Awards & Recognition School Library Journal’s Best Audiobooks of 2016

Do you offer the best in children’s and teen audiobooks at your library? School Library Journal’s top picks for 2016 include a touching tale of friendship, a rocking summer road trip, a sweeping work of historical fiction, and a powerful story of love and tragedy. These audiobooks tell “fascinating stories…that are enhanced by exceptional narration and production values.” View SLJ’s complete list of picks here.

LILY AND DUNKIN by Donna Gephart
Read by Michael Crouch and Ryan Gesell with a note read by the Author


All young listeners should hear Donna Gephart’s powerful story of the life-changing friendship between two remarkable young people: Lily, a transgender girl, and Dunkin, who is coping with bipolar disorder. This timely and touching story is sure to spark important discussions about bullying and the redeeming power of love and empathy.

“The narration provided by Ryan Gesell and Michael Crouch is excellent…Listeners who enjoyed Jazz Jennings’s Being Jazz…will appreciate this unique tale, a timely novel suitable for any middle school kid who feels different.”—School Library Journal, starred audio review

Visit to learn more about LILY & DUNKIN:

Visit our Stories & Interviews page to hear Donna Gephart read her author’s note about the inspiration for LILY AND DUNKIN.

Download the Resources & Discussion Questions from LILY AND DUNKIN on our Discussion Guides page.

OUT OF DARKNESS by Ashley Hope Pérez
Read by Benita Robledo and Lincoln Hoppe


Ashley Hope Pérez sets her riveting story of love and tragedy in an East Texas oil town against the backdrop of the 1937 New London school explosion, one of the worst school disasters in American history. In this historical context, she explores racism and segregation, posing thought-provoking questions about these divisive forces. A must-listen Hear Diversity pick, OUT OF DARKNESS is a beautifully rendered, multi-layered story that demonstrates the power of bringing diverse voices alive on audiobook.

Narrator Benita Robledo [imbues] the multiple viewpoints with authenticity and empathy …Pérez’s latest is wide-eyed testimony to the undeniable best and unrelenting worst of humanity; turning away (or turning off) is never an option.”—School Library Journal, starred audio review

AUTHOR GUEST POST: A long-time audiobook listener, author Ashley Hope Pérez wrote about the experience of hearing her own audiobook produced. Read her blog post here.

THE HATERS by Jesse Andrews
Read by Michael Crouch


Fans of Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl will love Jesse Andrews’ new ode to band camp, rock music, and unlikely friendships. Narrator Michael Crouch takes listeners on a hilarious summer road trip with three young musicians. This audio will strike a chord with music lovers of all ages.

What makes this audiobook special is narrator Michael Crouch’s comic timing…His characterization of the teens is impeccable…Give this to your music lovers, who will appreciate the musical references and band-name dropping throughout the audiobook.”
School Library Journal, starred audio review

MEET NARRATOR MICHAEL CROUCH: YA Books Central interviewed Michael Crouch about his experience narrating the audiobook, including which scene was most difficult for him to read.

Read by Jayne Entwistle, Fiona Hardingham, and Allan Corduner with a note read by the Author


Julie Berry and Jayne Entwistle, the acclaimed author/narrator duo behind the Odyssey Honor winner The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place, join forces with expert narrators Fiona Hardingham and Allan Corduner to present a transporting historical tale set in medieval France. Berry’s richly vivid prose and the compelling narration will sweep listeners away. Plus, the author’s note provides some fascinating historical background on the story’s events, as well as the inspiration for the character of Dolssa.

“This lush and compelling book is enhanced by brilliant narration by Jayne Entwistle, Allen Corduner, and Fiona Hardingham. Lucky listeners will be haunted by their voices long after the book concludes.”—School Library Journal, starred audio review

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