I was inspired after reading this article “Story Time for Big Kids” by Elissa Gershowitz. There are so many great tween reads out there that I honestly forget their equally compelling counterparts- the audio book. A strong narrator paired with an excellent story can create a rather magical audio experience. Gershowitz’s audio picks are aimed at the 12+ age crowd. So what audio treasures are buried out there for tweens?
Two years ago, Phyllis Levy Mandell wrote a wonderful piece called “Heard Any Good Books Lately?” for School Library Journal. She writes, “The narration, whether by a single voice actor or a full cast, must capitalize on the humor, drama, pathos, and all the other emotions of the text.”
- The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 1: The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud. Read by Simon Jones. “Jones’s narration is spot-on in this gripping tale.”-Mandell
- Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. Read by Nathaniel Parker. “Parker delivers the humorous dialogue with flawless voicing and pacing.”-Mandell
- A Series of Unfortunate Events, #1: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket. Read by Tim Curry. “Tim Curry perfectly voices the array of characters in this delightful, fast-paced, often humorous melodrama.”-Mandell
- Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko. Read by Kirby Heyborne. “Heyborne’s masterful narration conveys both Moose’s anger towards and concern for his sister.”-Mandell
**Check out her article for full length reviews and a variety of middle school age audio choices!**
Like celebrities reading out loud tween books? Then these might peak your interest:
- Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot. Read by Anne Hathaway.
- Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke. Read by Brendan Fraser.
- Sabriel by Garth Nix. Read by Tim Curry.
Connected Youth, part of the Austin Public Library, has an exceptional audio page also worth checking out.
Tweens vary in age, so why not have a list that groups the best audio books by different age groups? Travel Savvy Mom did just that and wrote a blog entry called the Best Audio Book for Kids. What’s great is that she has an 8-9 group, 10-11 and 12+up, a division of ages you rarely get on review sites that typically lump those ages altogether.