The final week of September brings an annual call from a coalition of intellectual freedom advocates, including the American Library Association and the American Society of Journalists and Authors, to note the fragility of readers’ rights in many communities in the United States. Banned Books Week celebrates resistance through insistence on free expression as fundamental to a free society. In addition to the annual list of challenges made to specific titles around the country, this year’s celebration calls attention to an increasingly popular and much challenged children’s program held in both public libraries and bookstores: Drag Queen Story Hour. Intended to provide both entertainment—as drag performances do—and exposure to diversity, children’s departments that host Drag Queen Story Hour programs report their popularity (while also providing support for storyteller training and smooth program operation). Naysayers, on the other hand, bypass the potential for intellectual freedom and the experiences of inclusiveness without, typically, learning about what, why, and how children respond to either drag queens or story times in a group setting.
Audiobooks for both youth and adults offer ways for those who are curious to get a handle on what exactly drag queen entertainment involves. Needless to say, these audiobooks also offer anyone familiar with gender nonconformity and unthreatened by it some great listening—they’re both fun and insightful. Read more…
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.
The 2018 Hugo Awards were this week in San Jose, California. The Hugo is a fan-vote award for science fiction and fantasy, and one of the most prestigious in the genres. Let’s look at what audiobook listeners have in store for great fantasy & sci-fi listening.
N.K. Jemisin once again took top Hugo honors, winning Best Novel for THE STONE SKY—she’s won three years in a row (the first author ever to do so!) for each title in The Broken Earth Trilogy. All three audiobooks are brilliantly read by Golden Voice narrator Robin Miles. Reviewer Emily Connelly called out this exceptional audiobook early on—her review says, “Listen and be transported to a meticulously built world that serves as a dire warning about the dangers of prejudice and power.” Read more…
Today, on Earth Day, I’ll be taking my kids out to pick up trash around the neighborhood — something I remember doing with my friends and family growing up in rural Vermont. Every year, after the snow melted and all the accumulated garbage started appearing along with the crocuses, we would have our “green-up day” and go along the roads and in the woods picking up the trash we found. In my memories, we could trade in our full bags for donuts at the general store, which was a pretty magical experience.
In the spirit of Earth Day, I’ve found some conservation-themed audiobooks that celebrate protecting the magic of the earth — and the ocean — for everyone from four-year-olds to your David Attenborough-loving mom.
A former wildlife biologist, avid reader, and parent to two book-loving kids, Emily is excited to be jumping into the world of literature, and happy to be working with AudioFile’s wonderful team of reviewers. She works behind the scenes to help keep AudioFile's blog running and is currently working towards a MLIS.