5 YA Poetry Audiobooks Read By the Author

Poetry is meant to be read aloud. The words and rhythms come alive when they’re spoken, which is why we are so fortunate to be living in a time where audiobooks—and narrated by the author, no less!—are readily available. To celebrate National Poetry Month, we recommend these five YA poetry audiobooks—two novels-in-verse, one memoir, one collection of poetry, and one short story in verse—all read by the authors.

The Poet XThe Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Poet X has collected multiple accolades—the Printz Award, the National Book Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, to name a few—and for good reason. It’s the powerful story of teenage Xiomara, who dreams of partaking in slam poetry and is struggling to find her voice. The audiobook is a powerful performance by the author, who has a background in slam poetry as well.

Long Way DownLong Way Down by Jason Reynolds

It’s hard to say which is the best way to experience Long Way Down—print or audio. It’s such a short book, I recommend both. The performance Jason Reynolds puts in is heartrending, really capturing the emotion of Will, whose brother has just been murdered and now must decide if he’ll choose revenge or forge a different path.

ShoutShout by Laurie Halse Anderson

Twenty years after her groundbreaking novel Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson has given us her own memoir of sexual assault and survivorship. Half her own story of being a young person and half a story of reclaiming and finding your voice, Laurie’s story is searing and her voice commands your attention.

the princess saves herself in this one book coverThe Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace

Amanda Lovelace’s first book of poetry became wildly popular due to the way she explores the realities of trauma and abuse through fairytale imagery, turning the classic stories into something empowering. The poet’s voice both lulls and unsettles the listener, making this book one that you’ll want to listen to multiple times.

Love at First BookLove at First Book by Sarah Tregay

This short story in verse is a romantic, uplifting read about finding love and hope after loss, without being too heavy. If you like books, cute coffee shops, and meet cutes, this story is for you. Sarah Tregay is one of the best author-narrators I’ve ever come across, and I could have listened to her read to me for hours on end.

What are some of your favorite YA poetry audiobooks?

8 Wonderful Books in Verse

This list of books in verse is sponsored by Libby, the one-tap reading app from your library and OverDrive.

Meet Libby. The award-winning reading app that makes sure you always have something to read. It’s like having your entire library right in your pocket. Download the app today and get instant access to thousands of ebooks and audiobooks for free thanks to your public library and OverDrive.

Sometimes books are

written in this format.

And if you’ve ever wondered

what it was called,

it’s known as “verse.”

There are a LOT of

great books written in verse,

many of them novels,

and some even memoirs.

Here are 8 such examples

whether you’re new to books in verse,

or looking for new recommendations.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline WoodsonBrown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

This National Book Award and Newbery Honor winner is about Woodson’s experiences growing up in the 1960s and ’70s as an African American, her growing awareness of Jim Crow, the Civil Rights movement, and her struggle to find her identity and place in the world. (The paperback edition of this includes seven bonus poems.)

Long Way Down by Jason ReynoldsLong Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Another fantastic award-winner! This one is about a teen named Will. His brother has just been murdered in gang violence, and now Will is taking the elevator down from their apartment to seek revenge. He even has a gun he found in his brother’s room. But the elevator keeps stopping, letting on people from Will’s past. Which is alarming…because some of them are dead.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra CisnerosThe House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

This is closer to a series of small poetic vignettes, but I’m still including it because it’s wonderful. It’s the touching story of Esperanza Cordero, a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, and her use of poems and stories to express her frustrations and amazement with the world around her.

blood water paintBlood Water Paint by Joy McCullough

This beautiful, brutal book is based on the amazing true story of the famous Italian painter, Artemisia Gentileschi, who was assaulted by her instructor at 17, and whose father successfully sued him in court. (For damage to property, which is awful, but still.) Her story is combined with the tale of two of her painting subjects, ancient heroines Susanna and Judith.

Sharp Teeth by Toby BarlowSharp Teeth by Toby Barlow

Bet you didn’t realize a werewolf novel in verse was a thing you needed until now, but here we are. It’s about L.A. gang wars between rival factions of an ancient race of lycanthropes, and the dog catcher who gets caught up in all their drama. It’s f-u-n.

The Poet X cover imageThe Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Another National Book Award winner (as well as many other awards)! It’s about a teenager named Xiomara Batista, who writes all her frustrations about the world, school, and her strict religious mother, down in her many, many notebooks. But when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry group, she must decide if she will follow her heart or obey her mother.

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai coverInside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Lai’s fictional account of her own experience as a child, fleeing Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon and immigrating to Alabama. This is the story of Hà, who is headed to a new life in America with her family, and what she experiences as an immigrant in a new country. Like a few others on this list, this book also won the National Book Award. (Note to self: If I want to win a National Book Award, consider writing in verse.)

autobiography of redAutobiography of Red by Anne Carson

And last, but not least, a modern classic. Both novel and poem, Autobiography of Red is a present-day recreation of a Greek myth. It’s about Geryon, a young boy who is also a winged red monster, and his emotional, tumultuous relationships with his abusive brother and adoring mother. As he grows up and becomes a photographer, he connects and reconnects with his love, a young drifter named Herakles.