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Confident Characters

Our penultimate week of this SYNC season brings a pair of very different kids with character, thanks to free audiobooks from Zonderkidz and Tantor. There are plenty of contrasts between the author-narrated memoir published just this year and the nearly 75-year-old classic novel newly narrated last year. In both listening experiences, however, you’ll get to know young people who consciously put themselves onto distinct paths forward in their lives.

As Fast As Her
Author and narrator Kendall Coyne

Olympic gold medal-winning hockey player Kendall Coyne narrates her own AS FAST AS HER: Dream Big, Break Barriers, Achieve Success, which was co-authored by Estelle Laure. The sport of ice hockey may still be considered male-dominated but Coyne shares how her passion for speed and overcoming barriers to success have shaped her life as well as her athleticism. When she tried out for the boys’ hockey team—because it was the only good hockey team—others tried to steer her to the slower world of figure skating. She wasn’t having it and went on to prove her place as one of the National Hockey League’s fastest skaters. What she learned along the way she shares in a fittingly energetic and energizing narration that may inspire her listeners to reconsider dreams they had thought were out of bounds.

City Boy author and narrator images
From left: author Herman Wouk, narrator Peter Berkrot

CITY BOY: The Adventures of Herbie Bookbinder, by Pulitzer Prize winner Herman Wouk, comes to us in the voice—and many character voices—of Peter Berkrot, who very much has his finger on the pulse of both Herbie himself and his neighbors. It’s 1928, and Herbie is an overweight boy with a crush on a girl at home and a summer to win her. This is good, fun storytelling that Berkrot brings to life. Wouk was a lover of language, so hearing Herbie’s observations, conundrums, and efforts to turn the tide of his fortunes among friends and family offers lots of opportunity to smile and even laugh out loud. Herbie is no athlete, and his attempt at crime doesn’t come off without any hitches, but he is one sharp kid, and Berkrot makes sure we all root for his success.

This pair fits right into summer, with one bringing us the thrill of ice and the other empathy for someone working to escape the city during the hottest of days. Collect your free audiobooks and enjoy!

Kendall Coyne photo courtesy of Zonderkidz, Herman Wouk and Peter Berkrot photos courtesy of Tantor

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