2019 Best Children & Teen Audiobooks

2019 Best Children and Teen Listening

2019 Best Children and Teen Listening

Of all the audiobooks I have listened to this year (almost 100!), the ones on AudioFile’s 2019 Best Audiobooks list definitely rise to the top. In the Children’s and YA categories, there is something for every listener from age 4 through adult. They are all beautifully written, and the performances make each story a joy to listen to. To echo Elizabeth Acevedo in her interview with AudioFile, these audiobooks make me feel “like these are my homies talking to me in my ear and telling me these amazing tales.” 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.

Audiobook Casting: Beyond the Single Voice

Robin’s Roundup October 25

Audiobook Casting Puss in Boots
Audiobook Casting Puss in Boots
PUSS IN BOOTS cast in action!

Audiobook publishers have been trying out new ideas in casting voices for several years. Some recent new releases showcase the creative ways producers are taking audiobooks beyond the single voice. A new full-cast production that pulls out all the stops—and in addition, wows listeners with original music and songs—is PUSS IN BOOTS. It’s headlined by none other that the marvelous Jim Dale, with nearly a dozen other narrators making the most of the reimagined, fractured fairy tale. PUSS has the same creative team as SPIN: The Rumpelstiltskin Musical, which was a 2019 Audie Finalist. 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.

Karissa Vacker on Jessica Barry’s Freefall

Suspense, and lots of it

Karissa Vacker

After a private plane crashes into a mountainside in Colorado, Allison awakens to find the pilot dead and her instincts on high alert. Then she runs. In FREEFALL, narrator Karissa Vacker, as Allison, commands our attention from her first words. Karissa tells us more—but not too much more—about this compulsively listenable audiobook.

“My heart was pounding the whole time—this book will keep you on your toes!”—Narrator Karissa Vacker

Read more…

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Déjà Vu All Over Again

Robin’s Roundup January 25

surreal enigmatic picture on canvas

This humorous redundancy, credited to Yogi Berra, always tickles me. Looking over the new audiobook reviews of the last couple of weeks, I do get the feeling we’re heard some of the titles before. In some cases there are new recordings that replace older ones, or new versions with a different performance approach. And some of that feeling of recollection is with new memoirs from people who continue to write more chapters about their lives. 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.

5 Best Young Adult Audiobooks 2018

2018 Best Young Adult Audiobooks

2018 Best Young Adult AudiobooksWelcome to December and the winter holiday season. One of my favorite things about the end of the year is reading all the best-of lists, especially those that focus on audiobooks. I love adding to my wish list and discovering great books I might have missed.

Get ready to find your next outstanding listen: Today’s Take 5 post is all about AudioFile’s Best Young Adult audiobooks for 2018. All the titles that made our list deserve the spotlight not only for their great stories but also for the fantastic narrators whose performances made the audiobooks unforgettable.

Here, I give you a hint of what each audiobook is all about, but don’t forget to click through to our full reviews. To see all the winners in all the categories, check out AudioFile’s 2018 Best Audiobooks E-Zine.

Now for this year’s best audiobooks for young adults: 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.

6 Stellar Story Collections for Busy Listeners

The Whole Story in Twenty Minutes or Less

A Medicine for Melancholy

A Medicine for MelancholyWhen life is going full tilt — the kids back to school, those two and a half deliverables due by the end of September, and the realization that you haven’t done a thing about your sister’s birthday, which is tomorrow — that’s when you need a great, short audiobook. Or an audiobook full of great shorts. I recommend the following 6 new story collections. They will divert, inform, and entertain you. Whether you listen while commuting or sorting the laundry at midnight, they will bring you calm and give you a sense of control, however fleeting. 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.

7 Stories of Kindness in the Neighborhood

Thank you, Mr. Rogers

Ollie

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…

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

The Poetry of Each Day: Tracy K. Smith & Emily Dickinson

Robin’s Roundup: April 20th

Wade In The Water

“Poetry lives everywhere,” said Tracy K. Smith, teacher and writer and America’s Poet Laureate, as she kicked off April’s National Poetry Month a few weeks ago. As a listener—to audiobooks, poetry, podcasts, and even the eloquence of a speaker—I love that we celebrate all of these in sound.

In Smith’s new collection of poetry WADE IN THE WATER—which of course she reads—we hear her unhurried presentation of cadences and rhythm. And happily for listeners, her earlier collections, DUENDE and LIFE ON MARS, have also been released as audiobooks. In today’s New York Times there is a great conversation between Smith and Jacqueline Woodson, “Tracy K. Smith and Jacqueline Woodson Talk Reading Race and Spreading the Gospel of Literature.”

Duende
Life On Mars
Wade In The Water
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.

8 Short Collections to Listen to Now

Robin’s Roundup: New Audiobook Reviews April 13

8 Short Story Collections to Listen to Now


Short stories have often gotten the short straw in audiobooks. With audio publishers producing more titles each season, and podcasts gaining more and more listeners, short story collections may be getting more attention. Eight new collections, just reviewed, are worth your listening time. I’ve split them into essays (nonfiction) and fiction stories.

Awayland
A Perfect Universe

Ramona Ausubel’s AWAYLAND showcases the voices of a dozen narrators in a collection that’s both fantastical and familiar. Scott O’Connor’s stories in A PERFECT UNIVERSE are all set in California. Two narrators, Bronson Pinchot and Thérèse Plummer, take us outside the bright lights of Hollywood with very human and complex characters, and pick up an Earphones Award for their performances. 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.

Solve: Finding humor in crime

When authors and narrators make me laugh so hard I cry

Lisa Lutz: The Spellman Files

I love to laugh, probably because all the endorphins my body releases when I do makes me feel better no matter what my mood is. It’s certainly good for me: reduces stress, burns calories, improves my immune system, and protects my heart. Which is especially helpful this time of year when the snow piles up and the sunshine is scarce. There are plenty of health reasons to support laughing, but sometimes it’s simply just fun. So I also appreciate humor in the audiobooks I listen to. And over the many, many audiobooks I’ve listened to, I’ve discovered that humor can be quite tricky. There is definitely the chance it won’t be appreciated by all listeners, but there’s also the real possibility that author and narrator won’t be on the same page and the humor will be missed. So when a production nails the humor and leaves me laughing tears of joy, I savor it all the more.

MacLeod Andrews
Narrator MacLeod Andrews

One truly great example of this is MacLeod Andrews narrating Jutta Profijt’s Morgue Drawer Four series. When I listened to the first book in this series (MORGUE DRAWER FOUR), I could not stop telling people about it. It was smart and funny and Andrews’s delivery was perfect. What was even more astounding was the added layer of a translation from the original German. A lot of the humor arises from slang, idioms, and Profijt’s invented words, which make for tricky translations. But the trio involved in this production—author, translator and narrator—makes it seem effortless. If you haven’t listened to this series, I highly recommend it. Read more…

A freelance book and audiobook reviewer, I have also written numerous interviews of authors and narrators. Story entrances me and if I'm not reading for myself I love having a story told to me. In addition, I'm an avid photographer, where stories are in the images!