JANET MARTIN: Audiobooks: Family Listening Update
Listeners of all ages can be offended by strong language, explicit violence and sex included in some adult audiobooks.
While plenty of nonfiction and insprirational audiobooks that avoid these problems are available, fiction lovers might want to consider books published for young adults and older children. Books targeted at readers over12 usually have strong main characters, value-driven action, and story lines as compelling as any adult book. With fewer abrupt scene and viewpoint changes, they are ideally suited for audio.
While Listening Library and Recorded books issue large numbers of audiobooks for the younger audience, several newer publishers also provide great family listening. The following books of particular merit represent three small publishers, two of them very new.
n "The Goose Girl," by Shannon Hale. A fully dramatized reading from independent publisher, Full-Cast Audio, started in 2002 by author Bruce Coville. Ani, crown princess of Kildenree, is shocked when her mother announces that instead of succeeding to the throne of Kildenree, Ani is to be sent to a distant kingdom for a political marriage. With little time to brood over her insults, she is soon months from home and running for her life when her maid, Selia, inspires a mutiny among the guards and takes Ani's place as princess. This beautifully written fantasy was finalist for two Audies in 2007, winning one. Ages 12 to adult.
n "Jazz," by Walter Dean Myers. This amazing book won the first Odyssey Award for the best audio for children and/or young adults. A short book of poetry about a uniquely American musical tradition is more sophisticated than its length suggests, and will delight both adults and teens. While the lyrical narrations by James "D-Train" Williams and Vanessa Thomas are extraordinary, the music that accompanies and illustrates the content creates an experience transcending the text. Includes a brief history of jazz and explains musical terms. Publisher Live Oak Media has been producing children's audio for about 25 years. Ages 10 to adult.
n "The Sign of the Salamander," by Eugenia Miller. Henry Carter, new to France, is on his first school trip when he falls through a time portal to awaken as Henri Cartier in 16th century Amboise. He meets Leonardo da Vinci, living in the village as the guest of King Francis II. Henri and his friends thwart a notorious bandit who is trying to steal Da Vinci's weapon designs. It's a fine tale of growing up amidst the changes of the Renaissance. The book is beautifully read by Talmadge Ragan, formerly of Southern Pines. It was released in audio by BlueKiss as its first audiobook offering. Ages 10 to adult.
Contact Pinehurst writer Janet Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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