Narrator Dion Graham on Marlon James’s Fantasy Epic Black Leopard, Red Wolf

Golden Voice narrator Dion Graham gives listeners insights into one of this year’s biggest fantasy novels as he introduces us to the first in Marlon James’s new trilogy, BLACK LEOPARD, RED WOLF. In this African-inspired epic, the protagonist’s powerful sense of smell leads him through dangerous cities and wild lands in pursuit of a child he has been hired to find. Watch the video below.

“It’s an incredible piece of work about life, death, loss, love, urges, wants, desires, needs, and the pursuit of happiness.”—Narrator Dion Graham

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Listening on a Summer Day

Robin’s Roundup July 19

Juniper Listening

Summer is full of activities for many of us—summer work schedules, family trips and get togethers, travels and adventures, projects that require good weather. For me, summer is prime listening time. I do more traveling, so I have more audiobook time in the car, and I also love to keep a story going while I cook or garden. (My wireless headphones have made garden-time listening so much more satisfying because I don’t get tangled up with headset cords!) A lazy hammock for reading just never seems to materialize, but my summer pace does offer plenty of listening opportunities. Kate Atkinson and Jason Isaacs just introduced me to Jackson Brodie in the new BIG SKY. I also love to have a listening partner. Whether it’s a young companion like my grandson (his current favorite remains TROMBONE SHORTY), or sharing a retelling of Greek myths with husband, Rob (we recently enjoyed listening to GREEK MYTHOLOGY EXPLAINED). Read more…

Robin Whitten
Robin is the Founder & Editor of AudioFile Magazine. The AudioFile Blog is her newest project to offer new voices and recommendations for audiobooks.

Put This Voice in Your Ears: Golden Voice Narrator Dion Graham

Dion Graham

Dion GrahamIn the midst of this month’s celebration of AudioFile’s Golden Voice narrators — voice actors who have demonstrated unparalleled excellence in the art of translating books from page to audio — I have a question. Whose voice is in your ears right now? Might it be the warm, seductive tones of Dion Graham? If it is, well, you lucky thing.

Today’s Audio Adventures feature the versatile actor whose hundreds of audiobooks encompass everything from adult science to young adult novels. A Golden Voice since 2007, Graham has won numerous AudioFile Earphones and Best of the Year awards, as well as the ALA’s Odyssey Award and Audie Awards for non-fiction, memoir, and young listeners. He’s also a screen actor, and a voice-over artist who, much to my nephew’s delight, can be heard in the 2018 video game World of Warcraft: Battle of Azeroth. Read more…

Author and audiobook fanatic, Aurelia often falls asleep at night with earbuds still attached. She can also be found at www.aureliacscott.com.

Audiobook Fan Goes Gaga for Golden Voices: Narrator January LaVoy’s Audiobook Mysteries

January LaVoy and Ellen Quint
January LaVoy and Ellen Quint
January LaVoy (l) and Ellen Quint

One of the privileges of being part of the AudioFile team is the opportunity to rub elbows on special occasions with stars of the audiobook universe. Imagine being in a New York recording studio surrounded by the people who have thrilled you with their performances again and again. That was me this week at the reception in honor of our five new Golden Voice recipients who have joined this very special class of narrators. A full cadre of Golden Voices was there to welcome their fellow narrators.

Let me focus on new Golden Voice honoree January LaVoy. You can read more about January in the latest issue of AudioFile Magazine and in her narrator profile. January has recorded more than 200 audiobooks: biographies as diverse as ELIZA HAMILTON and QUEEN BEY (about Beyoncé and Jay Z); science fiction, including VERSION CONTROL; and, of course, mysteries. January has one of those voices you would follow anywhere. As with her Golden Voices colleagues, she can make any genre come alive for the listener. That takes true talent. Read more…

Ellen Quint
A mystery writer, audiobook reviewer and Audies judge. Ellen is currently the program chair of Sisters in Crime-NY and has published two crime short stories: Crossing the Line (Family Matters); Taking the Brooklyn Bridge Back (Where Crime Never Sleeps).

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…

Sonja Cole
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.

Libro.fm March Audiobook Bestsellers

Robin’s Roundup March 15

Libro.fm

Libro.fmIndependent 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.

Julia WhelanStarting 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.

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Robin Whitten
Robin is the Founder & Editor of AudioFile Magazine. The AudioFile Blog is her newest project to offer new voices and recommendations for audiobooks.

Gaining Insight Through Mysteries

In Celebration of Black History Month

As we close out Black History Month, I want to take this opportunity to recognize the contributions of African American authors, narrators, and characters to the mystery/thriller genre. There is such a wealth of audiobooks to focus on.

The Real Cool Killers
Cotton Comes to Harlem

Let’s start with the late author Chester Himes, who wrote a series of nine hardboiled crime novels featuring Harlem detectives Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones set in the 1950s to the late 1960s.  The audiobooks, released in 2011 and 2012, were recorded by Golden Voice narrator Dion Graham and include THE REAL COOL KILLERS and COTTON COMES TO HARLEM (made into a movie in 1970). Read more…

Ellen Quint
A mystery writer, audiobook reviewer and Audies judge. Ellen is currently the program chair of Sisters in Crime-NY and has published two crime short stories: Crossing the Line (Family Matters); Taking the Brooklyn Bridge Back (Where Crime Never Sleeps).

Coretta Scott King Award-Winning Audiobooks

Beauty, intelligence, courage, and ingenuity

A Few Red Drops

Coretta Scott King 50th AnniversaryIn her speech accepting the 2018 Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award, author Eloise Greenfield said, “Children need to know, and to see in books, the truth — the beauty, intelligence, courage, and ingenuity of African and African American people.” 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards, given annually to African American authors and illustrators who demonstrate an appreciation of or affirm African American culture and universal human values. Many of this year’s Coretta Scott King Award winners and honorees are also excellent audiobooks. Read more…

Sonja Cole
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.

Love for the ALA Media Awards

Robin’s Roundup February 1

Sadie

Odyssey Award SealFor 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…

Robin Whitten
Robin is the Founder & Editor of AudioFile Magazine. The AudioFile Blog is her newest project to offer new voices and recommendations for audiobooks.

Listening to Martin Luther King, Jr.: Audiobooks That Illuminate His Legacy

Robin’s Roundup January 18

President Lyndon B. Johnson and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. meet at the White House, 1966
President Lyndon B. Johnson and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. meet at the White House, 1966
President Lyndon B. Johnson and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., meet at the White House, 1966

Audiobooks create a immersive and affecting way to understand and celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. His accomplishments will continue to resonate for generations, but the short period when he was active with the Civil Rights Movement from 1955 until April 4, 1968, was a mere 13 years. There is much to explore among these audiobooks, and many opportunities to be inspired by Dr. King, “A prophet of justice, a leader of tremendous will, a moral and spiritual defender of good.” (“View From the Mountain” by Maja Thomas, AudioFile, February 1999.) Read more…

Robin Whitten
Robin is the Founder & Editor of AudioFile Magazine. The AudioFile Blog is her newest project to offer new voices and recommendations for audiobooks.