've seen this week's Bible Memory Aid! Click here to download and print this lovely pdf to add to your refrigerator or wherever it can be a help to you! Bible Memory Week One

And we want to make sure you saw our webinar winners from last week! $5 Starbucks cards for Leesa McLelland and Sarah Swanson; Our 24 Family ways for Danielle Wiseman and Amy McGarr! Please email with your address so we can send them on their way!

Thanks so much for all of your generous comments about how much you are enjoying the podcasts for the summer sessions. Here is the link below if you would like to join us and listen with us: