April/May 2019

Discover the World of Audiobooks

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Page 6 of 75

At the Audie Awards Gala in March, I had the great pleasure of meeting two of my personal heroes of children's literacy and literature: actor LeVar Burton and author and narrator Elizabeth Acevedo. The PBS program "Reading Rainbow," hosted by Burton, debuted in June 1983, when I was eight years old and my little sister was almost three. The show, which depicted the endless wonder and adventures to be found in reading, was formative, and I can still remember every word of the theme song. Earlier this year I listened to Acevedo's YA novel The Poet X, which won the 2018 National Book Award and was an Audies finalist. Acevedo gives an astonishing, authentic performance of her audiobook, and I'm eagerly awaiting her next title, which is due out in May and is highlighted in our Editors' Picks. (See pages 8-9.) Because of Burton and Acevedo, I know that generations of young people have found and will continue to find their way to reading and listening—and to find themselves in the books along the way. In this issue, we celebrate and highlight audiobooks for kids and teens, starting with our listen-alikes. (See pages 19-23.) Thanks to literacy consultant Sharon Grover for selecting so many wonderful audiobooks that are diverse and inclusive in both subject matter and style. There's definitely something for every young listener here. Author Bill Konigsberg is another children's literature hero—this year, the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English (ALAN) established a new award in his name: the Bill Konigsberg Award for Acts and Activism for Equity and Inclusion through Young Adult Literature. Read our interview with Konigsberg to learn why. (See page 36.) Our tenth year of the SYNC Audiobooks for Teens program begins on April 25. (See page 16.) Encourage your teenagers to visit to sign up for alerts—they won't want to miss a single FREE audiobook download this summer. Finally, if you're new to audiobooks or are looking for ways to start listening with the young people in your life, check out "6 Tips for Listening to Audiobooks with Kids" on pages 68-69 for some helpful hints. You might just end up being a children's literature hero yourself. Jennifer Dowell Managing Editor Editor's Note: Managing Editor Jenn Dowell has such a great affection and affinity for teen & family audiobooks, she gets the floor here. Next issue, I'll return to this page. Also, a special thank you to illustrator Marty Braun for "iconizing" Jenn above.—Robin Whitten Editor's Notes Children's Literature Heroes Illustration by Marty Braun Inside Track April/May 2019 n 5 Elizabeth Acevedo and LeVar Burton Audiobooks for Kids & Teens Updated 2019 Edition SYNC Audiobooks for Teens

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