Top 10 Audiobooks for Younger Readers

Top 10 Audiobooks for Younger Readers

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Top Ten Tuesday

Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl invited us to share the “books I meant to read in 2020 but didn’t get to.” If you’ve been around my blog for any amount of time, you’ll know that I’m a mood reader and make very few bookish plans. So that means I’m posting my own list again this week. I shared my Top Ten Adult Audiobooks a couple of weeks ago so today I’m sharing my favorite audiobooks for younger readers. This list includes middle grade and young adult titles. Links go to my review (if I wrote one) or to the Malaprop’s Bookstore website.

Top 10 Audiobooks for Younger Readers

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly, read by Ramón de Ocampo and Amielynn Abellera–I listened to this during my extended blogging break and didn’t write a review. I regret that so much! I remember that I fell in love with the book, this band of outcasts, and the friendship they form.

Night of Cake & Puppets by Laini Taylor, read by Khristine Hvam and Kevin T. Collins–This is supposed to be a standalone novella in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone series and I guess it could be. But you’ll enjoy it all the more if you’ve already met Zuzana and Mik in the main series. The narrators bring these quirky, hilarious, loyal characters to life.

Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan, read by Mark Bramhall, David de Vries, MacLeod Andrews, and Rebecca Soler–Echo made it onto my top ten list in 2020. In this middle grade novel, Ms. Ryan explores the transformative power of music. Corky Siegel wrote a beautiful soundtrack that adds a lot of depth without distracting from the story.

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok, read by Grayce Wey–I was rooting so hard for Kimberly to make it out of the horrible circumstances that she and her mom endured when they immigrated to the US. Grayce Wey’s narration made the story feel real to me.

Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy by L. A. Meyer, read by Katherine Kellgren–Full confession: I didn’t actually listen to Bloody Jack but I have listened to the following books in the series all the way up to number ten, which I recently finished. Words truly can’t express how much I love Katherine Kellgren’s narration. She threw her whole soul into giving these characters their voices. Jacky Faber is a worthy recipient of her talents. I could have included other series that Ms. Kellgren narrated on this list as well but I decided to limit it to one per narrator. Just do yourself a favor and listen to anything that she read.

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly, read by Jayne Entwistle–Jayne Entwistle had to grow on me as a narrator but it didn’t take her long. I enjoy her narration of the Flavia de Luce mysteries but this book was special. Jennifer Donnelly wrote A Northern Light, which is one of my favorite books of all time. While Stepsister didn’t touch me in quite the same way, I did love this feminist spinoff of the Cinderella story.

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall, read by Susan Denaker–Jeanne Birdsall writes beautifully about the innocence and the small (or even not-so-small) trials and tribulations of childhood in this book. It’s a truly timeless tale and Ms. Denaker made me love this young family even more.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer, read by Rebecca Soler–I’m not generally a big science fiction reader but a cyborg Cinderella made me step outside of my comfort zone and I’m so glad I did! Ms. Soler captured the different characters’ moods and tones so well, I highly recommend listening to the entire series.

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan, read by Joshua Swanson–Really, I could have listed any mythology book by Rick Riordan here but this was the first one that I listened to. I read the original Percy Jackson series in print and I did love it. But they’re such action-packed adventures that they’re perfect listens. There have been a lot of narrators, sometimes even within the same series. I liked some more than others but I still recommend any of Riordan’s mythology books on audio.

The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright, read by Pamela Dillman–Elizabeth Enright originally published this book in 1941 but it has aged fairly well. I can’t imagine letting young children wander New York City alone now but almost anyone should be able to relate to their small adventures and quarrels and victories. I felt as if Ms. Dillman were telling me a bedtime story as she read this novel and I can’t give higher praise than that.

That’s my list! Have you listened to any of these? What did you think? Which books did/would you choose? Link up every Tuesday at That Artsy Reader Girl!

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  1. I have a few of those on my list. I read Cinder but wasn’t as excited about it as I was hoping. I’ll have to add a few more of these to my audio list!

  2. Since you liked Cinder, I’d highly recommend the next book in the series, Scarlet. It’s a brilliant retelling of Red Riding Hood, and my favorite from the entire series.

  3. I am not an audiobook person and the only one from your list that I’ve read is Cinder, but I really enjoyed it.

  4. I haven’t listened to any of these, though I enjoyed listening to David Tennant narrate some MG books by Cressida Cowell. (I enjoyed both How To Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once.) Actually, I also listened to Tennant narrate Ian Flemming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and that was really great.

  5. I listened to Girl in Translation many years ago and enjoyed it quite well. I wrote the following on my blog: I received an ARC of Girl in Translation from Shelf Awareness, but wound up listening to the audio version instead. I enjoyed this inspiring novel so much (and was especially satisfied with the ending) that I think I’ll hang on to the beautiful hard copy for future reading. It’s been several years since I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, but I found myself comparing Kwok’s Kimberly to Smith’s Francie. These two books would be an excellent choice for a comparison-contrast assignment for a high school literature course.

  6. I’ve read quite a few of these, but all in print form, I only started listening to audiobooks a couple of years ago. I love the Heroes of Olympus books, though The Lost Hero was actually my least favourite. I wasn’t a big fan of Cinder, though I did read the second book, Scarlet and enjoyed that more. I might try the others on audio as they are thicker books and I prefer doing longer books on audio now. I really enjoyed Night of Cake and Puppets, the print book has lots of lovely illustrations, so I’m glad I have that one, though I can definitely imagine the audio being fun.
    My TTT:

    1. As I was writing this post, I saw something about illustrations in Night of Cake & Puppets and wondered if I’d missed out on something. I may have to request the print book from the library and re-read it! I loved the entire Cinder series, although Winter was a bit of a letdown. I wonder how much of that was because of the audio. My sister and I have very similar tastes in books and she lost interest in it as well.

      1. Yeah, Laini Taylor’s husband Jim Di Bartolo did the illustrations for it and they’re super pretty! Ah really? I’d rather do the audio for that one because it’s such a long book and audio tends to work better for me with those, but I guess I’ll have to see.

  7. I remember thinking The Penderwicks sounded really fun, and kind of nostalgic- kind of maybe like the books I read as a kid, about youngsters having adventures. I should try those sometime…

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