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A full cast of expert narrators depict wholly believable characters and suffuse them with deep emotions in this magical adventure, featuring an intrepid orphan, a princess, pirates, and an evil mage.
The Hate U Give. By Angie Thomas. Read by Bahni Turpin. 2017. 12hr. Harper, CD, $24.99 (9780062677082). Gr. 9–12.
Turpin masterfully portrays the anguish, confusion, and anger of a young girl, caught between the worlds of her white school and black neighborhood when violence erupts. (Top of the List Winner—Youth Audio)
The Inquisitor’s Tale; or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog. By Adam Gidwitz. Read by Adam Gidwitz and others. 2016. 10.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $40 (9780735287389). Gr. 5–8.
Performed by a full cast of talented narrators, this sweeping adventure set in medieval France stars three extraordinary children who battle the king in a provocative tale that deals with contemporary issues: religion, class, and race.
La Belle Sauvage. By Philip Pullman. Read by Michael Sheen. 2017. 13.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $60 (9780525522997). Gr. 7–12.
Sheen’s powerful narration captures the emotional tone and raw excitement in this long-awaited prequel to Pullman’s His Dark Materials, as danger stalks the baby Lyra.
Princess Cora and the Crocodile. By Laura Amy Schlitz. Read by Davina Porter. 2017. 30min. Recorded Books, CD, $15.75 (9781501959035). Gr. 1–3.
In Porter’s delicious reading of this hilarious tale, even kings and queens can be helicopter parents, and little princesses overscheduled, underappreciated, and fed up.
Refugee. By Alan Gratz. Read by Michael Goldstrom and others. 2017. 8hr. Scholastic, CD, $34.99 (9781338191073). Gr. 7–10.
Exceptional readers Goldstrom, Kyla Garcia, and Assaf Cohen tackle Gratz’s compelling novel, which intertwines the stories of three young refugees from different countries and eras.
See You in the Cosmos. By Jack Cheng. Read by Kivlighan de Montebello and others. 2017. 6hr. Listening Library, CD, $35 (9781524750022). Gr. 4–7.
As 11-year-old Alex, de Montebello celebrates the spirit of a young boy who makes sound recordings to send into space. A full cast and authentic sound effects enhance the production.
Trombone Shorty. By Troy Andrews. Read by Dion Graham. 2017. 1hr. Live Oak, CD, $12.95 (9781430125945). Gr. 3–5.
Propelled by Graham’s rich, evocative voice and fabulous sound effects, including bursts of exuberant music, this beautifully produced audio presentation of Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews’ autobiography is a gem.
Turtles All the Way Down. By John Green. Read by Kate Rudd. 2017. 7.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $35 (9780525591047). Gr. 9–12.b
Rudd’s remarkable reading perfectly complements Green’s thoughtful and touching novel, which immerses listeners in the world of teenage Aza, who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Vassa in the Night. By Sarah Porter. Read by Madeleine Maby. 2017. 11hr. Recorded Books, CD, $97.75 (9781501947933). Gr. 9–12.
Maby’s wonderfully effective narration, filled with whimsy and menace, complements this dark fairy-tale retelling set in a bewitched Brooklyn and starring Vassa, who battles internal and external forces.
The War I Finally Won. By Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. Read by Jayne Entwistle. 2017. 9hr. Listening Library, CD, $55 (9780525493631). Gr. 4–7.
Entwistle’s captivating characterizations and exquisite reading perfectly match the tone of this unforgettable historical novel, sequel to the Odyssey Award–winning The War That Saved My Life. (2015).
When the Sea Turned to Silver. By Grace Lin. Read by Kim Mai Guest. 2016. 7.5hr. Hachette, CD, $24 (9781478912538). Gr. 3–5.
In her compelling narration of this quest tale flavored with Chinese folktales, Guest masterfully depicts Pinmel, who seeks to rescue her grandmother from the wicked Tiger Emperor.
The Wonderling. By Mira Bartók. Read by Simon Vance. 2017. 9.5hr. Brilliance, CD, $24.99 (9781536685640). Gr. 4–7.
Vance calls on his vast vocal repertoire for a seemingly endless supply of voices, tics, accents, dialects, and brogues to voice this imaginative fantasy adventure’s many half-human, half-animal characters, who escape an orphanage in search of their destinies.
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