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August/September 2013

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Children & Family Listening THE VINE BASKET Josanne La Valley Read by Zeynep Bilik This bittersweet story is set in remote East Turkestan—now China. The Uyghur people are much like the Tibetans as their homeland and culture have been taken over by the Han Chinese. Narrator Zeynep Bilik presents 14-year-old Mehrigul, her little sister, and her grandfather with warmth, sweetness, and dignity. Mehrigul has a difficult, almost hopeless, life until an American woman spots a beautiful basket she's made. Bilik skillfully slips from beautiful accented English to Mandarin to Uyghur (including translation), which adds authenticity to the story. Mehrigul's drunken, gambling father and depressed mother are aptly rendered in tones of anger and frustration. A moving author's note in La Valley's own voice recounts how she was inspired to write about the family after a personal encounter. Listeners of all ages will learn from Mehrigul's simple tale. S.G.B. KENNEDY'S LAST DAYS: The Assassination That Defined a Generation Bill O'Reilly Read by Edward Herrmann This historical audiobook focuses on the events that culminated in President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination. Although the book is targeted for a younger audience, Edward Herrmann's narration is magnificently suited for both adult and child listeners. He leads his audience expertly through this fact-filled account to its unforgettable end. Herrmann creates a compelling cadence that builds to a crescendo as the drama and horror unfold in the last chapters of Kennedy's life. This will be the first time that many young listeners hear a detailed account of how one man's anger and delusions changed the course of American history. Adult listeners who remember that fateful day will feel a strong connection to Herrmann's presentation. E.E.S. Macmillan Audio 3.25 hrs. Unabridged Ages 10+ Trade Ed.: CD ISBN 9781427235169 $19.99 (also DD) Herrmann's narration is magnificently suited for both adult and child listeners. Listening Library 6 hrs. Unabridged Ages 10+ Trade Ed.: DD ISBN 9780385363877 $20.00 Library Ed.: CD ISBN 9780385363884 $45.00 (also DD) ORPHAN TRAIN RIDER: One Boy's True Story HERO ON A BICYCLE Shirley Hughes Read by Simon Vance As WWII rages around a family in Florence, Paolo, a young teen, finds himself helping the Allies with his trusty bike. The story, which blends a coming-of-age theme with wartime suspense, is perfect for listening because of narrator Simon Vance. There are almost as many accents as there are characters, and Vance nails them all. He does a fine job with Italian civilians like the Crivelli family and the people they come across during the war, in particular an injured Canadian and a sympathetic German. Vance gives all the characters consistent voices throughout. M.B. Brilliance Audio 3.5 hrs. Unabridged Ages 10+ Trade Ed.: CD ISBN 9781469274751 $22.99 (also MP3, DD) Library Ed.: CD ISBN 9781469274935 $54.97 (also MP3, PRE) Andrea Warren Read by Laura Hicks Laura Hicks narrates this glimpse into a little-known detail of American history: the "orphan trains" that carried orphaned or abandoned children from their homes in the East to new families in the West between 1854 and 1930. Hicks's narration is clear and well paced, characteristics that are appropriate for a historical work. She provides down-home Western accents for some of the people portrayed in the book, and her vocal variation helps to keep the listener's interest. This is classified as a children's book, but some of the themes touched upon— such as family loss, abandonment, and abuse—may be too harsh for younger children. S.E.G. AudioGO 1.5 hrs. Unabridged Ages 8+ Trade Ed.: DD ISBN 9781620645666 $14.95 Library Ed.: CD ISBN 9780792796404 $29.95 (also DD) THE WINTER HERO James Lincoln Collier, Christopher Collier Read by Charlie Thurston In Massachusetts in 1786, 14-year-old Justin longs to be a hero like his brotherin-law, Peter, who recently returned from fighting in the Revolution. Narrator Charlie Thurston's delivery is methodical and precise, with distinct voices for each character. Postwar economic depression results in higher taxes, causing farmers to become so debt ridden that they either foreclose on mortgages or end up in debtors' prison. After an organized attempt by Captain Shays and local farmers to close down county courts, the rebellion becomes an armed insurrection. Thurston's portrayal of Justin's fears and conviction is spot-on. The majority of the story is done well, but moments in the heat of battle are oddly unemotional. Nonetheless, the listening experience is an enjoyable way to learn about this important historical event. M.F.T. AudioGO 4.5 hrs. Unabridged Ages 10+ Trade Ed.: DD ISBN 9781620644812 $19.95 Library Ed.: CD ISBN 9780792795223 $49.95 (also DD) August/September 2013 I 57

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