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January 1&15, 2017 BOOKLIST
Find more Booklist Editors' Choice
Anna and the Swallow Man. By Gavriel Savit. Read by Allan Corduner. 2016. 6.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $40 (9781101891834). Gr. 8–11.
Corduner’s masterful performance underlines the effect of war on innocent bystanders. He skillfully animates characters while keeping a tight control on each chilling plot twist.
Carry On. By Rainbow Rowell. Read by Euan Morton. 2015. 13.5hr. Macmillan, CD, $39.99 (9781427262028). Gr. 10–12.
Morton makes this romantic fantasy in a fan-fiction Harry Potter–like world sing with infinite variety through his captivating narration, at turns gripping, funny, sexy, shocking, and magical.
The Eloise Audio Collection. By Kay Thompson. Read by Bernadette Peters.
2015. 1.5hr. Simon & Schuster Audio, CD, $14.99 (9781442391741). Gr. 1–4.
Peters lends her voice to the beloved children’s book character and transports listeners to another era with an exuberant portrayal of the six-year-old Plaza Hotel resident and her adventures.
The Firefly Code. By Megan Frazer Blakemore. Read by Cassandra Morris.
2016. 8hr. Recorded Books, CD, $77.75 (9781501931758). Gr. 3–6.
Morris’ excellent performance transforms Blakemore’s imaginative coming-of-age story about a not-so-idyllic utopia into a must-listen, as the youthful cast learns about friendship, family, and individuality.
Grayling’s Song. By Karen Cushman. Read by Katherine Kellgren. 2016. 5hr. Recorded Books, CD, $46.75 (9781501916922). Gr. 5–8.
Kellgren’s tour de force narration enchants listeners, as she reads and sings her way through Cushman’s magical story of Grayling, who is transformed from timid child to confident young woman. (Top of the List winner—Youth Audio.)
If I Was Your Girl. By Meredith Russo. Read by Samia Mounts. 2016. 7hr. Macmillan, CD, $34.99 (9781427272935). Gr. 9–12.
Actress Mounts’ penetrating performance intensifies this gorgeously written, powerful story of a transgender teen, her struggles, and her search for acceptance, love, and safety.
Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War.
By Steve Sheinkin. Read by Ray Porter. 2015. 8hr. Listening Library, CD, $45 (9780553552775). Gr. 6–9.
Porter’s fine narration, reminiscent of great old-time newscasters, complements the carefully constructed narrative, centered on the complicated web of events that swirled around America’s involvement in Vietnam.
Out of Darkness. By Ashley Hope Peréz. Read by Benita Robledo and Lincoln Hoppe. 2016. 12.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $65 (9780735289475). Gr. 9–12.
An actual school explosion in 1937 East Texas frames this story of racial tensions. Robledo beautifully captures individual personalities, while Hoppe’s reading of sections spoken by “the Gang,” the collective voice of the intolerant, terrifies.
The Raven King. By Maggie Stiefvater. Read by Will Patton. 2016. 12hr. Scholastic, CD, $39.99 (9780545649087). Gr. 9–12.
In this final fantasy series title, Patton flawlessly navigates the complicated plot and various characters, channeling the novel’s frenetic energy as the story hurtles toward its close.
Raymie Nightingale. By Kate DiCamillo. Read by Jenna Lamia. 2016. 4.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $30 (9781101917435). Gr. 4–7.
Lamia perfectly embodies the sensitive, thoughtful Raymie, who wants only to get back the father who abandoned her. A sweet, sad, and funny story.
Salt to the Sea. By Ruta Sepetys. Read by Jorjeana Marie and others.
2016. 9hr. Listening Library, CD, $45 (9780147525451). Gr. 9–12.
In this poignant story of a nearly forgotten WWII tragedy, four skilled narrators portray a Lithuanian nurse, a pregnant Polish girl, a Prussian artist-soldier, and a Nazi sailor, illuminating the pain, heroism, despair, hope, and heartbreak of war.
The Smell of Other People’s Houses. By Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock. Read by Jorjeana Marie and others. 2016. 5.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $35 (9780147523730). Gr. 9–12.
The landscape of Alaska, from Fairbanks to remote fishing villages, provides a provocative backdrop for this poignant and affecting domestic drama entangling four troubled teens, depicted by talented narrators in this stunning debut.
The Wild Robot. By Peter Brown. Read by Kate Atwater. 2016. 4hr. Hachette, CD, $25 (9781478938354). Gr. 3–6.
Atwater expertly voices Roz, a robot who survives a shipwreck and washes up on a wild island where she meets a delightful and amusingly voiced crew of native animals in this elegantly framed fable, enhanced by music and sound effects.
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