One Night in Ikea and a Pet Black Hole | Middle Grade Audiobooks Coming Out in September

Bartok, Mira. The Wonderling. Blackstone. ISBN 9781536685640. Reader TBA.
Gr 3-7–Welcome to the Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures, an institution run by evil Miss Carbunkle, a cunning villainess who believes her terrified young charges exist only to serve and suffer. Part animal and part human, the groundlings toil in classroom and factory, forbidden to enjoy anything regular children have, most particularly singing and music. For the Wonderling, an innocent-hearted, one-eared, fox-like 11-year-old, it is the only home he has ever known. But unexpected courage leads him to acquire the loyalty of a young bird groundling named Trinket, who gives the Home’s loneliest inhabitant two incredible gifts: a real name—Arthur, like the good king in the old stories—and a best friend.

Blejwas, Emily. Once You Know This. Listening Library. ISBN 9780525495895. Reader TBA.
Gr 5-8–Eleven-year-old Brittany knows there has to be a better world out there. Lately, though, it sure doesn’t feel like it. She and her best friend, Marisol, stick together at school, but at home Brittany’s granny is sick, her cat is missing, there’s never any money, and there’s her little brother, Tommy, to worry about. Brittany has a hard time picturing her future as anything but a plain white sky. If her life is going to ever change, she needs a plan. And once she starts believing in herself, Brittany realizes that what has always seemed out of reach might be just around the corner.

Cuevas, Michelle. The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole. Listening Library. ISBN 9780525527206. Reader TBA.
Gr 5-8–When 11-year-old Stella Rodriguez shows up at NASA to request that her recording be included in Carl Sagan’s Golden Record, something unexpected happens: A black hole follows her home, and sets out to live in her house as a pet. The black hole swallows everything he touches, which is challenging to say the least—but also turns out to be a convenient way to get rid of those items that Stella doesn’t want around. Soon the ugly sweaters her aunt has made for her all disappear within the black hole, as does the smelly class hamster she’s taking care of, and most important, all the reminders of her dead father that are just too painful to have around. It’s not until Stella, her younger brother, Cosmo, the family puppy, and even the bathroom tub all get swallowed up by the black hole that Stella comes to realize she has been letting her own grief consume her. And that’s not the only thing she realizes as she attempts to get back home.

Hagen, George. Gabriel Finley and the Lord of Air and Darkness. Listening Library. ISBN 9780525497059. Read by Michael Goldstrom.
Gr 5-8–Gabriel Finley is longing to find his mother, who vanished without a trace when he was just a baby. Along with Gabriel’s raven, Paladin—with whom he has a magical bond that enables them to become one creature and fly—and his three friends, he ventures back to the ruined underground city of Aviopolis to free her from the rune in which she has been imprisoned. But Aviopolis is home to Corax, the Lord of Air and Darkness, who is also Gabriel’s uncle. And before Tabitha Finley is released, Gabriel must answer a riddle…or else be imprisoned for eternity within a rune himself.

Hautman, Pete. Slider. Blackstone. ISBN 9781536685527. Reader TBA.
Gr 3-7–David can eat an entire 16-inch pepperoni pizza in four minutes and thirty-six seconds. Not bad. But he knows he can do better. In fact, he’ll have to do better: he’s going to compete in the Super Pigorino Bowl, the world’s greatest pizza-eating contest, and he has to win it, because he borrowed his mom’s credit card and accidentally put $2,000 on it. So he really needs that prize money. Like, yesterday. As if training to be a competitive eater weren’t enough, he’s also got to keep an eye on his little brother, Mal. And don’t even get started on the new weirdness going on between his two best friends, Cyn and HeyMan.

LaFleur, Suzanne. Threads of Blue. Listening Library. ISBN 9780525496762. Read by Christy Carlson Romano.
Gr 5-8–A war took Mathilde away from her family when she was chosen to serve her country, Sofarende, with other children working on a secret military project. But now the other children—including her best friend, Megs—have fled to safety, and Mathilde is all alone, determined to complete her mission.

Levinson, Sanford & Cynthia Levinson. Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws that Affect Us Today. Listening Library. ISBN 9780525524953. Read by Arthur Morey & Mark Bramhall.
Gr 6-8–The Levinsons take readers back to the creation of this historic document and discuss how contemporary problems were first introduced–then they offer possible solutions. Think Electoral College, gerrymandering, even the Senate. Many of us take these features in our system for granted. But they came about through haggling in an overheated room in 1787, and we’re still experiencing the ramifications.

