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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 /  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... Read more »

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$24.14 USD

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Dear Sweet Pea

By Julie Murphy
Narrated by Phoebe Strole /  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... Read more »

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From the Desk of Zoe Washington

By Janae Marks
Narrated by Bahni Turpin /  6 hours 9 minutes

From the Desk of Zoe Washington

“Zoe loves to bake. She wants to be a professional pastry chef when she grows up, and her mom landed her an internship at a local bakery this summer! But when she receives a letter from her birth father in prison on her 12th birthday, everything changes. Marcus sounds very nice in his letter, but he's in jail for murder. Zoe's not sure at first, but as she writes back and forth with Marcus (secretly—her mom would never allow it), she sees that he's really a good person. Could innocent people go to prison? With friendship challenges, cupcake creations, and a fight for justice—not to mention Bahni Turpin's peppy narration—From the Desk of Zoe Washington is an absolute delight to listen to.”

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The War That Saved My Life

By Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Narrated by Jayne Entwistle /  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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$28.00 USD

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Prairie Lotus

By Linda Sue Park
Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller /  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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$25.20 USD

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Brown Girl Dreaming

By Jacqueline Woodson
Narrated by Jacqueline Woodson /  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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$21.00 USD

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Better Nate Than Ever

By Tim Federle
Narrated by Tim Federle /  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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$20.64 USD

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Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow

Nevermoor: Book #1
By Jessica Townsend
Narrated by Gemma Whelan /  11 hours

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow

“A deliciously delightful and utterly enchanting debut sure to dazzle fans of the Harry Potter series, “Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow,” by Jessica Townsend, caught me from the very first chapter. I absolutely couldn’t put this gem down after meeting Morrigan, a cursed child destined to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday. Complete with monsters lurking in the shadows, a Magnificat named Fenestra and the magical city, Nevermoor, home of the Wundrous Society, Townsends tale is a treasure for all ages and will leave you longing for more. Will Morrigan figure out her talent in time to save herself from the wicked Wundersmith or is she doomed to die a dark death and disappear for all time? Fantastically fun and fast paced read…I loved it!! Read by Gemma Whelan, you'll be anxiously awaiting the next installment "Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow due out in late November.”

McLean & Eakin Booksellers image Kristin, McLean & Eakin Booksellers
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$28.73 USD

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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 /  3 hours 58 minutes

Look Both Ways

“Each chapter is a different voice in the audiobook, with the final chapter read by Jason Reynolds himself (which is perfect, because it is the most poetic, as well). I adored this book, and my students are loving it, too! The little clues throughout about the bus, and the way the characters subtly interact without realizing it is masterful. ”

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$20.69 USD

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Ghost Boys

By Jewell Parker Rhodes
Narrated by Miles Harvey /  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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$25.28 USD

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Redwood and Ponytail

By K.A. Holt
Narrated by Tessa Netting & Cassandra Morris /  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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$21.79 USD

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The Bridge Home

By Padma Venkatraman
Narrated by Padma Venkatraman /  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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