Saturday, August 30, 2008

Audiobooks & Social Networks

Social Networks that connect book lovers - Shelfari, LibraryThing, Facebook's iRead (soon to be WeRead), & GoodReads - have been in the news recently. Tim O'Reilly had a great post on the topic this week: Social Networking for Books: One Ring, or Loosely Joined? I completely agree with his remarks that we all tend to stick to the network that we first use. But I had to leave a comment on his post about the fact that all of the book social networks have very active audiobook aficionados posting their recommendations. Just search for the tag "audiobook" and see what other listeners are recommending! Wouldn't it be great if audiobook publishers would add their titles to the networks, so that we wouldn't have to use & edit the print title covers & information? And the ability to add or link to a sample clip of the audiobook would be awesome!

I try to keep my LibraryThing audiobook list current - and am usually way behind, especially at the start of the school year! And although I've set up accounts at the other networks, I can't say I've been back more than a handful of times. Sort of like me & the whole Twitter thing. I did once look at FriendFeed, and was boggled by the possibilities. I'd be able to keep up with all the great Web 2.0 connections, if only I didn't have to sleep & work ;-) Any audiobook social network libraries out there that you'd like to recommend?

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Audiobooks a chapter at a time for cell phones

I'd love to see this type of marketing here in the U.S.! This title from Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice) is the perfect match for tweens who shop at Claire's. Interesting comments in this article from the U.K.'s - especially the view that current phone technology is great for audiobooks, but not quite ready for eBooks. Here's the whole article:

Mobile services provider ICUE has launched a marketing campaign to offer Claire's Accessories customers a free chapter download of a Macmillan title: Ugenia Lavender and the Lovely Illness by Geri Halliwell.

The campaign marks a change in strategy for the company, away from downloading whole books on mobile phones in favour of chapter sample downloads. ICUE is now working with both adult and children's publishers to develop marketing campaigns including chapter downloads, mobile web advertising and tagging for outdoor marketing.

Managing director Jane Tappuni said: "We found that the English-speaking market was not ready to read books on mobile phones and that the mobile phone technology also needs to develop, so we have put book downloads on ice for now."

For the latest campaign, ICUE has partnered with mobile phone provider ROK. A "mobile magazine" is sent to opted-in Claire's Accessories customers, who are asked if they want a chapter download of Halliwell's book. This is offered in 16 Claire's Accessories branches and is expected to go nationwide to all 320.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Britain's Booker Prize on your phone

More on audiobooks in England from

For the first time, UK mobile phone users will be able to download free extracts from titles selected for this year’s Man Booker prize when the shortlist is announced on 9th September.

The Man Booker Prize has exclusively partnered with mobile site; it is the first time that any book prize has used mobile technology to promote its shortlist. Jonathan Taylor, chairman of the Booker Prize Foundation, said: "After 40 years making the headlines in the literary world, it is good that the Man Booker Prize is now taking a lead in the world of new technology."

As soon as the shortlist is revealed, the public will immediately be able to text MBP to 60300 to download a free extract of their chosen title to read as text or listen to as audio. They can then order a hard copy of the book to be delivered directly to their door, or download the full audio version. The cost will be added to their mobile phone bill.
Here's a link to the original article by Katie Allen.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Times Audiobook Festival

Audiobook fans will want to listen in to the podcasts of The Times of London Online Audiobook Festival. You'll hear a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the British audiobook world, where abridgments are common. Interviews with top audiobook actors, including Andrew Sachs (best known as Manuel in Fawlty Towers), Lorelei King, and Neville Jason, are included. You'll also hear producers, abridgers, and representatives from download services such as Go Spoken. Great stuff! Here is the line up:

The online audio festivat: Panel 1 - Audio Abridgment

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Recommended MP3 players for downloading audiobooks from public library

Wondering about which MP3 player to purchase to make the best use of the FREE downloadable audiobooks, videos, and eBooks from your public library's website? Check out a great article by Jasmine France on CNET. I'd add two more player to the recommended list: the Creative MuVo T200 - a great little player you can throw against a wall or punish with a trip through the washer & dryer, and it will still work. Perfect for teachers or school libraries to buy & circulate to students! And I keep a low-cost SanDisk Sansa m250 in my gym bag. Check online for some great deals on the Sansa. I agree with France's recommendations - we have a Creative Zen V Plus, and it's my current favorite player for library downloads, as most public library download services require a Windows-based player. But think of it this way: for the cost of a single audiobook on CD from your local bookstore, you can buy a player that will enable you to download hundreds of favorites for free. I am looking forward to downloading titles to one of my iPods from my local library's OverDrive service soon, as more public libraries add titles without Digital Rights Management to the collection. Read this Library Journal article for more details.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Brisingr: Listen to the language