Lewis, J. Patrick. Blackbeard the Pirate King. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781428191822. Read by John McDonough.
Gr 4-7–Cutlass held high above his head, tangled beard shining black as the deepest night, the Pirate King struck fear into the heart of any sailor fool enough to venture out onto the high seas. This daring buccaneer may have been born with the name Edward Teach, but the swashbuckling terror would forever be known as Blackbeard. “Tall as a waterfall” and “strong as a rum-soaked cask,” Blackbeard lives on in countless tales of seafaring exploits.

Moore, David Barclay. The Stars Beneath Our Feet. Listening Library. ISBN 9781524782474. Read by Nile Bullock.
Gr 5-8–It’s Christmas Eve in Harlem, but 12-year-old Lolly Rachpaul and his mom aren’t celebrating. They’re still reeling from his older brother’s death in a gang-related shooting just a few months earlier. Then Lolly’s mother’s girlfriend brings him a gift that will change everything: two enormous bags filled with Legos. Lolly’s always loved Legos, and he prides himself on following the kit instructions exactly. Now, faced with a pile of building blocks and no instructions, Lolly must find his own way forward. His path isn’t clear—and the pressure to join a “crew,” as his brother did, is always there. When Lolly and his friend are beaten up and robbed, joining a crew almost seems like the safe choice. But building a fantastical Lego city at the community center provides Lolly with an escape—and an unexpected bridge back to the world.

Newman, Catherine. One Mixed-Up Night. Listening Library. ISBN 9781524781965. Read by Monika Felice Smith.
Gr 5-8–Frankie and Walter aren’t really running away. Just like the kids in their favorite book, they are running to somewhere. Specifically, a massive furniture store. They’ve been obsessed with the Ikea catalog for years. So they make a plan, pack their backpacks, and give their parents the sleepover switcheroo. One night all on their own, with no grown-ups or little brothers. One night of couch jumping, pillow forts, and unlimited soda refills. One night of surprises and twinkle lights and secrets they have each been keeping—and waiting to share.

Romero, R.M. The Dollmaker of Karkow. Listening Library. ISBN 9781524782573. Read by Abby Craden & Robert Fass.
Gr 5-8–Karolina is a living doll whose king and queen have been overthrown. But when a strange wind spirits her away from the Land of the Dolls, she finds herself in Kraków, Poland, in the company of the Dollmaker, a man with an unusual power and a marked past. The Dollmaker has learned to keep to himself, but Karolina’s courageous and compassionate manner lead him to smile and to even befriend a violin-playing father and his daughter. But their newfound happiness is dashed when Nazi soldiers descend upon Poland. Karolina and the Dollmaker quickly realize that their Jewish friends are in grave danger, and they are determined to help save them, no matter what the risks.

Twain, Mark & Philip C. Stead. The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine. Listening Library. ISBN 9780525498704. Reader TBA.
Gr 5-8–In a hotel in Paris one evening in the 1879, Mark Twain sat with his young daughters, who begged their father for a story. Choosing a picture from a magazine to get started, Twain began telling them the tale of Johnny, a poor boy in possession of some magical seeds, who finds himself on a quest to rescue a stolen prince. Later, Twain would jot down some rough notes about the story, but the tale was left unfinished—until now. Using Twain’s fragmentary script and a story that stops partway as his guide, Stead has written a tale that imagines what might have been if Twain had fully realized this work.

Vrabel, Beth. Caleb and Kit. Blackstone. ISBN 9781478994763. Reader TBA.
Gr 3-7–Twelve-year-old Caleb is shorter, frailer, and more protected than most kids his age. That’s because he has cystic fibrosis, a diagnosis meaning lungs that fill with mucus and a shortened lifespan. Caleb tries not to let his disorder define him, but it can be hard with an overprotective mom and a perfect big brother. Then Caleb meets Kit, and his world changes instantly. Kit reads Caleb’s palm and tells him they are destined to become friends. She calls birds down from the sky and turns every day into an adventure. Her magic is contagious, making Caleb question the rules and order in his life. But being Kit’s friend means embracing deception and danger, and soon Caleb will have to decide if his friendship with Kit is really what’s best for him—or her.

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Stephanie Klose About Stephanie Klose

Stephanie Klose (sklose@mediasourceinc.com, @sklose on Twitter) is Media Editor, Library Journal.

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