How do you teach the story of slavery in America? That's the challenge addressed in this inspired poem narrated by Stacy Gonzalez. A teacher discusses the painful truths about slavery with her class of incredulous students who try to comprehend the horror, the sadness, and their teacher's distress. As Gonzalez speaks in tones taut with emotion, a sense of foreboding and fear is... Read More
Pete Cross heads a team of skilled narrators in this exploration of how censorship impacts the lives of young people. Mac Delaney is disturbed when his friend Marci shows him the blacked-out sections of their new reading assignment, THE DEVIL'S ARITHMETIC, a real-life book about WWII and anti-Semitism in Poland by Jane Yolen. When the kids' concerns are dismissed, they will... Read More
Marilyn Singer gives a spirited performance of her collection of poems tracing a family's celebrations of all the Jewish holidays throughout the year--both those that are familiar and those that are less so. Each holiday is presented, first, with a playful, sweet, or solemn poem, which Singer delivers in a lively, welcoming voice. Then she expands upon the holiday a bit more,... Read More
Cuban American narrator Giordan Diaz's mastery of the Spanish phrases and names in this historical novel, set in Cuba in 1980, adds authenticity to this excellent performance. Sixth grader Hector and his brother must publicly support the communist regime while keeping their mother's plans to leave Cuba and reunite with their exiled father a secret. Each character has a distinct... Read More
In this sequel to CECE RIOS AND THE DESERT OF SOULS, Alamrie Guerra and Karla Serrato shine as sisters Cece and Juana. Their last adventure is not over as they thought--Juana's soul is missing. And Cece is determined to get it back. But Juana decides she needs to get it back on her own. The sisters start their journeys separately and encounter an array of magical creatures. El... Read More
A full-cast production adds excitement to this story based on actual royal intrigue and murder in fifteenth-century England. The cast of five enhances the scenes, allowing the listener to hear lively conversations and bustling London streets. Moira Quirk excels as commoner Nell Gould, an unlikely lifelong friend of Prince Ned and his sisters. Quirk's emotions always ring true;... Read More
A top-notch pack of narrators voices a group of middle school boys who find strength in their friendship. Ramon de Ocampo portrays logical Ricky, a smart new kid tagging along with friends who discover a bomb shelter hidden in the woods. Mark Sanderlin voices Evan with a blend of surliness and insecurity; he's been stung by his addicted parents having left him in the care of... Read More
Sura Siu's voice shines with welcoming excitement as she narrates a fun counting story centered around the New Year. Each animal in the zodiac brings along treats and takes on tasks to prepare for a Chinese New Year celebration. First comes rat, who cleans away the bad luck of the last year. The party begins when all the dumplings and noodles are prepared and pig, the 12th... Read More
Tara Sands's narration brings this middle school examination of #BelieveWomen to life. Loner Hazel Hill is gay, but no one else knows. So when homeroom neighbor Tyler Harris, a serial kiss-and-teller, informs Hazel that his ex-girlfriend Ella Quinn is crushing on her, she's confused. Ella Quinn is Hazel's chief competition in the upcoming speech contest, but Hazel's awkward... Read More
Zeno Robinson perfectly portrays 12-year-old Javari Harris in this engaging, thought-provoking listen. Javari, who lives with his family in Bushwick, Brooklyn, has the opportunity to attend a STEM summer camp in West Virginia. Robinson's portrayal of Javari is authentic and multilayered as the boy finds himself in the heart of Appalachia and engages with compelling and... Read More
Narrator Jesse Vilinsky creates a passionate voice for 11-year-old Milla, who encounters numerous changes and challenges when her best friend, Honey, starts to attend her Orthodox Jewish school, Eden Academy. Vilinsky captures Milla's tumultuous emotions as Honey enters her school life and moments of jealousy arise. Along with her friend troubles, Milla also struggles to feel... Read More
A cacophony of musical instruments, dynamic illustrations, and John Beach's animated narration create a joyful celebration in this audio-visual treat for the senses. In a city neighborhood in which music is the only form of communication, Drum, who doesn't have a song or a melody, feels like he can never fit in. But once invited to play with the other instruments, Drum realizes... Read More
Narrator Shaun Taylor-Corbett brings youth and enthusiasm to this reissued collection of Ray Halfmoon's adventures with his grampa. Ray and Grampa's close bond takes them through pet sitting during a blizzard, night fishing, attending a wedding without pants, and many other sweet antics in their Chicago hometown. Taylor-Corbett's voice is filled with tender emotion that folds... Read More
