I wish Ollie, my family’s handmade marionette, could have met Mr. Rogers. That was my first thought as I settled happily into LeVar Burton’s Earphones Award-winning performance of THE GOOD NEIGHBOR, the biography of Rogers by Maxwell King, published on Tuesday. Ollie, carved and clothed by my grandparents, was once part of their traveling marionette theater. But after years of entertaining children up and down the west coast with classic fairy tales, all the marionettes except Ollie were lost in a fire. I know that Mr. Rogers could have helped Ollie and the people who loved — and still love — him to cope with the loss. By the way, that’s me with my parents and Ollie in the picture. Read more…
As it’s the end of August and “Back to School” fever has taken over, I thought I would focus on Middle Grade and Young Adult offerings in the mystery/crime/horror category.
Strong female characters welcome! Jake Burt’s GREETINGS FROM WITNESS PROTECTION! features 13-year-old Nicki Demere—she’s feisty, smart, and self-reliant. She’s also a pickpocket (having been trained by her grandmother) and a kleptomaniac. Nicki is living in an orphanage and going in and out of foster care when she’s recruited by the U.S. Marshals Service to help protect a family going into Witness Protection. Narrator Tara Sands strikes the right balance with Nicki’s voice, tone, and attitude. She is joined by a group of narrators who complete the cast of villains and other adults. This was a fun and engaging listen, even for a geezer like me. Read more…
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).
The last weeks of summer are slipping by, and even though we aren’t all tied to the academic calendar, there’s something about the last days of August that makes us think about getting ready to go back to school. We have audiobooks for listeners who are looking for mysterious schools, a helpful guide for young writers, and two more to appeal to listeners at this time of year.
Whether you’re headed to Kindergarten or middle school, starting a new school year can be scary no matter how old you are. This collection of audiobooks about heartwarming school friendships can help calm first-day fears and show your child that there can be a bright side to a new start, too.
Contrasts—dark or light-hearted, subtle or intense, Russia or North Carolina. Going through our new reviews this week, I am struck by the variety of titles and how the audiobooks are often in stark contrast. Of course, books are written on a vast variety of subjects and with radically different points of view, and this gives a grand range of options for listening and reading.
In newly reviewed thrillers, I’ll contrast the cerebral and politically charged THE MIDDLEMAN by Olen Steinhauer withEAST OF INNOCENCE by David Thorne. Narrator Rupert Degas portrays a cast of hard-bitten characters with stunning emotional dimension in the latter. In the former, Ari Fliakos deftly takes listeners through “a snarl of idealism, cynicism, paranoia, and lies.” Read more…
As far as I’m concerned, summer vacation-reading is about finding a comfortable spot and succumbing to guilt-free total immersion. I prefer a hammock, beach chair, or quiet back stoop. I’m agnostic about genre, but it’s got to leave me fully satiated and sighing with satisfaction. With three more weeks of August listening left, I want to recommend five of the summer’s best new titles and two classics guaranteed to carry you away, even if it’s just to a rickety lounger in the backyard. Don’t forget the sunscreen. Read more…
6 Audiobooks to Get Your Kids Outside and Investigating Nature
Audiobooks about magic and mystery are wonderful for kids’ imaginations, but the real world is just as exciting. From oceans to animals to vegetable gardens, our planet features some fascinating places to explore. These audiobooks will empower young listeners to discover and ask questions about the natural world around them.
Audiobooks for Your Summer Family Vacations and Staycations
School’s out for summer, and the kids are ready for fun. Road trips or plane rides, two weeks at the beach house, or three months of staycation; whatever your plans are, they’ll all go better with a family audiobook or two.
This month’s Take 5 roundup is your family listening lifesaver. These audiobooks will make the travel go faster and will brighten up a rainy, indoor afternoon. They might even keep your young listeners happy when you send them out to weed the garden or organize the garage. We can always hope, right?
As you might imagine, it wasn’t easy to limit my recommendations to just five good stories, so I picked titles based on several criteria. First, all of the audiobooks featured here are under 4.5 hours, which means they can be listened to in a single car ride or while doing a family activity, like working on a jigsaw puzzle. 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.
Calling All Percy Jackson Fans—It’s Another Series Not to Miss
Gather all the Rick Riordan and Percy Jackson fans as AudioFile goes Behind the Mic with narrator Robbie Daymond, who shares his insights on Riordan’s latest, THE BURNING MAZE. The Trials of Apollo series is perfect for listening to on your summer family road trips, and Robbie narrates all three audiobooks!
“Rick Riordan books exist in this amazingly well-crafted, rich, beautiful universe.”—Narrator Robbie Daymond
During the holiday week of America’s Independence Day, along with the barbecue, clambake, and fireworks, add in a few audiobooks. Many of us celebrate with our families—and my first choice will resonate with the younger set, bringing a fun and informative take on Lady Liberty: HER RIGHT FOOT. Author Dave Eggers and narrator Dion Graham are a dynamic duo as usual. Listeners—of all ages—will also learn about Emma Lazarus’s famous sonnet that contains “Give me your tired, your poor . . . .” I was pleased to read the full text that appears on a plaque inside the Statue of Liberty. And while everyone is listening, Khizr Khan’s THIS IS OUR CONSTITUTION is accessible and illuminating for young listeners.