Getting ready for the release of newest title in the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini on September 20th? Here's a great way to promote the amazing performance by Gerard Doyle, who will continue his readings on the audiobook of Brisingr. Random House has created an Inheritance audio quiz - take a look at Ancient Language Quiz #1 and Quiz #2 The answers to the the quizzes are in the rest of the materials included in a batch of great Release Day events which include iron-ons and even a Brisingr tattoo! There's also a recorded message from Paolini for fans. Great way to include the audiobook series fans who prefered Doyle's tour-de-force narration of Eragon & Eldest in the release date excitment!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Kindle and audiobooks: resource roundup

Kindles & audiobooks – I’ve been searching for information, as I am trying to justify the purchase of a new shiny toy and am trying to decide between devices that can double as both audiobook players and eBook readers. Here’s a random round-up of items that I found interesting:

Kindle User's Guide

Audible’s Kindle User’s Guide

Scott Hansen’s on Amazon Kindle

Amazon’s Listening to Audio Books on Your Kindle

Dear Jeff, Please fix and, oh yeah, make the Kindle stop hating Mac users

MacWorld’s Why Amazon’s Kindle is Revolutionary (includes what you don’t know)

Audiobooks Easier Than Ever - Amazon Kindle

MP3s on the Kindle

How to Listen to Audiobooks on Kindle

How to Listen to Background Music While Reading on the Kindle - This tells how to listen to an MP3 audiobook while reading on the Kindle – which answers my question about the Tantor Unabridged Classics on a Kindle.

Library Journal Editorial: To Kindle or Not – Must reading for anyone interested in taking advantage of the free loan of audiobooks through the public library

Could iPhone smoke the Kindle? Hmm.. another shiny toy

And here is a great quote from Tom Peters on the ALA TechSource blog about the need for the Kindle to be able to Toggle from print to audio:

The Kindle seems like a nice device, but there's always more that could be included in the next iteration. I like to read both visually and aurally, but usually not at the same time. I did spot a headphones jack on one side of the Kindle in one of the videos, but I cannot find mention of the possibilities for any type of aural reading experience. An immersive listening experience with a good downloadable digital audio book is a wonderful thing. Can the Kindle handle audio books? Better yet, is there good text-to-speech software included so that I can switch from visual reading to aural reading in the middle of a book, as I get up from my easy chair (and watch Max my dog quickly jump into that warm spot) and head off in my car to take my older son to piano practice?

Feel free to add any resources I missed as a comment!

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Nabaztag: Adorable bunny reads a book

Ok - it may be the grandma-to-be in me, but this is really cute: Nabaztag, the multipurpose Internet-connected rabbit. Take a look at how he can read a Ladybird book aloud. As my sister lives in England (where Ladybird books are the equivalent of the US Little Golden Books), my own kids had plenty of these short retold fairy tales & original stories around the house. What kid could resist a read-aloud from a cute little rabbit? And I must admit, I kinda want one for myself!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Post literate culture: a return to a more natural way of communication?

If you are a school librarian, you are probably a fan of the wonderful Doug Johnson & his Blue Skunk blog. His post today has a great comment about the postliterate culture, personified by Net Gen students. Here is how he describes the postliterate: those who can read, but chose to meet their primary information and recreational needs through audio, video, graphics and gaming.

And here is that great comment:

But I would argue that postliteracy may be a return to more natural forms of communication - speaking, storytelling, dialogue, debate, and dramatization. It is just now that these modes can be captured and stored digitally as (or more) easily as writing. And information, emotion and persuasion may be even more powerfully conveyed in multi-media formats.
All the more reason for those of us who work with the Net Gen to incorporate audiobooks and other multi-modal literacy into the brand new school year! Want a great title that will bring all of the communication modes mentioned by Johnson into the classroom? Get your hands on Recorded Book's excellent production of Newbery Award-winning Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village. It is a wonderful multi-voiced presentation that models for listeners the reader's theater performance - how author Laura Amy Schlitz originally wrote the work. A must-have audiobook for school libraries!