Barrie Kreinik narrates this early reader audiobook about Hanukkah in a gentle, welcoming tone. The production opens with a lengthy explanation about early readers, so young listeners will want to skip ahead to focus on the heart of the audiobook--the sweet story of a young girl who is thrilled to celebrate the Festival of Lights. Kreinik's youthful voice captures the young... Read More
Eunice Wong's melodic narration weaves a tapestry of images from this historical tale. Ami has always lived on Culion, an island to which people touched by leprosy, like her mother, are banished. When Mr. Zamora, a malicious government official, removes all untouched children from their parents and sends them to a different island, Ami fights to find her way home again. Wong... Read More
Narrator Kristen DiMercurio brings a little known piece of North Carolina's WWII history alive for middle graders. Neb, Rain, and Stick, the Dime Novel Kids, are best friends who look for mysteries to solve. Stick, the story's curious and observant narrator, has a strong voice as she introduces listeners to life on Hatteras Island in the 1940s. Neb is a clever problem solver... Read More
Narrator Raquel Merediz shines with warmth and compassion in this moving performance. Middle school student Iveliz is severely depressed; she has PTSD because she saw her father die in an accident. Her grandmother, Mimi, comes to live with her and her mother, which adds to Iveliz's stress because Mimi has Alzheimer's. Iveliz is also struggling with school and friendships. She... Read More
Narrator Suzie Althens brings an upbeat sense of wonder to the story of unlikely scientist Jeanne Villepreux-Power. Born in a remote French village during the French Revolution, Villepreux-Power went to Paris with her dressmaking skills and natural curiosity, and eventually to Sicily, where she would become a groundbreaking marine biologist and pioneer of aquariums. Althens... Read More
Carolina Hoyos expertly and lovingly narrates this astounding audiobook. A Mexihcah girl tells her little brother about the history of book making in Mesoamerica before the arrival of Europeans. Book-making techniques are explored in depth--from the plants used to make the pages to the animals, insects, and rocks used to complete and decorate the books. How these books were... Read More
Poet Nikki Giovanni narrates her ode to the power of a library in a child's life. Monday mornings after they hang out the laundry, "Grandmother takes her sit-down" while her grandchild heads off to the library. There, the child exults in the endless possibilities the institution affords: "a place to be free/to be in space," a place to imagine dream after dream. Giovanni's warm,... Read More
Stacy Gonzalez narrates this middle-grade fantasy with youthful vigor. Ren is the most powerful godborn; her shadow bruja magic has enhanced her powers over time. She runs a blog that connects the Mayan civilization with aliens, and when a message details a potential alien sighting, she is quick to investigate to prove her theories. But something more sinister is happening:... Read More
Sheryl Lee Ralph displays her magical acting talents throughout her bold narration of this adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston's short story "Magnolia Flower." Ralph delights listeners as she breathes additional life into this story of love and freedom. The work is presented as a frame story in which the wise river tells the young, babbling brook about Bentley, an enslaved man who... Read More
Fourth grader Mihi Whan Park worries that a Korean American girl like her can't be "the princess type" in this series opener narrated by Triya Leong. When Mihi meets fellow princess lovers Savannah, a timorous white girl, and Reese, a brainy Black girl, her hopes rise--and then soar when the three stumble into a really, truly magical land complete with characters from European... Read More
Mark Sanderlin narrates this comic middle-grade audiobook with the perfect amount of flair. Brewster Gaines loves making videos but has yet to achieve his ultimate goal: going viral online. When he enlists a cool new classmate as his scene partner, Brewster doesn't realize the chaos he's about to unleash. As more kids join the project, Sanderlin deftly voices Brewster's alarm... Read More
This children's story is set in Compestine's hometown of Wuhan at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nancy Wu masterfully narrates the experience of 13-year-old Mei as the young teen grieves the loss of her late mother and misses her father, who works virtually nonstop at the hospital, helping patients with a mysterious disease. Wu captures the anger born from fear that Mei's... Read More
Rueby Wood leads the Full Cast Audio team in this sci-fi romp. As first-person narrator Peter Thompson, Emmy nominee Wood ("Better Nate Than Ever") brings the right amount of "gee-whiz" to bear when the sixth grader finds himself on a spaceship teeming with extraterrestrials. They're concerned: Humans are a cruel, violent species on the cusp of interstellar flight, making them... Read More
