What do you listen to when you’ve heard all of the Harry Potter and Rick Riordan audiobooks multiple times? We’ve paired up 16 excellent audiobooks for ages 8-12+, titles that share a theme, subject matter, or narrative style. Each of these “listen-alikes” is a great choice for middle graders looking for fresh listening. Read more…
Tiffany Tsao’s opulent thriller THE MAJESTIES captivates as it follows the fates of a Chinese Indonesian family living in Jakarta. In the video below, narrator Nancy Wu explains her personal connections to this saga.
“It was fascinating and rare to get to see the world of my mother’s childhood brought to life in really rich detail.”—Narrator Nancy Wu
AudioFile’s Josephine Reed spoke with author and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Jason Reynolds about STAMPED, a remix of Ibram X. Kendi’s STAMPED FROM THE BEGINNING for young people which Reynolds also narrates. Highly recommended as a work for young readers, the audiobook is accessible to anyone interested in learning about how racism and antiracism developed in America. In all of his work, Reynolds is known for writing and speaking directly to young listeners, meeting them where they are, and helping young Black readers see themselves reflected in books they are excited to read.
In this bonus episode of the Behind the Mic podcast, Reynolds speaks about the importance of writing for younger readers and how he came to work on STAMPED. Hear the full conversation below.
“What we were trying to do is ensure that the conversation around antiracism permeates every single sector of our country, not just scholars and academics and people who are thinking about race, but our children.“—Author Jason Reynolds
Narrator Will Damron recounts the gruesome true story of the Greely Polar expedition in LABYRINTH OF ICE by Buddy Levy. Will’s narration captures the essence of life on a ship buffeted by icebergs, the brutal cold of the arctic, the awe of discovery, and the price some will pay for fame. Watch Will’s video below to hear more about this disastrous Arctic adventure.
“The things these men went through on this mission were the stuff of nightmares.”—Narrator Will Damron
Author Nic Stone and narrator Dion Graham make a powerful team. Stone’s newest audiobook CLEAN GETAWAY came out this winter, and it’s another Earphones Award winner narrated by Dion Graham. We thought this was the perfect opportunity to revisit our conversation with the author and narrator duo. Host Jo Reed spoke with both Stone and Graham when their audiobook DEAR MARTIN first released. Stone’s moving young adult audiobook allows listeners to reflect on the trauma and impacts of racial profiling as her characters ask the questions we would in their situations. Listen to their conversation below.
“The best way to reach young people through literature is to reflect actual young people who mess up, who do good, who do bad, who have good things that they are a part of, who maybe have some things that they shouldn’t be a part of.”—Author Nic Stone
Narrator Nicol Zanzarella shares what she loved about narrating Kate Clayborn’s LOVE LETTERING, a delightful contemporary romance set in New York City. Meg is a hand letterer making a name for herself as “The Planner of Park Slope.” In the video below, Nicol explains how she got into Meg’s character to bring her story to life.
“The way that Meg finds her inspiration for herself throughout this story kind of blew my mind, and as a creative person, really made me want to look at things differently.”—Narrator Nicol Zanzarella
We were thrilled to feature this interview with Daniel José Older in our February/March 2020 issue of AudioFile Magazine. AudioFile contributor Jessie Grearson spoke with Older about his writing and his audiobooks, including his latest book for adult listeners, THE BOOK OF LOST SAINTS, and the conclusion to his bestselling teen fantasy series. Read the full interview below.
NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Daniel José Older always knew he wanted to tell stories—it just took a while to settle on a medium. “For a good period, I was more involved with music, but with a focus on storytelling. Even when I was mostly doing music, I was still always writing. I was all over the map. I did screenplays, poems, articles. But I wasn’t getting any traction; I didn’t know how to publish.”
The idea of writing a novel was “partially inspired by just not wanting to deal with wrangling musicians to rehearsals all the time. I found myself deeply attracted to the idea of being able to sit and work on something by myself, to finish it myself, on my own time—and not dealing with anyone else. So that’s what I did. And it worked!” Read more…
In the video below, Allyson Johnson talks about the delights and challenges of narrating a long-running historical fiction series. With ALL THE DAYS PAST, ALL THE DAYS TO COME, the Logan family saga that began with ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY comes to an end, and Allyson puts the story into historical context for listeners. Author Mildred D. Taylor was honored with the Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement this year, a well-deserved honor. Hear more about the audiobook from Allyson herself.
“It’s a beautifully evocative story.”—Narrator Allyson Johnson
If you ask an audiobook listener about their favorite audiobooks, odds are good that they’ll say they adored Jim Dale’s narration of the HARRY POTTER series. What many listeners may not know is that HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE was his introduction to audiobook narration. Jim came to audiobooks accidentally, and later in his career, and listeners are so lucky he did. Listen as Jo Reed and Jim Dale discuss his audiobook work and his extraordinary career in the entertainment industry.
“You’re now more intimate than ever. You’re just speaking to one person, listening to you, reading. And that’s a joy.”—Narrator Jim Dale
We featured our interview with author Tim O’Brien in the December 2019/January 2020 issue of AudioFile Magazine. O’Brien’s newest audiobook, dedicated to his sons, is a memoir, a tribute, and a collection of advice. It was a difficult but moving title for the author to record. Read the interview below.
National Book Award-winning novelist Tim O’Brien published his remembrances of his Vietnam War experiences as a young man in THE THINGS THEY CARRIED and GOING AFTER CACCIATO. However, he came to fatherhood late in life, and at the age of 57, he and his wife had a son. A second son followed soon after. O’Brien knew his time with his boys might be shorter than most fathers’, so he decided to leave behind remembrances, advice, and reporting on some of the antics they might forget as they grow older. Read more…