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Find more Audio Stars for Youth
Before She Was Harriet. By Lesa Cline-Ransome. Read by a full cast. 2018. 30m. Live Oak, CD, $12.95 (9781430131182). K–Gr. 3.
Four narrators depict the many phases of Tubman’s life. Rich with carefully selected sound effects, this recording will appeal to a wide range of ages.
The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor. By Sonia Sotomayor. Read by Sonia Sotomayor and Jaina Lee Ortiz. 9.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $60 (9780525636007). Gr. 7–10.
Sotomayor herself introduces and reads the prologue to this adapted version of her autobiography before Ortiz begins her clear narration, infusing the Supreme Court justice’s words with determination and emotion.
Black Panther: The Young Prince. By Ronald L. Smith. Read by Dion Graham. 6hr. Listening Library, CD, $45 (9780525531319). Gr. 4–7.
Listening to Graham narrate is as good as being at the movies! Convincing voices, building suspense, and a satisfying conclusion create a captivating listening experience.
Bright We Burn. By Kiersten White. Read by Fiona Hardingham. 11.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $65 (9780525595502). Gr. 9–12.
White’s characters of royal bloodlines charge spectacular lives, and Hardingham gives a bloody-noble performance.
Children of Blood and Bone. By Tomi Adeyemi. Read by Bahni Turpin. 18hr. Macmillan, CD, $44.99 (9781427295514). Gr. 9–12.
Turpin excels at customizing her voice to capture the distinct personalities of each character in this magic-infused fantasy. Listeners will instantly respond to Zélie’s rage, Amari’s courage, and Inan’s conflicted loyalties.
Dreamers. By Yuyi Morales. Read by Adriana Sananes. 30m. Dreamscape, CD, $14.99 (9781974908196). PreS–Gr. 2.
Lyrically narrated by Sananes, who uses languid and poetic pacing to let the emotions and words wash around the listeners, this recording also includes Mexican folk music and light sound effects in the background. This combination brings the book to life, enriching the story with movement and feeling.
Dry. By Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman. Read by a full cast. 11hr. Simon & Schuster Audio, CD, $39.99 (9781508263081). Gr. 9–12.
The full cast of narrators succeed in bringing to life the many characters in this survival adventure. The authors also provide narration in a stark reporting style to heighten the severity of the disaster. This is an exciting listen that you won’t want to turn off.
Grump: The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. By Liesl Shurtliff. Read by Paul Fox. 8hr. Listening Library, CD, $55 (9780525595472). Gr. 3–6.
Fox shines in a multi-character performance of this charming reimagining of the classic fairy tale. Each character is uniquely voiced; even the pair of trolls are distinguishable, although they sound fittingly like the same kind of creature. Additionally, Fox performs the songs in the story with uninhibited gusto.
Harbor Me. By Jacqueline Woodson. Read by a full cast. 4hr. Listening Library, CD, $27 (9780525637936). Gr. 5–8.
A full cast, including the author and her daughter, brings to life the stories shared in the ARTT room, where six students share their deepest fears and struggles and find mutual support and friendship. An appended interview between the author and her son is a special treat for listeners and fans of Woodson.
Hunger: A Tale of Courage. By Donna Jo Napoli. Read by Sarah-Jane Drummey. 7hr. Tantor, CD, $34.99 (9781541419643). Gr. 6–9.
Irish-born Drummey’s lilting voice embraces the unfamiliar words sprinkled throughout, and careful pacing—from a descriptive evocation to accelerating peril—adds drama to Napoli’s historical novel, set during the Irish potato famine in the 1840s.
Life According to Og the Frog. By Betty G. Birney. Read by John H. Mayer. 4hr. Listening Library, CD, $38 (9780525625513). Gr. 4–6.
A heartwarming and energetic performance. Mayer’s delivery of Birney’s newest classroom pet saga thrums, BOINGs, and ribbits along as Og finds a new home. Young animal-loving listeners will feel a kinship with Og and with the students who care for him as they grapple with a new awakening to animal rights.