Maulik Pancholy narrates his charming middle grade audiobook with love and enthusiasm. Nikhil's mom moves his family from L.A. to his grandparents' house in Ohio, taking him far from his best friend and his job--he's a voice acting star on a hit cartoon. Nikhil finds welcoming friends, lands a nerve-racking lead role in the middle school musical, crushes on a cute boy--and is... Read More
Tavia Gilbert single-handedly delivers this production, and is she ever up to the job. She evokes the story's characters--Lampie, the lonely, motherless lighthouse keeper's daughter; Lampie's self-hating, alcoholic father; Edward, the angry, neglected child immured in the Black House, where Lampie is indentured; and more. Gilbert shades her delivery as the third-person close... Read More
The third episode in Henkes's Miller family series is told from Sal's point of view, splendidly expressed by Julienne Irons. At first, the arrival of the new baby was an exciting time for Sal and her family. However, a week after her birth, Sal has become bored because the unnamed infant mostly sleeps and eats. As narrator, Irons captures not only these subtleties, but also... Read More
Dominique Franceschi shines with her enthusiastic narration of this fun and creepy mystery. All the characters have distinct and realistic voices. Omega Morales feels that she doesn't fit into her hometown, Noche Buena. The human townspeople are wary of her because she is half-human, half-empath. She straddles both worlds without fully feeling part of either one. Omega's best... Read More
Meera Simhan, narrator of the majority of Ellis's Breadwinner series, delivers the fifth installment. It takes place in 2021, twenty years after the initial book, when Parvana and Shauzia became heroines. Simhan's slight accent gives a sense of the Afghan setting. She infuses emotions into her otherwise neutral reading to show the terror of those who are experiencing the... Read More
Sophie Amoss gives her all as she performs this middle-grade fantasy thriller with style and heart. She imbues Albert with compassion for Manon, the girl he finds in the forest, and captures his wife's disdain for her. Manon speaks with a whispery lightness to animals as she tries to learn who/what she is and why she is being hunted. The wide range of characters exhibits deep... Read More
Fabio Tassone deftly introduces young listeners to David Aguilar, who was born missing a hand, for which he faced discrimination from taunting classmates and rude strangers. Listeners will feel connected to David and his supportive family, who live in the tiny European country of Andorra. Touching descriptions of family members, particularly his beloved abuela and his kind,... Read More
Music and sound effects enhance this time-travel fantasy as Georgie and GiGi use a skateboard to transport themselves back in time to meet 14 U.S. presidents and learn an important lesson from each one. An arpeggio played on a set of bar chimes serves to segue from one president to the next. Stephen DeRosa imbues liveliness in the two children, filling them with admiration and... Read More
Angel Pean narrates this powerful middle-grade novel in verse, told from the perspective of Rain, a Black eighth grader who battles depression. Rain's hero is her popular, brilliant, and athletic brother, Xander. Her world is upended when he is attacked on a recruiting trip to a predominantly white university, and he becomes a "hashtag." The story brings listeners behind the... Read More
Telling the story from the point of view of Res, a Mars rover with heart, Jacob McNatt smoothly morphs into multiple characters who interact with the robot. It is delightful to hear Res process information and resolve problems, speak to robot friends Journey and Fly, and imagine conversations with the scientists who are building him. Also engaging is the lively banter among the... Read More
Narrator Saskia Maarleveld uses even pacing and a tone of purpose to explain the endangerment of elephants and the ways that we can make a difference. Listeners are treated to an introduction written and narrated by Chelsea Clinton, in which she explains how she became passionate about the cause to save elephants as a small child and how everyone can help, even kids. Maarleveld... Read More
Narrator Soneela Nankani suffuses tween warrior Serwa Boateng with strength and passion. Serwa has spent her life training with her parents to fight deadly "adze," fierce vampires that first appear as fireflies. But the adults' latest mission is too dangerous, so she goes to stay with her aunt and cousin, where she is forced to face her most daunting foe: middle school. As... Read More
In this inspiring biography for children, author and narrator Katie Yamasaki honors the legacy of her grandfather, the Japanese-American architect Minoru "Yama" Yamasaki. Best known as the man who designed the original World Trade Center in New York, Yama had to overcome racial hatred and discrimination--personally and professionally--throughout his life. But he believed in... Read More
