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Audiobooks to Enhance Literacy in Middle-Grade Readers

Whether they're voracious bookworms or reluctant readers, all middle graders can benefit from listening to audiobooks. Audiobooks help young readers develop fluency, build vocabulary, and explore unfamiliar genres and subjects. The books in this list are recommended by teachers and librarians for broadening middle graders' reading perspectives and helping them become strong, confident, and independent readers. Special thanks to librarian extraordinaire, Abbie Digel for her contributions to this list!

Playlist Tags: genre: Children's audience: middle grade

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A Kind of Paradise

By Amy Rebecca Tan
Narrated by: Tara Sands
Length: 6 hours 32 minutes

Read the book that Ali Standish (author of The Ethan I Was Before) calls "a heartwarming story" and Melissa Roske (author of Kat Greene Comes Clean) calls "a joyful, heartfelt debut!"

Thirteen-year-old Jamie Bunn made a mistake at the end of the school year. A big one. And every kid in her middle school knows all about it. Now she has to spend...

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Dear Sweet Pea

By Julie Murphy
Narrated by: Phoebe Strole
Length: 6 hours 20 minutes

The first middle grade novel from Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’ (now a popular Netflix film), is a funny, heartwarming story perfect for fans of Rebecca Stead, Ali Benjamin, and Holly Goldberg Sloan.

Patricia “Sweet Pea” DiMarco wasn’t sure what to expect when her parents announced they were getting a divorce. She...

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From the Desk of Zoe Washington

By Janae Marks
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Length: 6 hours 9 minutes

From the Desk of Zoe Washington

“On Zoe's 12th birthday, she is looking through the mail for happy wishes when she discovers a letter from her birth father sent from the prison he has been serving his sentence in since she was born. Emotions and questions abound: should she trust this man she has never met? What would happen if she wrote back? Is it ok to keep it a secret from her parent? All of this comes together in a fantastic debut and #1 Kids Indies Next Pick that showcases a courageous and thoughtful main character.”

Once Upon A Time image Jessica, Once Upon A Time
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The War That Saved My Life

By Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Narrated by: Jayne Entwistle
Length: 7 hours 37 minutes

Winner of the 2016 Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production

An exceptionally moving story of triumph against all odds set during World War 2, from the acclaimed author of Jefferson’s Sons and for fans of Number the Stars.
 
Nine-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to... Read more »

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Prairie Lotus

By Linda Sue Park
Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller
Length: 5 hours 17 minutes

Prairie Lotus is a powerful, touching, multilayered book about a girl determined to fit in and realize her dreams: getting an education, becoming a dressmaker in her father's shop, and making at least one friend.

Acclaimed, award-winning author Linda Sue Park has placed a young half-Asian girl, Hanna, in a small town in America's heartland, in... Read more »

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Brown Girl Dreaming

By Jacqueline Woodson
Narrated by: Jacqueline Woodson
Length: 3 hours 54 minutes

New York Times bestseller and National Book Award winner

Jacqueline Woodson, the acclaimed author of Another Brooklyn, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse. 
 
Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African... Read more »

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Better Nate Than Ever

By Tim Federle
Narrated by: Tim Federle
Length: 5 hours 54 minutes

“The Nate series by Tim Federle is a wonderful evocation of what it’s like to be a theater kid. Highly recommended.” —Lin-Manuel Miranda, star and creator of the musical, Hamilton

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
A Slate Favorite Book of the Year

A small-town boy hops a bus to New York City to... Read more »

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Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow

Nevermoor: Book #1

By Jessica Townsend
Narrated by: Gemma Whelan
Length: 11 hours

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow

“From the moment the clock strikes midnight on her eleventh birthday, Morrigan Crow’s life is forfeit. Born on Eventide, the most unlucky day of the year, she’s lived her short life as a cursed child — neglected and blamed for every misfortune of those around her. But when eccentric benefactor Jupiter North whisks her away from certain doom and brings her to the mysterious and magical city of Nevermoor, she gets a second chance at life. The safety of the Wundrous Society awaits her, but first she has to earn her place in a series of trials — ones that will test the limits of her bravery, wit, and compassion. Jessica Townsend has created an enchanting world with a delightfully feisty protagonist, and Gemma Whelan’s narration brings the characters to life, packing even more personality into a cast that’s already bursting at the seams with charm. Step boldly into the world of Nevermoor, you won’t regret it.”

Mysterious Galaxy Books image Darcy, Mysterious Galaxy Books
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Look Both Ways

A Tale Told in Ten Blocks

By Jason Reynolds
Narrated by: Heather Alicia Simms, Chris Chalk, Bahni Turpin, Kevin R. Free, JD Jackson, Guy Lockard, January LaVoy, Jason Reynolds, Adenrele Ojo & David Sadzin
Length: 3 hours 58 minutes

Look Both Ways

“10 short stories that seem simple, just following middle school kids on their walk home from school. It is packed with so much more from friendship to family dynamics to personal problems. Both reluctant and voracious listeners will enjoy.”

Brilliant Books Audio image Sam, Brilliant Books Audio
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Ghost Boys

By Jewell Parker Rhodes
Narrated by: Miles Harvey
Length: 2 hours 51 minutes

A heartbreaking and powerful story about a black boy killed by a police officer, drawing connections through history, from award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes.

Only the living can make the world better. Live and make it better.

Twelve-year-old Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, he... Read more »

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Redwood and Ponytail

By K.A. Holt
Narrated by: Tessa Netting & Cassandra Morris
Length: 4 hours 52 minutes

A universal story of finding a way to be comfortable in your own skin: Kate and Tam meet, and both of their worlds tip sideways. At first, Tam figures Kate is your stereotypical cheerleader; Kate sees Tam as another tall jock. And the more they keep running into each other, the more they surprise each other. Beneath Kate's sleek ponytail and... Read more »

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The Bridge Home

By Padma Venkatraman
Narrated by: Padma Venkatraman
Length: 4 hours 33 minutes

"Readers will be captivated by this beautifully written novel about young people who must use their instincts and grit to survive. Padma shares with us an unflinching peek into the reality millions of homeless children live every day but also infuses her story with hope and bravery that will inspire readers and stay with them long after turning... Read more »

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