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Surviving Road Trips with Audiobooks


It began with Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking. I was planning a four-hour road trip with my kids, and I was searching for something besides the fail-safe DVD to entertain them during the drive. Admittedly, as an author, I rail against relying too heavily on movies, TV, and gaming. Yes, they’re convenient, and keep lunacy on […]

Listening in on the past


These engaging audio productions of four excellent historical nonfiction titles give teens another entry point into the profound (and profoundly personal) tales of courage and determination they relate. Steve Sheinkin‘s Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War uses Ellsberg as a focal point to tell the story of the Vietnam […]

Audio for teens

shusterman_challenger deep audio

Who says teenagers never listen? The following YA audiobooks are so compelling that teens will be lost in the stories. The audiobook version of Challenger Deep, Neal Shusterman‘s novel about one young man’s battle with mental illness, reinforces both the disorienting confusion of the disease and the tenuous hopes for its treatment. Caden Bosch’s first-person […]

Some audiobooks!


Variously set long ago, far away and right here, right now, these audiobooks deeply engage middle-grade listeners in the struggles — and triumphs — of their protagonists. George, Alex Gino’s middle-grade novel about a transgender girl named George (who secretly thinks of herself as Melissa), gets a remarkable reading from narrator Jamie Clayton, herself transgender. […]

The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep audiobook

ehrlin_rabbit who wants to fall asleep audio

or “You’re getting tiiiiiiired. You’re getting sleeeeeeepy. Avoid this post if you want to accomplish aaaaaaaanything today.” Remember The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep (Crown)? Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin’s runaway bestseller came out in October, and uses “sophisticated psychological techniques” to tell children’s unconscious minds to sleep. Is this a good idea? I dunno. I […]

Sounds good

ryan_echo audio

Audio can add another layer to a story, whether through the addition of story-enhancing music, through a narrator’s command of tricky jargon, or the way he or she can make even the prickliest character seem lovable. Here are four audiobooks recommended for older intermediate and middle school readers. As Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan begins, […]

Listen, laugh, and learn

perkins_nuts to you audio

Some stories can be at their funniest — and most poignant — when read aloud. The following audiobooks, recommended for intermediate and middle-school listeners, offer lots of laughs and lots to learn. Lynne Rae Perkins’s Nuts to You tells the wacky story of a trio of industrious young squirrels saving their respective colonies from the […]

Have you heard?

alexander_crossover audiobook

Audiobook versions of these intermediate and middle-school books — two in verse, one incorporating archival materials, and one light family story — give listeners a whole new way to immerse themselves in their engrossing tales. The Crossover‘s protagonist, Josh “Filthy McNasty” Bell, is a star basketball player along with his twin brother JB. JB’s romance […]

Holistic healing, YA-style?


Serendipitously, these two audiobooks were next to each other on a cart. I’d take the song.

Philip Pullman’s “The Collectors”


It’s been quite some time since fans of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series have had any new… well, material… to sate us. After the trilogy — The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass — concluded in 2000, Pullman briefly returned to the universe in Lyra’s Oxford (2003) and Once Upon a […]