Transforming a Graphic Novel Into an Audiobook

In the studio with the producers of ILLEGAL

Illegal Audiobook Cast Recording

IllegalAudioFile spoke with Dreamscape Media publisher Tammy Faxel and Deyan Audio’s Khai Dattoli and Bryan Lincoln about adapting and producing Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin’s graphic novel ILLEGAL for audio.

AudioFile: What was it about ILLEGAL that made you interested in adapting it as an audiobook? Why is it an important title for young listeners?

Tammy Faxel: It was a powerful and moving graphic novel that uniquely told the difficult story faced by so many immigrants. This is such a huge issue in the world right, now and I felt an audiobook would help children understand the real plight that so many are facing every day–that an audiobook of this amazing novel would reach children in a way that would make the issue more relatable and real-life through the multi-voice narration. Read more…

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First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage: 4 New Wedding-Themed Audio Romances

Wedding photo

Wedding photo

Wedding romances exist under a particular set of rules that make them even more carefully crafted than your usual happily-ever-after romance. Not only do we (usually) know in advance that the characters have a stable, defined future ahead of them, but now we know that they are going to end up married—or are already married! Making this type of story fresh and appealing involves a lot of creativity from the author as well as a compelling narration. We already know the ending, so the author and narrator need to seduce us, shock us, crack us up, or simply tell us a story we can’t resist hearing. You have to bring your A game to make a wedding romance stand out.

On the other hand, many romance readers are suckers for the dress selection, the inevitable fights among members of the bridal party, and the misty-eyed promises of forever that give wedding romances a hushed respect, even from the most hardened pragmatists. Let’s get the show on the road with four new wedding themed (if sometimes unconventional!) audiobooks.

Read more…

Caitlin is a librarian from Connecticut who enjoys great narrators and happy endings. She has been reviewing audiobooks for Audiofile Magazine since 2006, and she has had the privilege of judging numerous Audie Award categories since 2009. Her favorite authors are Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, and whatever she's listening to right now!

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…

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.

5 Audiobooks to Perk Up Your Spring

Wash the windows, dig in the dirt, and listen to audiobooks!

Spring Flowers

Spring FlowersI don’t know about your part of the world, but here in central Pennsylvania we’re finally enjoying some lovely spring weather, which is made all the nicer as the fruit trees come into blossom. These days I’m all about shaking off the indoor stuffiness and getting ready to open the windows and spend time outside.

The changing season also means I need to schedule some spring cleaning days, both indoors and out. You know the chores: cleaning windows, sweeping off the deck, weeding the garden, and planting the annuals. Whoa! I’m tired just thinking about it. Here’s where I’m grateful to be an audiobook listener. Nothing perks up my spring cleaning mood faster than getting lost in a good story. I can trim the hedges at the same time as I’m trying to solve a mystery or wondering whether the hero of the story will find true love. Read more…

Candace Levy
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.

To Dwell in the Wonder of the World

6 Audiobooks About the Natural and the Divine

Blossoming cherry tree

It’s spring! Yes, even if a snow-bomb cyclone dumped a foot of white stuff in your yard last week, Passover, Easter, and Earth Day are all right around the corner, followed by maypole dances. So let’s savor this froth of cherry tree blossoms as we consider the best new and classic celebrations of the natural and spiritual worlds.

Barbara Brown Taylor’s Earphones Award performance of her celebrated essay collection, AN ALTAR IN THE WORLD, is a listening experience to treasure, preferably while enjoying spring flowers. The theology professor and former Episcopal priest has a pleasant voice with a slight southern lilt that welcomes listeners like the smile so audible in her tone. In essays both personal and universal, she writes about encountering the sacred while living every day—talking a walk, ironing a shirt, waiting in line at the grocery store. As a non-churchgoer, I appreciated her broad view of God and her embrace of the holiness to be found in a garden, as well as in a cathedral or temple. 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.

8 Kids’ Audiobooks About Brave Women Who Fought for Change

Inspiration for Young Listeners

Roses and Radicals

Heroes

2019 marks the centennial of Congress approving the 19th Amendment, which gave many women the right to vote—a change that was brought about by a brave group of activists. The audiobooks in this list celebrate female activists—from more than 100 years ago all the way up to today. These inspirational true stories show ALL young listeners the importance of, and the power that comes from, speaking up for the rights of all people.

BEFORE SHE WAS HARRIET
by Lesa Cline-Ransome, read by SiSi Aisha Johnson, January LaVoy, Lisa Renee Pitts, Bahni Turpin
Live Oak Media, Ages 4-6

Four African-American women narrate in turn to describe Harriet Tubman’s voice rising in protest as a suffragist, as General Tubman, as a Union spy, and as an enslaved child when her father taught her to read the stars. Sounds of horse-drawn carriages, marching soldiers, spirituals, and rushing rivers help listeners imagine the many roles that Tubman played over her lifetime. 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.

Pride in Maine Audiobooks . . . Susan Conley, Stephen King, Richard Blanco, and More

Robin’s Roundup February 22

Lawn at Tidesong

Lawn at TidesongMaine. Beautiful. Cold, this time of year. Glorious in the summer. Maine is my home, and AudioFile’s, and home to generations of extraordinary writers. Every time we review a new audiobook by a Maine author, I feel a bit of hometown pride. Susan Conley’s ELSEY COME HOME is featured this week with a spectacular, Earphones Award review for Cassandra Campbell’s narration. Susan lives in Portland and is the founder of The Telling Room, a creative writing lab for young writers ages 6 to 18—a favorite project that inspires storytelling, both written and spoken. In November 2015, The Telling Room’s Young Writers & Leaders program was presented with a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award by the White House for A SEASON FOR BUILDING HOUSES, a collection of stories that open a window onto today’s immigrant and refugee experience. The audiobook of CALL ME AMERICAN, written by Somali refugee and Portland resident Abdi Nor Iftin, was published last summer. Narrator Prentice Onayemi brings his remarkable life to listeners.  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.

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.

4 Audiobooks to Get Healthy

In Our Time

Get healthy

Get healthyFebruary rings in the Lunar New Year and is also American Heart Health Month—just two of the seasonal reminders that getting healthy can mean better enjoying the year to come. We’re sharing audiobook suggestions all month over on Twitter to support you in those efforts. Healthy listening goes beyond collecting the same advice you might be reading in your doctor’s office or in the news. Here are some of the more unusual directions those audiobook choices can take you on the road to wellness:

Katja Panzar’s THE FINNISH WAY, narrated by Karen Cass, takes us on a tour of Nordic healthy living values that include decluttering, experiencing nature, and eating and exercising appropriately. Cass makes all this sound achievable as well as interesting. It’s most certainly a holistic approach to staying well! Read more…

Francisca Goldsmith
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.

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.