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Pronunciation guides for personal, commercial, and place names

I had a request for resources to check the pronunciation of names, with a focus on online sources with sound files - from one of my favorite audiobook narrators, Kate Reading, whose recent title The Host is fantastic. Here are some quick tools to use when checking the accuracy of an audiobook narrator's work - or for your own use! And don't forget the accent and dialect resources from this post: Authentic accents in audiobooks.

Pronunciation Guides for personal & commercial names:

Voice of America’s name pronunciation, with quick & easy sound file search:

From Inogolo: English pronunciation of the names of people, places, and stuff. This site has sound files, which take awhile to load:

Name web search:

From the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). These are not sound files, but have easy-to-follow phonetic guides:

The ABC Book, a pronunciation guide to commercial names:

Say How? A Pronunciation Guide to Names of Public Figures:

How to pronounce children’s & YA author names (sound files recorded by the author!) from Teaching Books:

Place name pronunciation guides:

Merriam-Webster Geographic Dictionary print edition is a great resource:

Or try the place name at Merriam-Webster online to see if there is a sound file:

Columbia Gazetteer of the World Online: a subscription database with sound files, which may be available through your public or academic library:

Oxford Dictionaries Online’s “Ask an Expert” – send your question via this link!

Sometimes the best option for a place name is to call the area’s public library and ask for the pronunciation!

Try this site to find a local library in the US:

Or this one for library websites from around the world:

Monday, August 4, 2008

International Association of School Librarians Conference: Beyond the Book Session Notes

Why audiobooks? Listening…

Increases fluency

Expands listening skills

Raises reading comprehension

Enlarges vocabulary

Boosts pronunciation skills

Supports struggling readers

Expands literature experiences for proficient readers

Improves test scores

Increased fluency & interpretation

Expert readers model fluent inflection & enunciation within the story’s narrative flow

Narrator’s voice reveals punctuation, accents, dialects, and cultural vocal patterns

Listeners hear the story through another reader’s voice, gaining deeper meaning

Audiobooks provide opportunity

Comprehension level when listening is often two years above reading level, allowing struggling readers, English Language Learners, and those with learning differences to join the community of readers through audiobooks alone or when paired with text.

Building a community of readers

Audiobooks allow all students access to classroom literature

Time with text = high vocabulary

Audiobook review sources

AudioFile Magazine

Book Links


Horn Book


Library Journal

Publisher’s Weekly

School Library Journal


Starting an audiobook collection

Choose “whole class” Language Arts titles first

Survey resource teachers for titles & topics

Decide on interfiled or separate shelving

Piggyback with Title 1 or other funding groups

Seek grants from PTO or education foundations

Marketing your audiobooks

Hook teachers first – survey to see where a need is perceived

Include audiobooks in displays & booktalks

Purchase circulating players & rechargeable batteries

Hold CD ripping, MP3 loading & public library downloading workshops

Create a listening club

Parents as audiobook partners

Create pre-holiday break or open house displays of family-friendly audiobooks for travel time listening

Highlight your audiobook collection in parent newsletters along with research data on audiobooks

Provide audiobook + large print material lists

Purchase audiobook titles to supplement parent/child book clubs

Making audiobooks part of the curriculum

Hook teachers with a long commute on audiobooks

Lobby for audiobooks fulfilling teacher’s reading assignment quotas

Have audiobook research reports at-hand

Include audiobooks in pathfinders, summer reading lists, and classroom topic collections.

Achieving Content Standards with Audiobooks


Students identify significant contributions of composers and performers to our music heritage.

Music Connections

What Charlie Heard / Live Oak Media ~ Readalong biography of composer Charles Ives brings to life all of the sounds described and illustrated on the page.

Dramatic Arts

Students analyze the creative techniques used in creating and performing dramatic/theatrical works and evaluate dramatic/theatrical works using appropriate criteria

Dramatic Arts Connections

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village / Recorded Books ~ This Newbery-winning title was written to be performed as Reader’s Theater, as modeled by the full cast of narrators.

Visual Arts

Students understand the impact of visual art on the history, culture, and society from which it emanates.

Visual Arts Connections

The Pot That Juan Built / Weston Woods ~ Mexican potter Juan Quezada’s artistic process is revealed in a multilayered readalong for all ages.

Social Studies

Students use knowledge of the purposes, structures and processes of political systems at the local, state, national and international levels to understand that people create systems of government as structures of power and authority to provide order, maintain stability and promote the general welfare.

Social Studies Connections

Revenge of the Whale / Audio Bookshelf ~

Mesmerizing factual narrative with period sea shanties as musical accompaniment.


