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Audiobooks for tween and teen boys

CHILDREN’S BOOKS | Stories of adventure, heroism, and friendship

Audiobooks for tween and teen boys
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Jack Zulu and the Waylander’s Key

S.D. Smith & J.C. Smith
(Story Warren Books 2022)

Twelve-year-old baseball prodigy Jack Zulu lives in small-town West Virginia. When his friend Mr. Wheeler introduces him to a far-away world called Wayland, Jack and two friends become acolytes in a magical school there. They train to help Mr. Wheeler and others oppose Rancast, a powerful but dangerous immortal. This story, which The Green Ember author S.D. Smith co-wrote with his son, will entertain and edify young readers, although it isn’t as evenly developed as earlier works. Accomplished voice actor Zeno Robinson adds excitement and energy to this tale ­prizing friendship, adventure, and honor. Ages 9-12

Devotion (Young Readers Edition)

Adam Makos
(Listening Library 2022)

Dominic Hoffman narrates the audiobook version of Adam Makos’ Devotion (Young Readers Edition), which powerfully presents the real story of Jesse Brown, the first black Navy pilot, and his committed wingman, Tom Hudner. When Brown is shot down in Korea, Hudner risks his life to save him. Some characters in this story engage in ungodly behaviors (drunkenness, bad ­language, racism), and Makos includes war ­violence, though in a muted way. Still, the heroes provide godly models and Makos doesn’t hide characters’ Christian faith. A final chapter includes a ­poignant letter by Jesse to his wife, which includes God-honoring sexual content younger teens might want to skip. Ages 12 & up

Michael Vey: The Parasite

Richard Paul Evans
(Simon & Schuster Audio 2022)

College student Michael Vey thinks he’s headed to a reunion/party with his gifted Electroclan friends—including his longtime girlfriend Taylor (who can read minds/disrupt thoughts), Frank (who can throw electricity from his body), and Cassy (who can freeze muscles). But when several Electroclan members go missing, Michael (the most ­powerful) leads the team to Peru to find his friends and prevent the Chasqui from releasing an unusual weapon of mass destruction. Evans provides crisp writing, fascinating characters, and a clean read (despite one teen’s ability to see under clothes) that will please both teens and Christian parents. Read by experienced audiobook narrator Fred Berman. Ages 12 & up

The Bluest Sky

Christina Diaz Gonzalez
(Listening Library 2022)

Giordan Diaz narrates this gripping story of a boy caught between the illusion and the reality of communist Cuba during the summer of 1980. On the surface, life in Fidel Castro’s regime doesn’t seem so bad to 11-year-old Héctor: Surrounded by loving family and friends, he’s a math whiz who hopes to represent his country in the International Math Olympiad. Héctor’s father, though, is an exile who escaped to the U.S. years earlier. The launch of the Mariel Boatlift gives Héctor’s family the chance to flee, too, but Héctor struggles with the deep cost of leaving everyone and everything he knows behind for an unknown future with a father he can barely remember. Ages 12 & up

Emily Whitten

Emily is a book critic and writer for WORLD. She is a World Journalism Institute and University of Mississippi graduate, previously worked at Peachtree Publishers, and developed a mother’s heart for good stories over a decade of homeschooling. Emily resides with her family in Nashville, Tenn.



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