March is reading month and there’s no better time than now to explore the amazing world of audiobooks with your family! Audiobooks are a fantastic way to take in great literary pieces and the wonderful thing about audiobooks is that you can take them with you throughout your day. A lot of people enjoy listening to audiobooks in the car or as they are doing chores around the house. They can also take them anywhere else their phone/tablet/laptop can go because thanks to the plethora of audiobook apps, you can listen right from your handheld device!
Audiobooks can be a fun option to keep your kids engaged in reading when reading doesn’t quite seem to be something they are into. We’ve compiled some great audiobook options for your tweens and teens that are sure to pique their interest. Don’t forget to check out our top apps for downloading audiobooks! There are some great options that range from free to subscription-based companies out there. Without further ado, here are some stellar options for your student to further explore:
Audiobook Recommendations for Middle School Students
A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning
by Lemony Snicket, narrated by a full cast, featuring Tim Curry
Are you made fainthearted by death? Does fire unnerve you? Is a villain something that might crop up in future nightmares of yours? Are you thrilled by nefarious plots? Is cold porridge upsetting to you? Vicious threats? Hooks? Uncomfortable clothing?
It is likely that your answers will reveal A Series of Unfortunate Events to be ill-suited for your personal use. A librarian, bookseller, or acquaintance should be able to suggest books more appropriate for your fragile temperament. But to the rarest of readers we say, “Proceed, but cautiously.”
Boy: Tales of Childhood
by Roald Dahl, narrated by Dan Stevens
Find out where the bestselling author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG got all his wonderful story ideas in this autobiographical account of his childhood!
From his own life, of course! As full of excitement and the unexpected as his world-famous, best-selling books, Roald Dahl’s tales of his own childhood are completely fascinating and fiendishly funny. Did you know that Roald Dahl nearly lost his nose in a car accident? Or that he was once a chocolate candy tester for Cadburys? Have you heard about his involvement in the Great Mouse Plot of 1924? If not, you don’t yet know all there is to know about Roald Dahl. Sure to captivate and delight you, the boyhood antics of this master storyteller are not to be missed!
When You Reach Me
by Rebecca Stead, narrated by Cynthia Holloway
Shortly after a fall-out with her best friend, sixth grader Miranda starts receiving mysterious notes, and she doesn’t know what to do. The notes tell her that she must write a letter—a true story, and that she can’t share her mission with anyone.
It would be easy to ignore the strange messages, except that whoever is leaving them has an uncanny ability to predict the future. If that is the case, then Miranda has a big problem—because the notes tell her that someone is going to die, and she might be too late to stop it.
The Mighty Miss Malone*
by Christopher Paul Curtis, narrated by Bahni Turpin
“We are a family on a journey to a place called wonderful” is the motto of Deza Malone’s family. Deza is the smartest girl in her class in Gary, Indiana, singled out by teachers for a special path in life. But it’s 1936 and the Great Depression has hit Gary hard, and there are no jobs for black men. When her beloved father leaves to find work, Deza, Mother, and her older brother, Jimmie, go in search of him, and end up in a Hooverville outside Flint, Michigan. Jimmie’s beautiful voice inspires him to leave the camp to be a performer, while Deza and Mother find a new home, and cling to the hope that they will find Father. The twists and turns of their story reveal the devastation of the Depression and prove that Deza truly is the Mighty Miss Malone.
*Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter Series #1)
The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale
Harry Potter has never been the star of a Quidditch team, scoring points while riding a broom far above the ground. He knows no spells, has never helped to hatch a dragon, and has never worn a cloak of invisibility. All he knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley – a great big swollen spoiled bully. Harry’s room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn’t had a birthday party in eleven years.
But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to an incredible place that Harry – and anyone who reads about him – will find unforgettable. For it’s there that he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic in everything from classes to meals, but a great destiny that’s been waiting for him… if Harry can survive the encounter.
Audiobook Recommendations for High School Students
Code Name Verity
by Elizabeth Wein, narrated by Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell
Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.
When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution. As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?
by Bram Stoker, narrated by Alan Cumming and a full cast
When Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania to meet with the mysterious Count Dracula, he ends up enslaved by the vampire who wants to learn about England. Leaving Harker for dead, Dracula travels to London where he begins to menace Harker’s fiancée, Mina, and her beautiful friend, Lucy. After escaping from Dracula’s castle, Harker returns to London where he meets Abraham Van Helsing who may have a way to destroy the blood-sucking monster! Originally published in 1897, Dracula is one of the best-selling and most influential novels of all time.
Eleanor and Park
by Rainbow Rowell, narrated by Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhtra
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.
A 2014 Michael L. Printz Honor Book for Excellence in Young Adult Literature
Winner of the 2013 Boston Globe Horn Book Award for Best Fiction Book.
A Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of 2013
A New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of 2013
A Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2013
An NPR Best Book of 2013
by E.M. Kokie, narrated by Nick Podehl
Ever since his brother, T.J., was killed in Iraq, Matt feels like he’s been sleepwalking through life — failing classes, getting into fights, and avoiding his dad’s lectures about following in his brother’s footsteps. T.J.’s gone, but Matt can’t shake the feeling that if only he could get his hands on his brother’s stuff from Iraq, he’d be able to make sense of his death. But as Matt searches for answers about T.J.’s death, he faces a shocking revelation about T.J.’s life that suggests he may not have known T.J. as well as he thought. What he learns challenges him to stand up to his father, honor his brother’s memory, and take charge of his own life. With compassion, humor, and a compelling narrative voice, E. M. Kokie explores grief, social mores, and self-discovery in a provocative first novel.
by Libba Bray, narrated by January LaVoy
Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City–and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.
Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.
Printz Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Libba Bray opens a brand-new historical series with The Diviners, where the glittering surface of the Roaring Twenties hides a mystical horror creeping across the country.
There are a ton of apps and websites that allow you to download audiobooks. Some charge a fee for each download or charge monthly subscription fees, and others are free to members. Here are a few apps to check out when you are ready to start downloading:
- Audible (Android, iOS: $14.95 per month subscription)
- Audio Books by Audiobooks.com (Android, iOS: $14.95 per month subscription)
- Bookmobile (iOS: $3.99 after free trial)
- Nook Audiobooks (Android)
- OverDrive (Android, iOS: Free through your local library)
- Hoopla Digital (Android, iOS: Free through your local library)
We are so excited that you are giving audiobooks a try. The whole family is sure to love the experience! If your tween or teen tries one out and it doesn’t strike their fancy, give another one of our recommendations a shot. Books are definitely a personal preference, but the good news is there are thousands of books out there just waiting to be read (or listened to!). If you or your student has a favorite audiobook that you think others in the My Virtual Academy community might love, pop on over to our Facebook page and share the title(s) with us. We look forward to hearing from you!
All book descriptions were pulled from www.barnesandnoble.com