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Find more Top 10 Multicultural Fiction on Audio
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. By Benjamin Alire Saenz. Read by Lin-Manuel Miranda. 2013. 7.5hr. Recorded Books, CD, $123.75 (9781470365127); CS, $123.75 (9781470370190). Gr. 9–12.
Miranda skillfully channels Dante and Aristotle, Mexican American teens who meet in the summer of 1987 and whose unlikely friendship changes their lives in this award-winning coming-of-age novel.
The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond. By Brenda Woods. Read by Sisi Aisha Johnson. 2014. 4.5hr. Recorded Books, CD, $46.75 (9781490614557). Gr. 4–7.
Biracial Violet stands out in her white-skinned family until she reconnects with her paternal grandmother and her heritage. Johnson’s skill at voicing realistic African Americans of varying ages adds to the realism in this touching novel.
China Dolls. By Lisa See. Read by Jodi Long. 2014. 15hr. Books on Tape, CD, $45 (9780385394178).
Long creates distinctive, believable, and appealing voices for the three young heroines of Chinese and Japanese descent who face poverty, sexism, and racism as they struggle to find work as entertainers before and after WWII.
The Freedom Maze. By Delia Sherman. Read by Robin Miles. 2012. 8.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $55 (9780449014639). Gr. 7–10.
Miles changes tones, dialects, and inflections in her mellifluous reading of this engrossing tale of a teen who discovers an overgrown maze on her mother’s Louisiana childhood home and finds herself swept back to life as a slave.
The Invention of Wings. By Sue Monk Kidd. Read by Jenna Lamia and Adepero Oduye. 2014. 14hr. Penguin Audio, CD, $39.95 (9781611762525).
This immersive historical novel, based on the life of abolitionist Sarah Grimké and her fictional slave, highlights the issues faced by both races in the early nineteenth-century South. Lamia and Oduye flawlessly match each character’s style, cadence, tone, status, and intelligence.
P.S. Be Eleven. By Rita Williams-Garcia. Read by Sisi Aisha Johnson. 2013. 6hr. Recorded Books, CD, $66.75 (9781470361839); CS, $66.75 (9781470361846). Gr. 4–7.
Family and school life, along with admonishments from her mother in California not to grow up too quickly, form Delphine Gaither’s days. With her precisely accented characterizations, Johnson transports listeners back to 1960s Brooklyn.
The Sittin’ Up. By Shelia P. Moses. Read by JD Jackson. 2014. 5.5hr. Dreamscape, CD, $59.99 (9781629234052). Gr. 5–8.
Narrator Jackson’s mellow voice gives unique personalities to all members of this sharecropping community as they arrive to honor a man revered by whites and blacks alike in their segregated society in 1940 North Carolina.
Sugar. By Jewell Parker Rhodes. Read by Bahni Turpin. 2013. 5.5hr. Brilliance, CD, $59.97 (9781469274010). Gr. 3–5.
Louisiana plantation owners during Reconstruction still regard their sharecroppers as slaves, and newly acquired Chinese workers represent competition. Turpin’s animated performance features distinct character voices and mesmerizing retellings of folktales from both cultures.
The Tyrant’s Daughter. By J. C. Carleson. Read by Meera Simhan. 2014. 8.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $45 (9780804167048). Gr. 9–12.
After her powerful father is murdered in a coup, Laila and her family escape their Middle Eastern homeland and settle in Washington, D.C. Simhan masterfully voices the diverse cast and reflects Laila’s fears about repercussions as she adjusts to a new culture.
We Need New Names. By NoViolet Bulawayo. Read by Robin Miles. 2013. 9hr. Dreamscape, CD, $59.99 (9781624066382).
Skillfully voicing a range of accents, Miles’ impressive narration captures 10-year-old Darling’s personality and mixed feelings as she leaves the unrest in Zimbabwe to live with her aunt in Michigan.
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