Awards & Recognition SLJ’s Must-Have Audiobooks for Tweens and Teens

School Library Journal asked audio-savvy school and public librarians for their audiobook recommendations and six Listening Library titles made their list! These audiobooks were “chosen for their outstanding text, narration, sound quality, and how well the audio enhances listeners’ appreciation of the written work… Not only do these audiobooks make for great listening, they are also excellent for classroom use, offering opportunities for research, group discussions, and writing projects that foster critical thinking and creativity.” Middle school and high school students will be hooked by these must-listens! Click here to see their full list.

Middle School

BOMB by Steve Sheinkin
Read by Roy Samuelson

School Library Journal says: “Sheinkin’s stellar, meticulously sourced Newbery Honor winner provides an account of discovery, espionage, and revolutionary changes in physics and the modern world. The book reads like an international spy thriller and captures the science, technology, logistics, and politics of the race to build the first atomic bomb. Samuelson’s clear diction and measured delivery complement the subject matter, offering students the opportunity to absorb sometimes complex material.

DOLL BONES by Holly Black
Read by Nick Podehl

School Library Journal says: “Black’s tale of friendship and the trials of growing up is set against the backdrop of a spooky ghost story. Zach, Poppy, and Alice spend every afternoon concocting new adventures for their dolls and action figures. However, a cruel act by Zach’s father precipitates a series of events that send the three friends on a midnight quest to lay to rest the soul of a murdered girl that now inhabits a bone china doll. Podehl’s narration expertly embodies the three friends as well as the unforgettable characters Tin-Shoe Joe and the pink-haired librarian.

JOSHUA DREAD by Lee Bacon
Read by Maxwell Glick

School Library Journal says: “Joshua is the son of supervillains, the Dread Duo. The sixth grader suddenly becomes “gyfted” with the power of spontaneous combustion. When new girl Sophie shows up at school, Josh finds another “gyfted” teen, but she’s also the daughter of Captain Justice, his parents’ archenemy. After his mom and dad are taken by smoke creatures, it’s up to Josh, Sophie, and his “ungyfted” best friend Milton to save the day. Glick captures the comic antics of the superheroes and villains in Bacon’s novel, and his voices for Joshua and Sophie reflect their unique personalities.

SON by Lois Lowry
Read by Bernadette Dunne

School Library Journal says: “In Lowry’s gripping conclusion to her quartet that began with The Giver, listeners are brought full circle, returning to the fate of Gabriel, the baby saved from “release” by Jonas. Dunne’s reading captures the essence of all the characters and her whispery voice is perfectly suited to this dramatic tale. The powerful story—rich with themes of sacrifice, loss, and the importance of memory—will elicit exciting classroom discussions.”

MOVIE NEWS: An adaptation of The Giver is currently in production. The film will open August 15, 2014.

High School

THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray
Read by January LaVoy

School Library Journal says: “Bray’s novel is stunning, suspenseful, and sure to leave listeners breathless. Thoroughly modern flapper Evie O’Neill’s psychic ability to divine secrets from inanimate objects gets her exiled from her stuffy Ohio town. Sent to stay with her uncle in Prohibition-era New York City, the last thing Evie expects is to be thrown headlong into a terrifying, and seemingly paranormal, serial-murder mystery. Intricately detailed story lines interweave perfectly with a cast of richly drawn characters. LaVoy’s exceptional narration skyrockets an already outstanding tale to the next level, and her perfect pacing gives it a constant edge-of-the-seat ambiance.

GO BEHIND-THE-SCENES: Find out more about narrator January’s casting here.

ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell
Read by Rebecca Lowman amd Sunil Malhotra

School Library Journal says: “Eleanor, 15, is bullied at school because she’s overweight and dresses flamboyantly. Park is a half-Korean boy who has lived in Omaha, Nebraska, all his life but still feels like an outsider. This story of first love slowly builds from the first day Eleanor sits next to him on the school bus. Eleanor finds refuge from her miserable home life at Park’s house after school—until their relationship is tested. Parental abuse, bullying, family resilience, and love combine for a realistic look at adolescents under duress. The narrative points of view alternate between the protagonists, adding dimension to Rowell’s story. Lowman and Malhtra do an excellent job of voicing the teens.

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