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The Power of Stories of New Americans for Young Listeners

AudioFile was delighted to host a conversation about the power of immigrant stories of New Arrivals and New Americans, and how listening to those stories as audiobooks can benefit young listeners from all cultures and backgrounds. Watch the video below to hear the whole, meaningful conversation. 

In this panel sponsored by Dreamscape Audio, narrators Priya Ayyar, Marisa Blake, and Anthony Rey Perez reflect on narrating audiobooks featuring multiple languages, the personal background they bring into their narrations, and the power of using stories to build empathy and change listeners. Kirsten Cappy of I'm Your Neighbor Books shares insights on the importance of creating welcoming spaces for New Arrivals and New Americans using children's literature, and what children and teens can gain from hearing these stories told authentically on audio. Parents, educators, and librarians won't want to miss this valuable conversation.

Each narrator reads live from a recent audiobook featured on the I'm Your Neighbor booklist, highlighting the humor and emotional intensity of these titles for young listeners.

The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez

Narrator Anthony Rey Perez reads from Adrianna Cuevas's THE TOTAL ECLIPSE OF NESTOR LOPEZ, a story of a Cuban-American boy who has a secret ability to communicate with animals. Nestor and his mother have just moved in with his grandmother. Anthony's fast-paced narration and distinct voices for each animal enliven the vibrant audiobook—in the video above, we hear him voicing a particularly curious raven.

American as Paneer Pie

Priya Ayyar reads from AMERICAN AS PANEER PIE, Supriya Kelkar's sweet story about middle school kids coming to terms with their cultural identity. Priya is especially skilled at capturing the earnestness and fear that accompany feeling like an outsider in school—in the selection she reads, we hear Lekha's thoughts and worries as her teacher welcomes a new student into their classroom.

We Are Not From Here

And Marisa Blake gives an emotional narration from WE ARE NOT FROM HERE, the powerful YA audiobook by Jenny Torres Sanchez. Three teens are fleeing gang violence in Guatemala. Marisa captures the fast-moving plot and its taut emotions, making for an unforgettable and moving story. 

Listeners will appreciate hearing insights from from all three narrators from inside the recording booth.

For more audiobooks featuring stories that will help create welcoming communities, browse our list of Welcoming Audiobooks, showcasing the many diverse stories that can build empathy and belonging—and that make for delightful and entertaining listening experiences, too. 

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