Students demonstrate an understanding of different historical perspectives, scientific approaches and emerging scientific issues associated with the life sciences.

Science Connections

The Adoration of Jenna Fox / Macmillan Audio ~ Listeners will explore the issues of medical ethics, organ transplants, and the very concept of human existence.

Foreign Language

Students demonstrate an understanding of insights gained into another culture through the examination of its practices (behaviors), products (tangibles such as monuments, food and literature, and intangibles such as laws and music) and perspectives (attitudes, values, ideas, world views).

Foreign Language Connections

Chato’s Kitchen / Live Oak Media ~ Narrator Willie Colon voice and authentic background music provide the perfect Latino cultural flavor to this title.


Students demonstrate number sense, including an understanding of number systems and operations and how they relate to one another.

Mathematics Connections

How Much is a Million? / Weston Woods ~ Audio and illustrations combine to illuminate the concept of large numbers.


Students use computer and multimedia resources to support their learning

Identify what information is, and recognize that it can be represented in a variety of ways

Technology Connections

Frankenstein / Tantor Media ~ Tantor’s Unabridged Classics series includes both the audiobook read by a top narration plus the entire book as a PDF file that may be read on computer or hand-held reader, allowing full-text search & print capabilities.

Language Arts

Students define and investigate self-selected or assigned issues, topics and problems. They locate, select and make use of relevant information from a variety of media, reference and technological sources.

Language Arts Connections

Duck for President / Weston Woods ~ A title that can be enjoyed by all ages and at many levels, made even more enjoyable by Randy Travis’ witty narration & musical accompaniment.

Language Arts

Students acquire vocabulary through exposure to language-rich situations, such as reading books and other texts and conversing with adults and peers.

Language Arts Connections

Blues Journey / Like Oak Media ~ A stunning readalong that recreates the title, adding original blues music, with the poem that trace the history of the Blues sung as lyrics.

Evaluating Audiobooks

Use the titles below to model the bulleted evaluative benchmarks

The Narrator as Author’s Voice

The reading should be authentic and appropriate to content, with voices that match the time and place of the text as well as characters’ gender, ages, and moods.

The reader should use well-placed inflections and tones and convey the meaning of the text through engaging expression, emotion, and energy.

The reader should maintain and differentiate character voices, accents, or dialects consistently. Narrative descriptions ("He murmured," for example) should be read appropriately.

A single performer may read in a straightforward manner using his or her natural voice with suitable inflection and tone. Or the reader may vary his or her voice to change tone, inflection, accent, and emphasis to represent multiple characters. The reading might also be a combination of the two styles, with major or pivotal characters receiving particular emphasis. Some audios feature multiple narrators taking on specific roles and characters or full cast dramatizations.

Recommended titles: (* notes Odyssey Award title)

* Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows / JK Rowling / Listening Library

Born to Rock / Gordon Korman / Brilliance Audio

Boy Meets Boy / David Levithan / Full Cast Audio

Clementine / Sara Pennypacker / Recorded Books

The Curious Incidence of the Dog in the Night-time / Mark Haddon / Recorded Books

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie / Jordan Sonnenblick / Scholastic Audio

The Girls/ Amy Koss/ Full Cast Audio

Ish / Peter Reynolds / Weston Woods

Rotten Ralph Helps Out / Jack Gantos / Live Oak Media

So Much to Tell You / James Marsden / Bolinda Audio

Wolf Brother / Michelle Paver / HarperChildren’s Audio

Window to Culture / Reflection of Region

Cultures & ethnicities are presented authentically and without stereotype.

Geographic terms, foreign terminology, and other challenging phrases and words should be pronounced correctly and with ease.

Musical features match the culture and region portrayed.

Recommended titles: (* notes Odyssey Award title)

* Bloody Jack / L.A. Meyer / Listen & Live Audio

Bindi Babes / Narinder Dhami / Listening Library

The Cay / Theodore Taylor / Listening Library

Does My Head Look Big in This? / Randa Abdel-Fattah / Bolinda Audio

Homeless Bird / Gloria Whelan / Listening Library

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency / Alexander McCall Smith / Recorded Books

A Pack of Lies / Geraldine McCaughrean / BBC Audiobooks America

The Power of One / Bryce Courtenay / Bolinda Audio

When My Name Was Keoko / Linda Sue Park / Recorded Books

Whale Rider / Witi Ihimaera / Bolinda Audio

Blues Journey / Walter Dean Myers / Live Oak Media

Secret Life of Bees / Sue Monk Kidd / HighBridge Company

Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood / Benjamin Alire Saenz / Recorded Books

To Kill a Mockingbird / Harper Lee / Caedmon

Dairy Queen / Catherine Gilbert Murdock / Listening Library

Bucking the Sarge / Christopher Paul Curtis / Listening Library

Parrot in the Oven / Victor Martinez / Harper Audio

Behind the Booth: Production Quality

Quality productions maintain a clean, crisp sound that allows for periods of silence and a range of dynamics, without affecting volume levels.

