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Staff Picks for Middle Grade Readers

Staff Picks for Middle Grade Readers

The Wild Rumpus staff's favorite audiobooks for readers around the ages of 8-12.

Playlist Tags: Wild Rumpus Books genre: Children's

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The Best at It

By Maulik Pancholy
Narrated by: Maulik Pancholy
Length: 6 hours 22 minutes

Stonewall Honor Book!

From award-winning actor Maulik Pancholy comes a hilarious and heartfelt middle grade debut about a gay Indian American boy coming into his own. One of Time Out's “LGBTQ+ books for kids to read during Pride Month”, this is perfect for fans of Tim Federle’s Nate series.

Rahul Kapoor is heading into seventh grade in a small...

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Audiobook details

Other Words for Home

By Jasmine Warga
Narrated by: Vaneh Assadourian
Length: 3 hours 49 minutes

Other Words for Home

“Jasmine Warga's verse beautifully illustrate the struggles and heartache when starting a new life. Through the eyes of a young Syrian girl we learn the hopes and dreams not so unlike any other kid. We learn the conflicts faced when moving to a new country and trying to create a home in America. A great listen!!”

Content image Emma, Content
Audiobook details

Everything Sad is Untrue

(a true story)

By Daniel Nayeri
Narrated by: Daniel Nayeri
Length: 7 hours 48 minutes

Everything Sad is Untrue

“Listener, you are about to enter a world of rose water and saffron, of sheep's blood and mad bulls, of myth and magic carpets, a world of Scheherazade's making, a thousand and one stories that each bend and weave and buoy the next. As a child who had to flee his beloved home and family in Iran, Daniel's warm narration invites us to sit and stay a while, and not only see the world through his bright, vulnerable, hopeful young eyes, but to taste, smell and hear how the past infuses the present, and why storytelling isn't as much about telling the truth as much as it is about heroes and human fallibility. This is not simply a story about a young refugee looking to make sense of his new place in the world of Jennifers and Jareds in Edmund, Oklahoma. This is an epic tale that Nayeri seems to effortlessly draw you into like Scheherazade herself, breathing his eight year old self into three-dimensionality with warmth, humor and terror like an unbearably beautiful yet flawed Persian rug.”

Bear Pond Books image Jane, Bear Pond Books
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The Night Diary

By Veera Hiranandani
Narrated by: Priya Ayyar
Length: 5 hours 54 minutes

In the vein of Inside Out and Back Again and The War That Saved My Life comes a poignant, personal, and hopeful tale of India's partition, and of one girl's journey to find a new home in a divided country

It's 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created much... Read more »

Audiobook details

King and the Dragonflies

By Kacen Callender
Narrated by: Ron Butler
Length: 5 hours 3 minutes

King and the Dragonflies

“Kingston (King) James and his parents are grieving the loss of Khalid-- King's older brother. When Khalid was alive and the two shared a bedroom, he would talk in his sleep, telling his younger brother stories about the universe and its magic. King continues to see Khalid in his dreams, and is convinced Khalid has transformed into a dragonfly. The Louisiana bayou provides the backdrop for both a colorful landscape and a tense, fearful place where racism festers. When King's former friend, Sandy, who is white, and the son of the racist police chief, goes missing, King ends up helping hide Sandy from his abusive father. Woven seamlessly into this wise story is King's slow awakening of his sexuality, brought to the fore by his renewed friendship with Sandy, who is known to be gay. Callender's writing is so authentic and their characters are so tenderly portrayed by Ron Butler's superb narration I mourned its conclusion. The whole package is a crowning achievement.”

