I love June: not only does it bring us the first days of summer but it’s also officially Audiobook Month. This year, June is extra special because here at AudioFile, we’re celebrating the narrators whom we’ve honored as Golden Voices, a lifetime achievement award given to voice actors who have demonstrated excellence in the art of transporting stories from the printed page to headphones and car speakers for grateful listeners like me.
Today I’m happy to feature one of the newest AudioFile Golden Voices: Bahni Turpin. Bahni has narrated more than 200 audiobooks, spanning the entire range of genres from sweet children’s stories to intense thrillers to thought-provoking nonfiction. Read more…
Candace is a full-time freelance book editor as well as a book reviewer and journalist. When she’s not working, you'll inevitably find her listening to an audiobook while cooking, walking, making lace, or taking photographs. She was honored to be the 2016 Audio Publishers Association's Audiobook Blogger of the Year.
Independent bookstores have a special place in my heart. When I travel, finding a local bookstore gem is an extra treat. These days I mostly pack ebooks and audiobooks on my phone, but there’s still a great way to support your local bookseller: Libro.fm Audiobooks. Looking at the new Libro Indies Bestseller list, I see a lot to recommend. We have great reviews, of course, and our special AudioFile media extras—podcasts and narrator videos to really draw you into these audiobooks.
Starting with nonfiction: EDUCATED by Tara Westover and narrated by Julia Whelan continues to get a lot of attention. Julia just won two 2019 Audie Awards with her performance—Best Female Narrator and Best Autobiography/ Memoir. We have a terrific interview with Julia just published on our podcast.
Earlier this month, author Toni Morrison turned 88. On her birthday, a new collection of her essays and speeches, THE SOURCE OF SELF-REGARD, was published. Twenty years ago I was privileged to interview Ms. Morrison for an AudioFile profile. I was terrified—not having a lot of interview experience and talking with such a literary icon had me worried. Of course, Ms. Morrison had done hundreds of interviews and taught at Princeton for many years, so she was gracious and put me at ease. “Toni Morrison sets the gold standard for a writer narrating her own work,” said our reviewer Beth Gutcheon in her review of the 2012 novelHOME. She does indeed, and listeners are blessed be able to listen to the author read SULA, BELOVED, PARADISE, and others. Even her acceptance speech of the 1996 National Book Award for THE DANCING MIND is a treat. Read more…
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. Read more…
How can audiobook listeners help nurture independent bookstores? The next time you visit your favorite indie bookstore, look to see if they are Libro.fm Audiobookspartners. You can do this by asking the bookseller while browsing in the store, or just check out Libro.fm’s website to find a Libro.fm partner near you at Libro.fm/indies. AudioFile wants more listeners to know about the program because getting your downloadable audiobooks from Libro.fm supports your local bookstore.
Banned Books Week is an annual celebration of the freedom to read. This year, the Banned Books Week Coalition chose the theme “Banning Books Silences Stories” to remind everyone of the importance of speaking out against censorship. In the spirit of celebrating banned and challenged books, our staff picks below are pulled from the Coalition’s lists of books that have been challenged in schools and libraries around the country over the years. For the most recently challenged titles, check out the Top Ten Most Challenged Books for 2017. Read more…
Last night we attended the 2018 Audies Gala—AudioFile editor Francisca Goldsmith and I were decked out in our finest at the New-York Historical Society for the Audio Publishers Association’s fabulous event. We did not see this hand-off of the Audies winners before the event, but did have a chance to chat with host Simon Vance and Best Narrator finalists Robin Miles, Bahni Turpin, Christian Coulson, and Saskia Maarleveld. Francisca kept her fingers tuned up for live tweeting of the winners!
Hello, universe, check out the spectacular listening in the Newbery and Odyssey Awards
In the midst of awards season, I’m always looking out for those that specifically celebrate audiobooks, like the Spoken Word Grammy (Carrie Fisher’s THE PRINCESS DIARIST) and The Odyssey Award (THE HATE U GIVE). Also, I love finding the audiobook companion of books that are being celebrated—the American Library Association awards announced this week offer a wealth of great listening. The Newbery Award, for example, given for the year’s “most outstanding contribution to literature,” honored HELLO, UNIVERSE by Erin Entrada Kelly. We’ve talked about and celebrated the audiobook for months—check out narrator Ramon de Ocampo in one of our Behind the Mic videos telling us how swept up he was in this book. It’s thrilling to know that it has received the great Newbery honor. You’ll be hearing more about one of the Newbery Honor titles, Jason Reynolds’s LONG WAY DOWN—we have an exciting interview with Jason about recording his audiobooks for our upcoming print issue. (Look for it April 1.)Read more…
The lack of diversity in children’s books has been noted by many parents, teachers, librarians, and children who seek more new books that reflect experiences that are more inclusive than the traditional reflection of white middle-and upper-class characters and concerns.
Children’s authors, publishers, librarians, and book bloggers have written extensively through social media and editorials about the disconnect between available children’s books and potential audiences whose experiences were under-represented. Two movements, We Need Diverse Books (#WNDB) and #OwnVoices, were born.
While the We Need Diverse Books movement’s goal is to increase inclusivity overall, #OwnVoices specifically focuses on story creators. The message? Telling stories from marginalized experiences requires authenticity, and the storytellers who live outside the empowered culture are the ones whose voices need to be heard.
Francisca Goldsmith has worked with teens, collections, and administering branch services in public, school, and academic libraries in the U.S. and Canada. Connecting communities to information and supporting new Americans in learning both language and culture are her passions. To those ends, she’s worked with audiobooks and listeners for the past 20 years.
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