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February 15, 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Historical Fiction on Audio
Historical fiction works especially well in audio, since the medium allows youngsters to experience different eras, characters, and events through readers who vivify the historical settings and plots. —Sue-Ellen Beauregard
Countdown. By Deborah Wiles. Read by Emma Galvin. 2011. 7.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $40 (9780307879677). Gr. 5–7.
Set in 1962, this outstanding title centers on 11-year-old Fanny Chapman, whose personality is vividly captured by Galvin in tones of both innocence and snarkiness as the youngster deals with fears induced by the Cuban missile crisis. Radio snippets, song excerpts, and other sounds help communicate significant events.
Cyrano. By Geraldine McCaughrean. Read by Cynthia Bishop and others. 2011. 2.5hr. Full Cast, CD, $34 (9781936223152). Gr. 7–10.
Filled with sound effects and original music, this full-cast retelling of the timeless play about Cyrano de Bergerac is an appealing choice for both romance and historical fiction fans.
Death Cloud. By Andrew Lane. Read by Dan Weyman. 2011. 7hr. AudioGO, CD, $64.95 (9780792775676). Gr. 6–9.
Dramatic music sets the mood in this title starring teenage Sherlock Holmes, who confronts his first mystery during the summer of 1868 at his uncle’s estate. Weyman appropriately adjusts tone, pacing, and accents in this stirring audio.
The Haunting of Charles Dickens. By Lewis Buzbee. Read by Ralph Lister. 2010. 10hr. Brilliance, CD, $79.97 (9781423369509). Gr. 5–8.
Twelve-year-old Meg and author Charles Dickens become embroiled in a mystery involving Meg’s missing brother. Lister’s fluid reading helps establish characters and the Victorian London setting.
The Lily Pond. By Annika Thor. Read by Amy Rubinate. 2011. 5hr. Listening Library, CD, $40 (9780307942579). Gr. 5–8.
This sequel to A Faraway Island (2009) focuses on 13-year-old Stephie Steiner, who goes to live with a wealthy family in Sweden while her parents remain in Nazi-occupied Austria. Rubinate’s excellent narration matches the superlative title.
Okay for Now. By Gary D. Schmidt. Read by Lincoln Hoppe. 2011. 9hr. Listening Library, CD, $40 (9780307915948). Gr. 6–9.
Hoppe’s pitch-perfect reading enhances this companion to 2008 Newbery Honor title The Wednesday Wars as he carefully crafts the unforgettable voice of eighth-grader Doug Swieteck, who moves with his family to upstate New York in 1968.
R My Name Is Rachel. By Patricia Reilly Giff. Read by Cynthia Holloway. 2011. 3hr. Listening Library, CD, $27 (9780307941862). Gr. 3–6.
Twelve-year-old Rachel is put in charge of the family after her father finds work in Canada in 1933. Holloway expressively portrays Rachel and her siblings, a prissy younger sister and a carefree brother.
Riot. By Walter Dean Myers. Read by Dan Oreskes and others. 2009. 2.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $30 (9780307583406). Gr. 7–12.
Based on the New York draft riots of 1863, when Irish immigrants revolted against “dying for darkies” in the Civil War, and written in screenplay format, the novel works well as a full-cast production.
Vixen. By Jillian Larkin. Read by Abby Craden. 2010. 12hr. Listening Library, CD, $44 (9780307746931). Gr. 9–12.
Craden portrays suave musicians, rough gangsters, society mavens, and four Jazz Age teen friends in this enjoyable recording of this debut Flapper series title, set in Chicago during the Roaring Twenties.
Wrapped. By Jennifer Bradbury. Read by Elissa Steele. 2011. 8.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $37 (9780307941794). Gr. 7–10.
After debutante Agnes Wilkins finds a small jackal figure at a London party in 1815, she discovers the jackal is a missing piece in a spy drama. Steele imparts elegance to Agnes and her upper-class friends and speaks in various European accents for others.
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