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Poetry, readalongs, fiction, nonfiction, and even a graphic novel make up the ten Booklist Editors’ Choice, 2020 audiobooks for youth list, each notable for performances that will resonate with young listeners.
Before the Ever After. By Jacqueline Woodson. Read by Guy Lockard. 2hr. Listening Library, DD, $34 (9780593341223). Gr. 5–8.
Lockard depicts the complicated emotions of a family grappling with traumatic brain injury, using pacing and tone to distinguish before and after times.
Clap When You Land. By Elizabeth Acevedo. Read by the author and Melania Luisa Marte. 5.5hr. Harper, DD, $29.99 (9780063011816). Gr. 8–12.
Novels-in-verse are ideal for audio, and novels in two voices are ideal for two narrators. In this perfectly cast, resonant performance, listeners get the very best of both. (Top of the List Winner—Youth Audio)
I Killed Zoe Spanos. By Kit Frick. Read by a full cast. 10hr. Simon & Schuster Audio, DD, $23.99 (9781797114620). Gr. 9–12.
Playing on the true-crime podcast trend, this dually narrated thriller is punctuated by a fully produced podcast.
The One and Only Bob. By Katherine Applegate. Read by Danny DeVito. 4hr. Harper, DD, $17.99 (9780063012639). Gr. 3–6.
Bob, the scrappy, streetwise dog, is the perfect character for DeVito’s familiarly wry, sarcastic voice. A treat for kids and their grownups.
The Overground Railroad. By Lesa Cline-Ransome. Read by Shayna Small and Dion Graham. 5hr. Live Oak, CD, $31.95 (9781430144250). PreS–Gr. 3.
The story of the Great Migration comes to life here, and is enhanced in the readalong packaging.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You. By Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. Read by the authors. 4hr. Hachette, DD, $24.98 (9781549184253). Gr. 7–12.
In what is billed as a “remix” of Kendi’s influential work, Reynolds carries the remix motif into his delivery, using his poet’s sensibility to relate to listeners of all ages.
Starting from Seneca Falls. By Karen Schwabach. Read by Bernadette Dunne. 4.5hr. Listening Library, DD, $38 (9780593208274). Gr. 3–6.
With a subtle Irish brogue and a wee bit of magic, Dunne voices a most entertaining introduction to the importance of Seneca Falls in 1848.
This Is Your Time. By Ruby Bridges. Read by the author. 5hr. Listening Library, DD, $22 (9780593401941). Gr. 4–7.
Hearing Bridges speak her truth brings a contemporary realism to a life that, to many young people, might otherwise seem of a distant time.
Where We Go from Here. By Lucas Rocha. Read by a full cast. 9hr. Scholastic, DD, $74.99 (9781338637762). Gr. 9–12.
Three narrators with authentic accents evoke the story of three young gay men navigating life in the presence of HIV.
When Stars Are Scattered. By Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed. Read by a full cast. 4hr. Listening Library, DD, $38 (9780593162590). Gr. 6–8.
The audio adaptation of Omar Mohamed’s graphic autobiography offers perfection in storytelling, format shifting, and performance, and a truly #OwnVoices production.
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