Dani Martineck shines in presenting a confident character who feels confined in a disapproving world. Listeners will travel to the royal capital of Helston with Callie, a nonbinary 12-year-old who is determined to become a knight in a forbidding place with strict boundaries between genders. In this intolerant kingdom only girls can study magic, and boys must stick to swordplay.... Read More
Narrator Elise Randall Modica brings heart to this story, set in Michigan in 1914. Fourteen-year-old Norvia Nelson's early memories of life on Lake Michigan's Beaver Island sustain her in Boyne City as she struggles to accept her parents' divorce and her mother's remarriage. Because her now-estranged Pa had scorned their Ojibwe heritage, Ma says not to reveal it to her... Read More
Narrator Emily Ota establishes a youthful voice for Mai, who embarks on her family's annual summer trip to Mystic, Connecticut, to visit her mom's longtime friend, Holly, and her family. While Mai had been best friends with Holly's son, Zach, over the years, she now seeks revenge for an incident that occurred during their last visit. Ota creates unique and authentic voices for... Read More
This poetry collection is a companion to THEY CALL ME GERO. Mexican actor Andres Zuno shines as the narrator. Middle-schooler Güero begins a romance with Joanna "Fregona" Padilla. As their romance progresses, they share their first kiss, hang out with their diverse friends, and meet the other's family. Their bubble bursts when Joanna's father is deported. Zuno has a slight... Read More
Author and narrator Mac Barnett completely charms in this delightful fairy-tale retelling. Barnett is clearly having a great time relating the story of a hungry troll who waits for tasty morsels to cross the bridge over his head. Young listeners will giggle at Barnett's growly voice for the troll, who rhymes hopefully about a goat flambé with candied yams and a goat clam... Read More
Just as Tola is small but mighty, these short stories are bursting with heart. Narrator Mutiyat Ade-Salu's bright tone conveys the joy and strength of Tola as she gets into mischief while home alone with her siblings, goes to work when her grandmother gets malaria, and learns how she can be fine like the wealthier girls she sees. Ade-Salu uses an American accent for the... Read More
A trio of talented narrators--Sophie Oda, Adam Sanders, and Almarie Guerra--take three storylines and infuse their performances with urgency and excitement, keeping listeners on edge. Oda portrays Akira, who is trying to survive a massive wildfire in California's Sierra Nevada mountains. Voiced by Sanders, Owen and George have been attacked by a polar bear in the Manitoban... Read More
Matt Braver splendidly captures a world of superheroes and an endearing orphan named Logan Foster. Listeners accompany Logan as he meets and asks inappropriate questions of his seventh pair of potential adoptive parents, Margie and Gil. Since many superheroes are orphans, kids without parents often believe being a superhero might be their destiny, too. Braver conveys Logan's... Read More
Author/narrator Estella Juarez takes listeners on the heartrending journey of her family's immigration struggle. Estella's mother arrived in the U.S. illegally when she was 18. When Estella was eight years old, her mother was deported back to Mexico. The family tried everything to get her back to the U.S. Estella wrote to newspapers, magazines, and even to the president of the... Read More
A few notes of birdsong create the perfect prelude to this heartwarming story, beautifully narrated by Katie Schorr and George Guidall. In the midst of birdcalls, fluttering wings, and other environmental sounds, a girl remembers her grandfather's passion for birds and for sharing that joy with his grandchildren. The older man's relationship with her family--particularly his... Read More
Waceke Wambaa flawlessly delivers this harrowing but essential look at the slave trade in the 1780s from the perspectives of both the brutal staff of the enslavers and the human cargo. Listeners will be appalled to hear the captain proclaim: "To guarantee a ship's success, no humanity must exist on board!" The voices of both young and elderly Africans and European colonizers,... Read More
Narrator Michael Gallagher creates a determined voice for 12-year-old Nyl as his family experiences the horrors of Stalin's five-year-plan in 1930s Ukraine. When two Canadians, Comrade White and his daughter, Alice, arrive at their home to persuade them to join the collective and give up their farm, everything begins to change. Soldiers start to terrorize and kill Ukrainians... Read More
Author/father/narrator Bao Phi zestfully delivers poems he wrote for his child when anti-Asian sentiment in the U.S. escalated during the Covid-19 pandemic. Listeners will revel in his sparkling examples of Asian American culture and the creative people behind it. Gentle background music and vibrant sound effects, such as ebbing ocean waves and the cries of seagulls, excited... Read More
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