Bear Pond Books image Jane, Bear Pond Books
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Pet

By Akwaeke Emezi
Narrated by: Christopher Myers
Length: 5 hours 32 minutes

National Book Award Finalist

Stonewall Book Award Winner

"[A] beautiful, genre-expanding debut...Pet is a nesting doll of creative possibilities." (The New York Times)

The award-winning, genre-defying novel by the New York Times best-selling author of The Death of Vivek Oji that explores themes of identity and justice and asks: How do you share the... Read more »

Audiobook details

Clean Getaway

By Nic Stone
Narrated by: Dion Graham
Length: 3 hours 56 minutes

Clean Getaway

“William "Scoob" Lamar's white G'ma fell in love with his black G'pa at a time when a mixed-race relationship between adult Americans was illegal in many parts of the country. It was especially difficult for them in the conservative south where they lived. Now G'ma is on a mission to revisit places she and G'pa traveled and to take Scoob along with her. She wants to show him many of the historic sights that were a part of the early civil rights movement and part of Scoob's heritage. But G'ma also seems to have some secrets and Scoob isn't sure where this journey is really taking them. Nic Stone, famous for her best-selling YA novels, has written a terrific middle-grade story, with historic significance, that would be perfect for reading circles or middle-grade book clubs. Dion Graham's voice enriches the story for those who enjoy a "read-along" experience.”

Rediscovered Books image Becky, Rediscovered Books
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The Only Black Girls in Town

By Brandy Colbert
Narrated by: Jeanette Illidge
Length: 7 hours 28 minutes

From award-winning YA author Brandy Colbert comes a debut middle-grade novel about the only two Black girls in town who discover a collection of hidden journals revealing shocking secrets of the past.

Beach-loving surfer Alberta has been the only Black girl in town for years. Alberta's best friend, Laramie, is the closest thing she has to a... Read more »

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From the Desk of Zoe Washington

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

If you enjoyed Just Mercy (Movie Tie-In Edition), then you’ll love From the Desk of Zoe Washington.

“An absolutely charming and inspirational read or listen about family, growing up and second chances. Social justice issues and experiences of racism are appropriately handled with grace and realism for this age. I enjoyed spending a bit of my summer experiencing her summer adventures and mishaps. Zoe is portrayed as a bright, ambitious 12 year-old, but she makes plenty of mistakes along the way. It balanced lighter moments of Zoe’s internship at a local bakery and re-building her friendship with her next-door neighbor alongside the tougher reality of deciding what to do when she receives a letter from her incarcerated biological father that she has never met. I loved that the author thoughtfully weaves in teachable moments around the Innocence Project and the effects that incarceration has on the entire family. Would partner great with "Just Mercy" by Bryan Stephenson. ”

Bright Side Bookshop image Cori, Bright Side Bookshop
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When Stars Are Scattered

By Victoria Jamieson & Omar Mohamed
Narrated by: Faysal Ahmed, Barkhad Abdi, Victoria Jamieson, Omar Mohamed, Robin Miles, Ifrah Mansour, Bahni Turpin, Hakeemshady Mohamed, Sadeeq Ali, Dominic Hoffman, Christine Avila, JD Jackson & Various
Length: 3 hours 42 minutes

An Odyssey Honor audiobook and National Book Award Finalist, this remarkable graphic novel—adapted for audio—is about growing up in a refugee camp, as told by a former Somali refugee to the Newbery Honor-winning creator of Roller Girl.

Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life... Read more »

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The Brave

By James Bird
Narrated by: Shaun Taylor-Corbett
Length: 9 hours 6 minutes

Collin can't help himself?he has a unique condition that finds him counting every letter spoken to him. It's a quirk that makes him a prime target for bullies, and a continual frustration to the adults around him, including his father. When Collin asked to leave yet another school, his dad decides to send him to live in Minnesota with the mother...

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The Real Boy

By Anne Ursu
Narrated by: Chris Sorensen
Length: 8 hours 40 minutes

National Book Award Longlist * Bank Street Children's Book Committee Best Book of the Year

"Beautifully written and elegantly structured, this fantasy is as real as it gets."—Franny Billingsley, author of Chime

The Real Boy, Anne Ursu's follow-up to her widely acclaimed and beloved middle grade fantasy Breadcrumbs, is a spellbinding tale of the...

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