Collection Development Celebrate Black History Month with Audiobooks

Celebrate Black History Month by sharing powerful literature with your patrons or students. We selected three audiobooks that will transport listeners back in time, teaching them important lessons about history along the way. Plus, request a free Civil Rights CD sampler for even more must-listens.

PORT CHICAGO 50 by Steve Sheinkin
Read by Dominic Hoffman

Steve Sheinkin, author of Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award finalist Bomb, is the master of bringing history to life in his audiobooks. In PORT CHICAGO 50, listeners get a front row seat at the mutiny trial of black soldiers who refused to continue working in unsafe conditions. Both riveting and educational, this astonishing civil rights story sheds light on the prejudice that black men and women in America’s armed forces faced during World War II. Listeners will be fascinated by Sheinkin’s nuanced look at those who gave their lives in service of a country where they lacked the most basic rights.

“Narrator Dominic Hoffman serves as an outstanding educator while also capturing the voices of many of the victims of this tragedy… This audiobook offers young listeners a splendid opportunity to hear a trial in action and learn about the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.”—AudioFile review

THE FREEDOM MAZE by Delia Sherman
Read by Robin Miles

Thirteen-year-old Sophie wishes she could be the heroine of a fantasy adventure book but gets a real adventure instead, when she travels back in time to 1860, where she is mistaken for a slave. A 2013 Audies finalist, THE FREEDOM MAZE is set in the 1960s during the height of the Civil Rights movement and in the 1860s, before the outbreak of the Civil War and Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, giving listeners an insight into the struggles faced by blacks throughout history. Listeners will also hear an informative interview with author Delia Sherman, who talks about her research for this audiobook, which took 18 years to complete!

“This marvelous story is narrated by Robin Miles who brings a distinct and memorable voice to each character, adroitly handling a wide range of dialects and voices, all of which ring true to the setting and era. A feisty heroine, a mystical creature, and time travel, masterfully combined with a rich historical context and deep social and political statements, create a compelling story that will stay with listeners.”—School Library Journal, starred review

BIRD IN A BOX by Andrea Davis Pinkey
Read by Bahni Turpin, S’Von Ringo, and J.B. Adkins

This inspiring story of friendship and determination by award-winning author Andrea Davis Pinkey illustrates the power of storytelling to connect and unite young listeners. Set against the backdrop of America’s golden age of radio, three children living in New York during the Great Depression are brought together by listening to the thrilling boxing matches of Joe Louis, poised to become the country’s next heavyweight champion.

“Bahni Turpin, S’Von Ringo, and J.B. Adkins bring to life the period of the Great Depression… Background jazz and reenactments of Louis’s bouts give the story plenty of atmosphere. The author’s note and information on the real people who populate the story make this an excellent snapshot of American life in the 1930s.”—AudioFile review

We also created a CD sampler to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement, including clips from powerful and provocative audiobooks as well an exclusive interview with Christopher Paul Curtis and LeVar Burton, the author and narrator of The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963. You can request a FREE sampler here.

Our FREE CD sampler features clips from the following audiobooks:

For even more Black History Month must-listens, check out Book Riot’s timeline of some classic YA titles featuring strong black main characters or stories, including 47, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Jefferson’s Sons, Jump Into The Sky, Riot, Witness and more!

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