The Lifters. By Dave Eggers. Read by Dion Graham. 5.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $50 (9781524782856). Gr. 5–7.
Graham’s expressive storytelling ability keeps listeners keenly tuned in to Eggers’ exciting fantasy adventure.
Lions & Liars. By Kate Beasley. Read by Robbie Daymond. 6hr. Listening Library, CD, $45 (9781101915844). Gr. 4–7.
This rollicking recording of Beasley’s entertaining cringe-comedy about the misadventures of a bullied 10-year-old named Frederick Frederickson soars, thanks to Daymond’s energetic and funny narration.
A Long Line of Cakes. By Deborah Wiles. Read by Jenna Lamia. 7hr. Listening Library, DD, $50 (9781984838681). Gr. 4–6.
Baking, baseball, small-town controversies, the need for community, and the longing to be settled in one place are depicted in delectable prose with exquisite emotional connection in Lamia’s understated performance. Descriptions of luscious baked goods will make listeners’ mouths water, and even the recipe for Simple, Classic, Melt-in-Your-Mouth White Cake, read at the end, works well.
Louisiana’s Way Home. By Kate DiCamillo. Read by Cassandra Morris. 3.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $35 (9780525633914). Gr. 4–7.
Morris captures all of Louisiana’s emotional sincerity, insecurity, and innocence swirled with wonder, trust, hunger, disbelief, awe, and her heart’s desire to survive, become her own person, and find her way.
March Forward, Girl: From Young Warrior to Little Rock Nine. By Melba Pattillo Beals. Read by Janina Edwards. 4.5hr. Dreamscape, CD, $39.99 (9781520091426). Gr. 5–8.
Edwards’ conversational tone strikes a perfect balance between conveying the subject’s seriousness and making listeners feel they are hearing a young girl tell her story.
My Plain Jane. By Cynthia Hand and others. Read by Fiona Hardingham. 10hr. HarperAudio, DD, $26 (9781538550557). Gr. 7–11.
This rollicking reimagining of Jane Eyre is a delight for listeners who don’t mind playing fast and loose with a favorite; some might even prefer this version.
Nightbooks. By J. A. White. Read by Kirby Heyborne. 7.5hr. Harper, DD, $20.99 (9780062841988). Gr. 5–8.
A great introduction for a younger crowd into the thrill of listening to Heyborne narrate a dark tale as his cadence and tone add an exaggerated element of suspense to the listeners’ experience. This familiar story’s undertones are made richer in Heyborne’s animation of this cast of characters.
Peasprout Chen, Future Legend of Skate and Sword. By Henry Lien. Read by Nancy Wu. 9.5hr. Macmillan, DD, $26.99 (9781250308276). Gr. 5–8.
As Peasprout, Wu perfectly balances warrior fierceness with unsophisticated uncertainty as the girl moves through new surroundings and expectations. Wu’s pacing is flawless in competition scenes, especially, where Wu shines, imparting a breathlessness listeners can feel.
The Parker Inheritance. By Varian Johnson. Read by Cherise Booth. 2018. 10hr. Scholastic, DD, $54.99 (9781509467259). Gr. 5–7.
Boothe excels in powerful depictions of each young protagonists, and portrays the adults with the same care, creating realistic characters who support—or occasionally undermine—Candice and Brandon as they investigate a historical mystery. Her sensitive, expressive narration creates compelling stories in both eras in the Odyssey Honor Audiobook.
The Player King. By Avi. Read by John Keating. 5hr. Recorded Books, CD, $42 (9781501983023). Gr. 4–7.
From the thick-tongued paupers to the elegant flair of the King’s English, each character’s voice is distinctly depicted. Keating’s narration whispers, squawks, lilts, and vaults. This rare slice of English royal history is as important as it is unforgettable, and Keating’s narration is just as gripping.
The Poet X. By Elizabeth Acevedo. Read by the author. 2018. 3.5hr. Harper, DD, $15.99 (9780062822482). Gr. 9–12.
So intimately does Acevedo inhabit her character that the boundaries between author, character, and narrator become irrelevant as the listener is swept into a brief novel in verse that packs a memorable and invigorating punch.
