Audiobooks for tweens and children, in general, are some of the best on the market. Do your tweens like audiobooks? Do you? If you do, then we’re in the same camp! I adore audiobooks. Truly, I do 60-80% of my reading on audio — it’s how I get through so many books in so little time.
Benefits of Audiobooks for Tweens
Many people feel like audiobooks don’t count as reading (wrong!), while some others have struggled to get into listening to audiobooks. If you need tips for enjoying audiobooks, this post I wrote a couple of years ago will help. If you’re wondering whether audiobooks are beneficial for tweens, here are three reasons to change your mind:
1. Improves comprehension skills
A 2016 study showed that people remember information the same, whether they’ve listened to a book or read it. Audiobooks help kids gain additional skills because they require the functioning of different parts of the brain than reading does. With audiobooks, kids can also listen to books above their usual reading level. For example, younger kids who may be unable to read chapter books on their own can listen to them on audio.
2. Fosters a love for stories
Audiobooks can create the same sense of warmth kids get from being read to. They also model reading for kids who are learning to read and the voices and accents (and sound effects in some!) can make reading and stories an incredibly enjoyable experience. This is especially useful for kids for whom English is a second language and for those with dyslexia — both of whom may benefit from reading the physical book while listening.
3. Family bonding
Long family road trip ahead? Whip out an audiobook for the entire family to enjoy. Families can also listen to audiobooks during joint activities like working on puzzles or preparing dinner. Some may find this a more refreshing alternative to endless screen time.
How to Find Cheap Audiobooks for Tweens (and Adults)
Throughout my years of audiobook listening, I’ve relied mostly on audiobook subscription services which allow you access to multiple books (or a stipulated number of audiobooks) for a fixed price per month. Sometimes, though, I just want one book and I either can’t find it on Scribd (my unlimited subscription service) or I’ve run out of Audible credits for the month.
If you use audiobooks you’ll know that they’re a bit pricey (compared to hard copies and ebooks) — which is where Chirp comes in. Chirp is a subscription-free audiobook service that brings you amazing limited-time deals on popular audiobooks, including New York Times bestsellers.
When you subscribe to their daily deals email, you’ll get the deals (as low as $1.99) delivered straight to your inbox. These titles will always be yours (unlike with Scribd). There’s no monthly commitment and you can listen on the go with their mobile app. The only caveat? Chirp is currently available to residents of the US and Canada.
I’m happy to be partnering with Chirp for this post. Chirp is giving all my readers (that’s you!) 30% off their first purchase when you use the promo code READINGMIDDLEGRADE30 (for any books on their site).
20 Best Audiobooks for Tweens
Here are 20 of my all-time favorite audiobooks for tweens:
Nikki on the Line
Published: March 5, 2019
Narrated by: Christine Lakin
Nikki on the Line is a fantastic, dynamic, and highly relatable middle grade book about identity, the ways family can be different for everyone and pursuing a love of basketball. This fast-paced, character-driven story also focuses on evolving friendships and the value of parents being involved in their children’s lives. The audiobook narrator brings Nikki to life and readers will feel her passion, indecision, and worries as she figures things out.
Published: January 8, 2019
Narrated by: Sarah Beth Goer, Oliver Wyman, Josh Hurley, Tristan Morris, Chris Gebauer, Sean Welsh Brown, Pete Larkin, Fred Berman, Jennifer Nittoso
This full-cast audiobook is phenomenal! The book is told from multiple perspectives: Mr. Kermit, Parker, Kiana, the principal, and some others — each by a different audiobook narrator. This really adds to the storytelling because having so many perspectives can get confusing on audio. The voices helped me easily tell the readers and perspectives apart.
Simon B Rhymin’
Published: March 2, 2021
Narrated by: Dwayne Reed
Simon B Rhymin’ is a refreshing middle grade book with a shy, talented rapping protagonist. However, this book goes beyond entertaining. It tackles a serious issue: homelessness. Readers who enjoy books with a strong sense of community, loyal friends, and Black tweens at the center will enjoy this new release. The audiobook is extra special because it’s narrated by the author and he raps in it!
Many Points of Me
Published: January 12, 2021
Narrated by: Jesse Vilinsky
This is a long, sometimes heavy story made lighter by an audiobook narrator who makes the main character relatable. Many Points of Me is a cleverly written, poignant middle-grade book about grieving a (famous) parent. Gertler deftly examines how grief can change us and how emotionally messy being a human can be.
Not Your All-American Girl
Published: July 7, 2020
Narrated by: Laurine Price
This audiobook also scores points for music — the narrator has a beautiful voice and performs in multiple scenes during the musical. Not Your All-American Girl is a vital look at racial prejudice in the 1980s through a fun, engaging lens. This middle-grade book showcases a strong biracial protagonist (Jewish-Chinese) who learns to embrace her identity with the help of her family and two boisterous grandmothers. The story centers around a fun school musical that will make this book appealing to fans of middle-grade books about music and musical theater.
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street
Published: October 3, 2017
Narrated by: Robin Miles
Robin Miles is the narrator for all the Vanderbeeker books and she does it so well! It makes it super easy to identify each Vanderbeeker child and is sure to delight any tween reader. The Vanderbeekers have always lived in the brownstone on 141st Street. It’s practically another member of the family. So when their reclusive, curmudgeonly landlord decides not to renew their lease, the five siblings have eleven days to do whatever it takes to stay in their beloved home and convince the dreaded Beiderman just how wonderful they are. And all is fair in love and war when it comes to keeping their home.
