In the Studio with Jarrett J. Krosoczka and Odyssey Award Winner HEY, KIDDO

In the studio with Jarrett J Krosoczka
In the studio with Jarrett J Krosoczka
Author and narrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka (top) and Jeanne Birdsall

I was thrilled to talk with author Jarrett J. Krosoczka about the process of adapting his acclaimed graphic memoir, HEY, KIDDO: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt With Family Addiction, into a full-cast audiobook. And I was even more excited when earlier this week HEY, KIDDO won the American Library Association’s 2020 Odyssey Award for the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults. There are so many things to love about this audiobook, but for me the most remarkable aspect was the casting. Krosoczka tapped members of his own family to narrate the true story, and the result is unforgettable. Below, read my Q&A with Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Read more…

As a former middle school librarian and author of Booktalking Around the World: Great Global Reads for Ages 9-14, Sonja’s mission is to get kids excited about books.

2019 Best Children & Teen Audiobooks

2019 Best Children and Teen Listening

2019 Best Children and Teen Listening

Of all the audiobooks I have listened to this year (almost 100!), the ones on AudioFile’s 2019 Best Audiobooks list definitely rise to the top. In the Children’s and YA categories, there is something for every listener from age 4 through adult. They are all beautifully written, and the performances make each story a joy to listen to. To echo Elizabeth Acevedo in her interview with AudioFile, these audiobooks make me feel “like these are my homies talking to me in my ear and telling me these amazing tales.” Read more…

As a former middle school librarian and author of Booktalking Around the World: Great Global Reads for Ages 9-14, Sonja’s mission is to get kids excited about books.

Kids’ Audiobooks for Native American Heritage Month

Kids' Audiobooks for Native American Heritage Month

Kids' Audiobooks for Native American Heritage Month

All Native American children deserve stories that respect who they are and who their ancestors were. While they still represent only a small minority of titles published, these recent audiobooks for children present authentic portrayals of American Indians. To honor their #ownvoices for Native American Heritage Month, this list features audiobooks written and/or narrated by Native Americans. For more recommendations of children’s books about Indigenous peoples, Dr. Debbie Reese’s blog is an excellent resource. Read more…

As a former middle school librarian and author of Booktalking Around the World: Great Global Reads for Ages 9-14, Sonja’s mission is to get kids excited about books.

7 Mysterious Audiobooks for Kids

Family Halloween Listening

7 Mysterious Audiobooks for Kids

7 Mysterious Audiobooks for Kids

What is more fun as the days shorten in October than escaping into a mystery complete with intrigue, secrets, puzzles, and plot twists? These audiobooks are perfect for family Halloween listening and will have kids and teens on the edges of their seats. Read more…

As a former middle school librarian and author of Booktalking Around the World: Great Global Reads for Ages 9-14, Sonja’s mission is to get kids excited about books.

7 Listen-Alikes for Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Heartwarming Audiobooks about Friendship and Family

Seven Listen-Alikes for Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Seven Listen-Alikes for Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Many readers and listeners loved Meg Medina’s MERCI SUÁREZ CHANGES GEARS. The audiobook, read by Frankie Corzo, was one of AudioFile’s Best of 2018, and the book won the 2019 Newbery Medal. There is lots to love about the confident, strong-willed sixth-grader Merci Suárez, and I was cheering for her as she navigated difficult changes in her close-knit extended family and school life. Curious listeners can watch our video to hear Frankie Corzo’s own insights into what it meant for her to narrate this story.

If you’re looking for more heartwarming audiobooks about friendship and family for ages 8 and up, here are a few of my favorite recommendations. Read more…

As a former middle school librarian and author of Booktalking Around the World: Great Global Reads for Ages 9-14, Sonja’s mission is to get kids excited about books.

6 Full-Cast Audiobooks for Kids

Jesus Del Orden as Jordan

A good book read by a talented narrator is a beautiful thing, but a good book performed by a full cast of talented narrators can bring a whole new dimension to the listening experience. Here are a few examples where the full cast really elevates the audiobook.  Read more…

As a former middle school librarian and author of Booktalking Around the World: Great Global Reads for Ages 9-14, Sonja’s mission is to get kids excited about books.

7 Audiobooks for Summer Vacation!

Summer Reading for Kids and Families

Kids Audiobooks for Summer Vacation

Kids Audiobooks for Summer VacationI have always said that the best thing about summer vacation is the unlimited time to get lost in books, and these audiobooks will help kids do just that. They are wonderful, immersive stories, perfect for family listening in the car on a long trip, a chapter a night before bed, or a rainy day with nothing to do. P.S. If your child struggles with summer reading assignments, I recommend grabbing the audiobook and listening together as a family. It’s not cheating, and your child will have the added advantage of being able to talk to you about the book. Win-win! Read more…

As a former middle school librarian and author of Booktalking Around the World: Great Global Reads for Ages 9-14, Sonja’s mission is to get kids excited about books.

Essential Children’s Audiobook Listening with Golden Voice Narrator Jim Dale

Jim Dale

Jim DaleThe incomparable Jim Dale has a voice and narrating style that make him instantly recognizable. He has received multiple awards during his career, including Grammys, Audies, and an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire). He even held the Guinness World Record for Most Character Voices in an Audiobook. His recordings for kids are truly among the best of the best in family listening. While you can’t go wrong with any Jim Dale recording, these are my recommendations for essential listening with kids. Read more…

As a former middle school librarian and author of Booktalking Around the World: Great Global Reads for Ages 9-14, Sonja’s mission is to get kids excited about books.

Listen & Learn: Kids’ Audiobooks that Highlight STEM Skills

Hear Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

Kids with a microscope

Kids with a microscope

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. But STEM thinking goes beyond facts to explore innovation, problem-solving, creativity, persistence, divergent thinking, and assimilation of new ideas. The audiobooks in this list show characters facing real-world problems and using STEM thinking to develop solutions through trial and error. Most importantly, they celebrate the joy of figuring things out and illustrate that failure is often an important step to success. Read more…

As a former middle school librarian and author of Booktalking Around the World: Great Global Reads for Ages 9-14, Sonja’s mission is to get kids excited about books.

6 Tips for Listening to Audiobooks with Kids

Audiobook Listening for Kids

Audiobook Listening for KidsReading with our ears can have educational benefits at all ages, but my favorite benefit of listening to audiobooks with kids is the priceless connection of experiencing a good story together. If your family has never listened to an audiobook, getting started can feel daunting, so here are some tips to get you up and running. Read more…

As a former middle school librarian and author of Booktalking Around the World: Great Global Reads for Ages 9-14, Sonja’s mission is to get kids excited about books.