Best New Audiobooks for Middle Grade Readers
AudioFile for The Children’s Book Review
This month’s selection of audiobooks is full of stories and narrations that will captivate middle grade readers. Kids who love listening to fantasy and science fiction will find much to love on this list, with characters both familiar and new coming to life on audio. Readers who enjoy exploring fiction that mirrors their experiences in middle school will find audiobooks that encourage them to be true to themselves. Historical fiction fans will also find a new perspective on the sinking of the Titanic. Read on to see which five audiobooks AudioFile Editors chose this month.
The Vanished: Shuri: Black Panther, Book 2
Story by Nic Stone
Read by Anika Noni Rose
Ages 8-12 | Scholastic Audiobooks | Length: 5.75 hrs. | Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award
Anika Noni Rose’s narration gives life to Shuri, the tech-savvy princess of Wakanda and the Black Panther’s sister. Shuri’s best friend, K’Marah, uncovers the mysterious disappearance of scientifically brilliant girls from all over the world. Rose’s gift with accents allows even listeners who are new to the story of the Black Panther’s sister to follow along easily. She excels at conveying Shuri’s determination to succeed in her academics and her indecision about whether to leave behind her responsibilities to try to solve the mystery of the missing girls. A fun and fast-moving story. Review »
Buy the Audiobook
Story by Nnedi Okorafor
Read by Ben Onwukwe
Ages 8-12 | Tantor Media | Length: 6.25 hrs. | Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award
With his remarkably deep and resonant voice, narrator Ben Onwukwe adds even more intrigue to this nuanced superhero story, set in contemporary Nigeria. While mourning the murder of his father, young Nnamdi receives a supernatural gift. With it, he can transform into a powerful shadowman, the ideal alter ego for exacting revenge on the superpowered criminals he blames for his father’s death. Onwukwe’s dramatic pacing and exaggerated characterizations are perfectly in keeping with the story’s heightened world-building. A superlative listen for superhero fans. Review »
Buy the Audiobook
Story by Hena Khan
Read by Soneela Nankani
Ages 8-12 | Simon & Schuster Audio | Length: 5 hrs.
Narrator Soneela Nankani returns to voice seventh-grader Amina, whom listeners met in AMINA’S VOICE. Nankani’s sweet voice perfectly matches Amina, who spends a thrilling summer vacation visiting family in Pakistan and is bursting to share details with her friends at home. She’s disappointed to discover they aren’t that interested, and when she makes a class presentation on Malala Yousafzai, everyone focuses on the scary parts of the story. Nankani helps listeners feel Amina’s longing to help others see beyond the stereotypes of her family and their country. Amina’s voice reflects her growing confidence as she discovers a passion for songwriting and other bold ways to honor her heritage. Review »
Buy the Audiobook
Spirit of the Titanic
Story by Nicola Pierce
Read by Ruairi Conaghan
Ages 8-12 | Bolinda Audio | Length: 5.25 hrs. | Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award
Irish actor Ruairi Conaghan’s narration enhances this captivating story of the Titanic. The clever twist to this well-crafted version is that its protagonist, 15-year-old Samuel Scott, died while working on the vessel’s construction. Samuel’s ghost moves unseen among the passengers and crew of his beloved ship during her maiden voyage. He recounts what he observes about people’s thoughts and feelings, interweaving them with personal reflections. Conaghan captures the cast with an array of accents and intonations. He voices their hopes and anxieties, grief and courage with heartrending emotions as the inconceivable disaster unfolds. Review »
Buy the Book
The Year I Flew Away
Story by Marie Arnold
Read by Marie Arnold
Ages 8-12 | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | Length: 6.5 hrs. | Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award
Author and narrator Marie Arnold shines in this enchanting audiobook based on her childhood. Gabrielle moves from Haiti to Brooklyn to live with her aunt and uncle ahead of her parents. Gabrielle struggles to fit in, so when a witch offers to make her into what the 10-year-old thinks is the “perfect American girl,” she jumps at the chance—but forgets that everything comes at a cost. Fast-paced, passionate, and spellbinding, both the writing and narration of this story are magical. Arnold’s sparkling performance, including her Haitian accent, takes listeners through vivid scenes and sensory descriptions. A heartfelt story full of teachable moments about empathy, honesty, and social and racial equality. Review »
Buy the Book
The article Best New Audiobooks for Middle Grade Readers was curated by AudioFile. AudioFile is an independent source of audiobook reviews and recommendations with a clear focus on the performance and listening experience. AudioFile Earphones Awards are given to exceptional audiobooks. To learn more, visit audiofilemagazine.com, Twitter @AudioFileMag, and Facebook @audiofilemagazine.
For more articles like Best New Audiobooks for Middle Grade Readers, follow along with The Children’s Book Review content tagged with Audiobooks and AudioFile.