5 Excellent Audiobooks For Ages 8 and Up

Best New Audiobooks for Middle-Grade Listeners
AudioFile for The Children’s Book Review

AudioFile Editors found many excellent middle-grade audiobooks worth celebrating this month, including thrilling supernatural adventures, joyful stories of family and friends, and a graphic novel that comes to life on audio. Listeners looking for true stories will want to explore Julissa Arce’s memoir SOMEONE LIKE ME, included in AudioFile’s summer SYNC program along with many other excellent audiobooks.


Story by Julian Randall

Read by Amanda Alcántara

Ages 8+ | Listening Library | 7.25 hrs. | Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award

Amanda Alcántara’s vivacious narration embodies the sarcastic voice of 12-year-old Pilar Ramirez in an audiobook that blends the poetry of images and the music of language. Pilar grew up hearing stories of the horrors of Dominican dictator Trujillo and myths of the fictional boogeyman called El Cuco. Pilar dreams of finding her missing cousin, Natasha, and recording her story as a documentary. She never imagines being magically transported to Zafa, a supernatural world full of fantastical creatures—and danger. Alcántara makes dialogue sparkle, humor warm, action speedy, villains threatening, and Pilar an unforgettable, bighearted heroine.  Review »

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Story by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

Read by Kristen Ariza

Ages 8+ | Listening Library | 8.5 hrs.

Kristen Ariza’s warm and lively narration suits a sweet and funny story of a “patchwork family” that is learning to live together in Harlem. Eleven-year-old Bo is knocked for a loop when she and her Mum move in with Bill, Mum’s kindhearted boyfriend. Ariza captures the joyful voices of the many residents of Bill’s brownstone: his overly enthusiastic daughter, Sunday; the lively twins, Lili and Lee; the twins’ Jamaican American parents, plus a whole menagerie of animals. Listeners will love adventuring around the city with these new sisters as their guides and will cheer as Bo finds her place in her new family. Review »

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Someone Like Me- How One Undocumented Girl Fought for Her American Dream

Story by Julissa Arce

Read by Julissa Arce

Ages 10+ | Hachette Audio | 4 hrs.

Julissa Arce tells the story of her childhood in Mexico and her teen years as an undocumented immigrant in the U.S. She narrates with a heartfelt delivery, sounding like a friend revealing her hidden tragic past. Before she became a vice president at Goldman Sachs, she was the youngest daughter in a family that prized education. As a middle schooler, she joined her parents in Texas, but after her tourist visa expired she lived in fear of discovery. Despite enduring abuse and trauma, she earned stellar grades and SAT scores only to find more barriers to the American dream. Arce’s story shows that immigrant teens deserve more opportunities. Review »

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Temple Alley Summer: Audiobook

Story by Sachiko Kashiwaba and Avery Fischer Udagawa [Trans.]

Read by Traci Kato-Kiriyama

Ages 8+ | Yonder | 5.75 hrs. | AudioFile Earphones Award

Narrator Traci Kato-Kiriyama infuses this charming translated novel with the perfect sense of dreamy wonder. Practical Kazu doesn’t really believe in ghosts. But there is a new girl at school whom everyone else seems to know, and he could swear he first saw her in the moonlight outside his house. Kato-Kiriyama’s voice for Kazu is bright and a little husky, and she delivers engaging character voices for Kazu’s companions. The narration of the manga story within the story has a more wistful tone. Listeners will feel transported to Japan and fantastical worlds beyond. Review »

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Just Roll with It: Audiobook

Story by Veronica Agarwal and Lee Durfey-Lavoie

Read by Sheena Kamal, Danice Cabanela, Almarie Guerra, Curt Bonnem, and Lisa Cordileone

Ages 8+ | Listening Library | 2.25 hrs. | AudioFile Earphones Award

A full cast of skilled narrators brings this engaging graphic novel to life on audio. Sheena Kamal portrays Maggie, a shy RPG-loving girl entering sixth grade. Listeners hear her anxiety about the new year—and a mysterious monster at school. Narrator Almarie Guerra guides listeners through the story, smoothly describing the visual cues for listeners. A lively cast, sound effects, and music help set the scenes at school—and in fantastical gaming sessions and dreams. Listeners learn that Maggie has a hard time making choices without her 20-sided die, but loving support from family and friends, and a new therapist, all help her find a clear path ahead. Review »

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This list, 5 Excellent Audiobooks For Ages 8 and Up, 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.

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March 12, 2022 at 12:41PM Bianca Schulze