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Find more Notable Children's Recordings
The Notable Children’s Recordings list includes recordings for children 14 years of age and younger of especially commendable quality that demonstrate respect for young people’s intelligence and imagination, exhibit venturesome creativity, and reflect and encourage the interests of children and young adolescents in exemplary ways. An asterisk indicates an Odyssey Award or Honor title.
Ahimsa. By Supriya Kelkar. Read by Zehra Jane Naqvi. 2019. 6h. Tantor, DD, $17.49 (9781541435582). Gr. 3–6.
Naqvi skillfully voices ten-year-old Anjali and her connection to the 1940s Indian freedom movement.
Bear Came Along. By Richard T. Morris. Read by Joshua Manning. 2020. 4m. Hachette, DD, $5.73 (9781549159442). Gr. PreS–1.
Inspired sound effects, music, and a lively reading add magic to this story of friends as they venture down the river.
The Best of Iggy. By Annie Barrows. Read by Kate Reinders. 2020. 1hr. Listening Library, DD, $22 (9780593162804). Gr. 3–6.
This hilarious performance brings high-energy, always-in-trouble Iggy to life in the first of a new series.
Cats Sit on You. By Story Pirates. Face Cake Records, CD, $13.99 (B08FP38RCQ). Gr. PreS–3.
Based on stories written by children, this upbeat and diverse mix of songs is full of harmonious fun.
*Clap When You Land. By Elizabeth Acevedo. Read by the author and Melania-Luisa Marte. 2020. 5.5hr. Harper, DD, $29.99 (9780063011816). Gr. 8–12.
Clap When You Land is a novel in verse about two sisters who learn about each other after their father’s death. In alternating chapters, the lyrical and expressive tones of these spoken-word performers are beautifully balanced. Listeners experience the pain and joy of the sisters as they reconcile and share their family stories.
Concrete Kids. By Amyra León. Read by the author. 2020. 1h. Listening Library, DD, $22 (9780593294833). Gr. 8–12.
This autobiographical poetry collection draws listeners into the beauty, joy, and pain of León’s youth as a foster child in New York City.
Cozy. By Jan Brett. Read by René Ruiz. Listening Library, DD, $22 (9780593294857). Gr. PreS–2.
Subtle, yet blustery sound effects create a wintry mood to accompany friendly voices of an animal community seeking shelter with a muskox named Cozy.
D.a.D. By Pierce Freelon. Blackspace, CD. Gr. PreS–3.
Hip hop, soul, electronic beats, and more meet playful and genuine lyrics in this creative family album.
Fart Quest. By Aaron Reynolds. Read by Jonathan Myles. 2020. Macmillan Young Listeners, DD, $10.99 (9781250795908) Gr. 2–5.
The narration beautifully captures a hilarious adventures of three magical apprentices facing their first quest.
Fiesta Global. By Flor Bromley. 2020. Flor Bromley/BMI, CD, $25 (B087NSNXGD) Gr. PreS–3.
Listeners join the party in a celebration of the richness and diversity of music throughout the Americas, with lyrics combining Spanish and English.
*Fighting Words. By Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. Read by Bahni Turpin. 2020. 6.5. Listening Library, DD, $50 (9780593214992). Gr. 5–8.
This expertly delivered audiobook is raw, engaging, and powerful. Turpin’s skillful narration of this middle grade story about two sisters surviving and healing from sexual abuse conveys complicated emotions through the dynamic first-person voice of Della, the younger sister.
From the Desk of Zoe Washington. By Janae Marks. Read by Bahni Turpin. 2020. HarperAudio, DD, $20.99 (9780062969279) Gr. 4–8.
With skill and compelling realism, Turpin gives voice to an aspiring pastry chef, as she sets out to try to prove her father’s innocence.
Going Down Home with Daddy. By Kelly Starling Lyons. Read by Daxton Edwards. 2020. .5hr. Dreamscape, CD, $14.99 (9781690559542). PreS–Gr. 3.
A stellar narration captures the essence of a family reunion, while atmospheric sound effects celebrate farm life and family traditions.
Here We Are. By Oliver Jeffers. Read by the author. 2020. Listening Library, DD, $22 (9780593341056) Gr. PreS–2.
Patiently illuminating the intricacies of life on earth, Jeffers, aided by evocative sound effects, provides a joyful, lullaby-like reading.
HotDog! By Anh Do. Read by full cast. 2020. Scholastic Audio, DD, $17.99 (9781338665758) Gr. K–3.
Energetic narration, sound effects, and music capture the lively adventure of HotDog and friends.
*Kent State. By Deborah Wiles. Read by a full cast. 2020. 2hr. Scholastic, CD, $19.99 (9781338636345). Gr. 7–10.