Princess Pulverizer: Grilled Cheese and Dragons. By Nancy Krulik. Read by Imogen Wilde. 4hr. Dreamscape, CD, $39.99 (9781520091006). Gr. 2–4.
Krulik’s tale is bursting with humor, amplified by Wilde’s timing and pitch. Wilde portrays Pulverizer’s vivacity and fierce determination in an exuberant British accent. The enthusiasm in her voice shows that Pulverizer is a confident girl of action, more interested in battling than protecting and serving.
A Reaper at the Gates. By Sabaa Tahir. Read by a full cast. 15.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $70 (9780525531401). Gr. 9–12.
As the story unfolds from the alternating perspectives, listeners experience the wide range of the narrators’ talents in re-creating the roller-coaster emotions that each character faces throughout the story. The series introduces a variety of cultures, too, which the narrators handle with flawless consistency.
Rebound. By Kwame Alexander. Read by Ron Butler. 3.5hr. Recorded Books, CD, $30.75 (9781501949098). Gr. 6–9.
Butler scores a three-pointer with his moving performance of Alexander’s free-verse novel about twin brothers and their basketball-legend pop.
Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters. By Andrea Beaty. Read by Rachel L. Jacobs. 1.5hr. Dreamscape, CD, $39.99 (9781974923229). Gr. 1–4.
Rosie’s upbeat engineering adventure about meeting some of the original riveters—and her first foray into chapter books—gets an equally upbeat audio with sound effects and an enthusiastic narration by Jacobs.
Sadie. By Courtney Summers. Read by a full cast. 2018. 8hr. Macmillan, CD, $39.99 (9781250228000). Gr. 9–12.
A stupendous full production amplifies Summers’ already astounding novel. Especially affecting is the podcast series intertwined with the narrative. The ensemble proves utterly spectacular.
Samantha Spinner and the Super-Secret Plans. By Russell Ginns. Read by Kathleen McInerney and Grover Gardner. 5hr. Listening Library, CD, $38 (9780525525615). Gr. 3–6.
This globe-trotting comic adventure is sure to please. In a clever touch, Gardner reads informational snippets, with McInerney jumping in to give Samantha’s own observations with a giggle in her voice. Author Ginns pops up at the end to guide listeners through two audio puzzles.
The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik. By David Arnold. Read by Michael Crouch. 11.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $65 (9780525625698). Gr. 9–12.
Each character, from Noah’s high-strung little sister to his slightly off-kilter dad, is distinctly voiced, and the dialogue hums with the dry wit the author intended. Crouch’s narration lifts this wildly imaginative novel from a good read to an inspiring listening experience for all ages.
Swing. By Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess. Read by the author. 2018. 4.5hr. Dreamscape, CD, $19.99 (9781974917303). Gr. 9–12.
Alexander hits it out of the park with a well-paced, emotionally piercing audio of his latest novel in verse, written with Hess.
Unicorn Rescue Society, Books 1–2: The Creature of the Pines and The Basque Dragon. By Christopher Smith and others. Read by January LaVoy. 4hr. Listening Library, CD, $30 (9780525530350). Gr. 2–5.
LaVoy’s wonderful narration elevates this already appealing series of adventures for lovers of mythical creatures.
A Very Large Expanse Of Sea. By Tahereh Mafi. Read by Priya Ayyar. 7hr. HarperAudio, DD, $30 (9780062888198). Gr. 9–12.
With steely resolve, Ayyar reads through the rage, indifference, and desperation, imbuing Mafi’s story with emotion. The listening is hardly easy, but like the story itself, it both enlightens and entertains. Benefits prove plenty.
We Say #NeverAgain: Reporting by the Parkland Student Journalists. Read by a full cast. 5.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $45 (9781984843425). Gr. 9–12.
The rawness, passion, awe, and pain in the words of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student journalists and their teachers come through with a striking clarity. With an emotional impact that is difficult to absorb in its entirety, this collection is not to be missed.
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