Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Audies Finalists: Terrific audiobooks for middle grades (ages 8-12)

I love listening to audiobooks -- but even more so, I love introducing children and families to this wonderful way of reading. Parents often ask me whether this is really reading, and I assure them that it is. Listening to an audiobook helps a child develop their comprehension skills as they imagine the story in their mind.

The Audie Awards finalists have just been announced, and I'm having a great time exploring them. These awards are given annually by the Audio Publisher's Association, recognizing distinction in audiobooks. It considers everything from the narrator's performance to the editing and production qualities.

I especially like the way the Audie Awards have a specific category for middle grade audiobooks. These books make terrific family listens for long car trips and also for daily drives to school. Here are this year's finalists:
All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook, by Leslie Connor
narrated by Michael Crouch and Kathleen McInerney
Eleven-year-old Perry has lived with his mom at the Blue River Coed Correctional Facility his whole life. So far, Warden Daugherty has let him stay with his mother. I am looking forward to listening to this book -- one that's been recommended by several friends. AudioFile magazine writes, "This poignant story inspires questions about truth, justice, family, and home."
Demon Dentist, by David Walliams
narrated by David Walliams, Jocelyn Jee Esien, and Nitin Ganatra
Demon Dentist is perfect for fans of Roald Dahl's Matilda or The Witches. Alfie is reluctant to visit the town's new dentist--like many of us, he hates someone prodding in his mouth. But when Dr. Root visits his school, Alfie can immediately tell that something is not quite what it seems. The multiple narrators, including author Walliams, brings alive this colorful cast. I have just started listening to this, and Dr. Root is deliciously wicked in this goofy, outlandish story of tooth-rot and good-versus-evil.
The Enchanted Files: Hatched, by Bruce Coville
narrated by a full cast, including Bruce Coville, Matthew Frow,ayne Entwistle, Kirby Heyborne and more
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the first Enchanted Files book, Cursed, the diary of a mad brownie Angus who's curse brings him to modern America. In this new book, Gerald, a poetry-writing griffin named Gerald, tells his story in diary format, as he struggles with his worries whether he'll be brave enough to live up to being a griffin. Coville's signature wit and humor makes me look forward to listening to this--his stories have always been terrific as audiobooks.
How to Train Your Dragon: How to Fight a Dragon’s Fury, by Cressida Cowell
narrated by David Tennant
Many of my students love this series, and I know they're going to be excited to learn about this epic finale. I've always found the audiobook versions of these tales terrific because they convey Hiccup's accent and humor so well. From the publisher's summary, "The Doomsday of Yule has arrived, and the future of dragonkind lies in the hands of one boy with nothing to show, but everything to fight for. Hiccup's quest is clear... But can he end the rebellion?"
The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog, by Adam Gidwitz
narrated by Adam Gidwitz, Vikas Adam, Mark Bramhall, and more
The Inquisitor's Tale comes alive as an audiobook, with multiple narrators helping readers envision the different characters who come to the roadside tavern to tell their part of the story of three magical children and their quest. Gidwitz combines adventure, history, humor and action along with a story that helps us think about prejudice, collaboration and friendship, I read this story, and then listened to the entire story again as an audiobook. It is absolutely terrific. Gidwitz won a Newbery Honor (hooray!!) for this outstanding tale. I'm so glad it's also being recognized for the terrific audiobook.

Have fun listening to these great stories. Thank you to all of the judges of the Audie Awards for helping bring these to our listening ears.

The review copies borrowed from the public library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2017 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I've never heard of the Audie Awards. I have to check these out. My students and I love audiobooks!