2021 Odyssey Award Winner. Kent State uses alternating voices to convey the experiences behind the shootings at Kent State on May 4, 1970, with one goal: to ask us to listen. Original music by Jim Pearce and vivid sound effects combine with the narration to create an immersive, thought-provoking, and immediate experience for any listener. “The variety of perspectives, along with an excellently produced soundscape, invites audiences to critical examine a tragic, historic event with distinct relevance today,” said Odyssey Award Committee Chair Maryanne Olson.
The List of Things That Will Not Change. By Rebecca Stead. Read by Rachel L. Jacobs. 2020. 5hr. Listening Library, CD, $30 (9780593155356). Gr. 4–7.
Jacobs sensitively voices young Bea with appropriate emotion, anger, and joy.
The Madre de Aguas of Cuba. By Adam Gidwitz and Emma Otheguy. Read by Rebecca Soler. 2020. Listening Library, DD, $30 (9780593209448) Gr. 2–4.
Soler’s dynamic narration enhances a magical adventure exploring the complexities of Cuban culture, the importance of water, and the mystery of the Madre de Aguas.
Muevete: Songs for a Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body. By Jose-Luis Orozco. 2020. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, CD $16.98 (B084QH2FNT) Gr. PreS–3.
Orozco brings traditional Mexican musicality to these songs—in both Spanish and English—encouraging young children to get their bodies in motion.
Overground Railroad. By Lesa Cline-Ransome. Read by Shayna Small and Dion Graham. 2020. .5hr. Live Oak, CD, $31.95 (9781430144250). PreS–Gr. 3.
A soundscape painted with the bustle of a train, chatter of passengers, and Small’s poetic voice moves listeners through a train journey north amidst the Great Migration.
Punching the Air. By Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam. Read by Ethan Herrise. 2020. 4.5hr. Harper, DD, $17.99 (9780063025707). Gr. 9–12.
Herisse gives poetic voice to the frustrations, fears, and hopes of a young Black teen wrongfully incarcerated.
Say Her Name. By Zetta Elliot. Read by Channie Waites. 2020. 1.5h. Recorded Books, DD, $10.34 (9781980061885) Gr. 6+
Waites sings praise to Black women and girls through subtle pacing, shifting tones, well-placed pauses, and the effective use of song.
*Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You. By Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. Read by the authors. 2020. 4hr. Hachette, DD, $24.98 (9781549184253). Gr. 7–12.
This compelling remix of Kendi’s academic work sets a new standard for nonfiction audio production. In sections framed by dynamic music, Reynolds delivers a conversational and riveting performance about the history of racism and antiracism that connects contemporary listeners to the past.
Stepping Stones. By Lucy Knisley. Read by full cast. 2020. 1h. Listening Library, DD, $28 (9780593341421). Gr. 4–6.
The ups and downs of Jen’s move from NYC to the country is brought to life through consistent sound effects and stellar voicing in this full cast performance.
The Thing About Bees: A Love Letter. Read by Shabazz Larkin and a full cast. 2020. .5hr. Live Oak, CD, $31.95 (9781430144298). Gr. 1–3.
The author and his family give a charming and lively performance in this engaging and beautiful tribute to bees.
Tristan Strong Destroys the World. By Kwame Mbalia. Read by Amir Abdullah. 2020. 9.5hr. Listening Library, DD, $69 (9780593149614). Gr. 5–8.
Abdullah’s excellent and nimble characterization captures Tristan Strong’s storytelling prowess and a wide-ranging cast of characters.
The Very Impatient Caterpillar. By Ross Burach. Read by Matt Braver and Sisi Aisha Johnson. 16m. Weston Woods, DD $6.99 (9781338352993). Gr. PreS–2.
Playful music, engaging sound effects, and dynamic narration enhance this humorous story about a caterpillar struggling to learn patience.
We Are Not Free. By Traci Chee. Read by a full cast. 10.5h. HMH, $19.95 (9780358343561). Gr. 8–12.
The unique personalities of 14 characters are fully realized in this gripping and powerful tale of the Japanese American experience during World War II.
*When Stars Are Scattered. By Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed. Read by a full cast. 2020. 4hr. Listening Library, DD, $38 (9780593162590). Gr. 6–8.
Intimately experience the challenges, hopes, and dreams of Omar; his younger brother, Hassan; and other children in a Somalian Refugee camp in Kenya. Based on a true story, this audio adaptation of the original graphic novel is a masterful collage of voices and ambient sound effects.
Wink. By Rob Harrell. Read by Michael Crouch and Marc Thompson. 6.5h. Listening Library, DD, $44 (9780593162569) Gr. 4–8.
Earnest and humorous, Crouch voices Ross as he undergoes cancer treatment, balanced by Thompson’s sound effect-laden delivery of the comic adventures of BatPig.
The Wizards of Once: Knock Three Times. By Cressida Cowell. Read by David Tennant. 6h. Hachette Audio, DD, $24.98 (9781478999485) Gr. 3–6.
Tennant’s dazzling narration captures every magical moment and unique character in this bestselling series.
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