Save Me a Seat
Published: May 10, 2016
Narrated by: Josh Hurley, Vikas Adam
I adored this audiobook and loved that the narrators are American and Indian-American respectively, which fits perfectly with this book written from the POV of two narrators. Ravi and Joe become unlikely friends as they band together to defeat a school bully.
Related: 6 Books Like… Save Me a Seat
Published: September 12, 2017
Narrated by: Scott Lange
Packed with action, hilarity, and plenty of eating, the Slider audiobook is simply the only way to experience this story. Slider is an engaging, funny, true-to-life story about competitive eating, navigating friendship dilemmas, understanding an autistic sibling, and finding one’s place in their family. David is easy to love and the family dynamics in this story are truly heartwarming. I would totally hand this to anyone looking to read more “boy books.”
Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers
Published: September 3, 2019
Narrated by: Rebecca Soler
Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers is an engaging middle-grade novel with memorable, endearing, and passionate protagonists. This book sheds much-needed light on bird hunting and its effect on the avian species. It also highlights the importance of standing up for what you believe in. If you like bold, determined heroines, birds, and a good dose of summer mischief and adventure, you’ll enjoy this book! The audiobook brings this story to life.
Well, That Was Awkward
Published: February 28, 2017
Narrated by: Simone Policano
Parts of this unique book are written in text messages between four kids and I was hesitant to do audio for that reason. Quirks like that can make for confusing audiobook experiences. But the audiobook is surprisingly good. There’s a clever “ding” sound heralding all text conversations, which makes it easier to keep up. The actual story is also a lot of fun. I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking for humorous middle-grade books. Bonus points if you enjoy Cyrano retellings, kids in plays, or books set in NYC. This novel will fill you with nostalgia for middle school (or not) and the abundant drama and miscommunications.
Published: July 6, 2021
Narrated by: Mark Sanderlin
This is such a sweet audiobook! Secondhand Dogs is a sweet, heartwarming story about second chances and finding and protecting your pack — whether human or animal. Addressing serious issues like bullying and hurt cycles, this book is often poignant in its insights. If you love dog stories and stories full of heart that might make you shed a tear, this is one to read.
From the Desk of Zoe Washington
Published: January 14, 2020
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
If you’re new to the world of audiobooks, few people narrate as well as Bahni Turpin does. This is also a brilliant best-selling story that is soon to be made into a movie. From the Desk of Zoe Washington is a moving, true-to-life middle-grade novel that highlights just how potent perseverance can be — even when you’re just twelve. This book is one of those middle-grade novels that tackle issues without taking away the joy of the mundane.
The Parker Inheritance
Published: March 27, 2018
Narrated by: Cherise Boothe
This was one of my first audiobook experiences and it is so immersive! This historical fiction/mystery middle grade book is gripping and poignant.
The Science of Breakable Things
Published: August 4, 2020
Narrated by: Jennifer Kim
This is another unforgettable middle grade book that is excellently narrated. Newbery winner Tae Keller shines in her debut about a girl trying to save her mother from depression with some science and plenty of love.
The Last Super Chef
Published: July 6, 2021
Narrated by: Ramón de Ocampo
The Last Super Chef is an entertaining middle grade book about food, family, and finding your tribe. Set in a cooking competition between five kids with the backdrop of an intriguing mystery surrounding Curtis and Chef Taylor, this story provides plenty of highs and lows and a seriously mouth-watering experience. As an audiobook, it feels more like a cooking TV show than a book.
Published: September 15, 2020
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Another unmissable Bahni Turpin narration that pairs perfectly with this upper middle grade title from veteran author Paula Chase. Turning Point is a compulsively readable upper middle-grade book (more mature than the average but not quite YA) that explores a horde of important themes. This book handles everything from female friendships, body image, sexual harassment, religion, racial prejudice, to ballet.
More to the Story
Published: September 3, 2019
Narrated by: Priya Ayyar
More to the Story is a heartwarming, charming middle-grade novel about sisterhood, family, and following your passion. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for a wholesome, riveting middle-grade book. Narrator Priya Ayyar is a perfect fit.
Published: October 1, 1996
Narrated by: Keith Nobbs
This classic is full of hijinks and the audiobook is funny beyond belief. Your kids will ask you to play this story of the boy who kept calling a pen a frindle until you’re sick of it.
Ramona Quimby, Age 8
Published: March 17, 2020
Narrated by: Stockard Channing
Who doesn’t love Ramona? This classic is charming and will quickly become your kids’ favorite listening material.
Related: 10 Books Like… Ramona Quimby, Age 8
Fish in a Tree
Published: February 5, 2015
Narrated by: Kathleen McInerney
This story (and the audiobook) is so moving. Kathleen McInerny is a highly emotive narrator known for portraying strong female characters in challenging life situations. You’ll love meeting Ally and watching succeed against the odds.
This post was sponsored by Chirp! Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Reading Middle Grade running. Remember, when you use the promo code READINGMIDDLEGRADE30, you’ll get 30% off your first audiobook purchase for any books on the Chirp website.