For more than 80 years, the awards given by the American Library Association have set a high bar in children’s literature. The Caldecott and Newbery medals are the best known among the multiple awards that honor excellence in books, video, and audiobooks for children and young adults—collectively the Youth Media Awards. Of course, our favorite is the Odyssey Award, given to the best audiobook for this essential audience of listeners. This year the Odyssey Award goes to SADIE. AudioFile reviewer Sharon Grover said in her review, “Courtney Summers’s powerful story of love, neglect, abuse, and revenge is narrated with irresistible urgency by Rebecca Soler and Dan Bittner, along with an ensemble of supporting narrators.” Sharon’s praise and Earphones Award were prophetic—and no wonder, as Sharon was one of the founding librarians who helped establish the award in 2008.
In just over 10 years, the Odyssey Award has been given to some of the most exciting audiobooks. JAZZ by Walter Dean Myers was the first recipient in 2008, and THE HATE U GIVE was honored last year. You can see all previous winners here, but it’s also worth checking out this year’s finalists, Odyssey Honor audiobooks that include DU IZ TAK?, ESQUIVEL!: Space-Age Sound Artist, THE PARKER INHERITANCE, and THE POET X. Elizabeth Acevedo’s free-verse poems were celebrated not only in her audiobook performance but also with the Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults and the Pura Belpré Author Award for portraying the Latino cultural experience.
If you’ve been reading our blog, you may have seen the video above with narrator Frankie Corzo talking about MERCI SUÁREZ CHANGES GEARS. It was just awarded the Newbery Medal for 2019 and is a big win for Meg Medina’s story about a young Cuban-American girl, and listeners will want to check it out. We love to see titles we’ve featured get more attention—see our reviews for some of this year’s honored books: MONDAY’S NOT COMING by Tiffany D. Jackson, read by Imani Parks (Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award); FINDING LANGSTON by Lesa Cline-Ransome, read by Dion Graham (King Author Honor); DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OKAY by Adib Khorram, read by Michael Levi Harris (William C. Morris Award and Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature). Need even more listening? Contributing editor Sharon Grover curates AudioFile’s annual list of “Audiobooks for Kids & Teens.” Check out our age-sorted lists for dozens of awesome audiobook choices, and look for our annual update in April.