The recording should be free of sibilant or plosive microphone pick-ups. Distractions result if the reader moves off the microphone, has an overly dry or juicy mouth, or can be heard swallowing.

Sloppy production may result in titles that are too loud or intense, have missing or repeated text segments, show obvious dubbing or noticeable time differences in recording sessions, or contain abrupt or lengthy chapter or line breaks.

The packaging should correctly note title, author, and readers’ names as well as accurate running times or notice of abridgement.

Readalongs (picture book and audio sets) require additional evaluative criteria. Because the intent is for youngsters to follow along with the picture book while listening, there should be no mismatches between the words, pictures, and sound effects. Page turn signals are usually an option and these cues should allow time for young listeners to follow the text and explore the illustrations.

Recommended titles: (* notes Odyssey Award title)

*Jazz / Walter Dean Myers / Live Oak Media

(Fifteen people worked for five months to produce the Odyssey Award-winning 43 minute audiobook!)

Journey of the One & Only Declaration of Independence / Judith St. George / Weston Woods

The Goose Girl / Shannon Hale / Full Cast Audio

Peter and the Starcatchers / Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson / Brilliance Audio

Seven Blind Mice / Ed Young / Weston Woods

The One and Only Shrek / William Steig / Macmillan Young Listeners

The Golden Compass / Philip Pullman / Listening Library

Gifts & Goodies: Audio Extras

Music may be used as an introduction or to delineate mood, setting, or time changes. The background music must be unobtrusive and not interrupt the narrative flow.

If sound effects are used, they serve to subtly enhance the production, rather than distract.

Bonus features include author interviews, critical essays, or other supplemental audio materials.

Added content may be informational booklets, links to web-based material, games or computer files on disk, or graphic materials such as illustrations or photographs.

Recommended titles: (* notes Odyssey Award title)

*Dooby Dooby Moo / Doreen Cronin / Weston Woods

*Treasure Island / Robert Louis Stevenson / Listening Library

Eagle of the Ninth / Rosemary Sutcliff / Naxos Audio

Fairest / Gail Carson Levine / Full Cast Audio

Hitler Youth / Susan Campbell Bartoletti / Listening Library

I Am Not Joey Pigza / Jack Gantos / Listening Library

The Invention of Hugo Cabret / Brian Selznick / Scholastic Audiobooks

King for Kids / Clayborne Carson, ed. / Hachette Audio

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel / Virginia Lee Burton / Magic Maestro Music

Poets' Corner: The One-and-only Poetry Book for the Whole Family / John Lithgow, ed. / Grand Central Publishing

Revenge of the Whale / Nathaniel Philbrick / Audio Bookshelf

Series of Unfortunate Events / Lemony Snicket / HarperChildren’s Audio

The Wall and the Wing / Laura Ruby/ Brilliance Audio

When Marian Sang / Pam Munoz Ryan / Live Oak Media

Breaking the Wall: The Art of the Audiobook

The audiobook must stand alone as a fully-realized expression of the author’s intent and meaning.

The mark of an excellent audiobook is one in which the wall of performance is removed so that listeners fall completely into the audiobook experience.

Recommended titles: (* notes Odyssey Award title)

*Skulduggery Pleasant / Derek Landy / HarperChildren’s Audio

Before I Die / Jenny Downham /Listening Library

Day of Tears / Julius Lester / Recorded Books

The Book Thief / Markus Zusak / Listening Library

Buddha Boy / Kathe Koja / Full Cast Audio

Dead Fathers Club / Matt Haig / HighBridge Audio

Elijah of Buxton / Christopher Paul Curtis / Listening Library

I, Coriander / Sally Gardner / Listening Library

Keturah and Lord Death / Martine Leavitt / Recorded Books

Lon Po Po / Ed Young / Weston Woods

Private Peaceful / Michael Morpurgo / Recorded Books

The Wee Free Men / Terry Pratchett / HarperChildren’s Audio

Presented by Mary Burkey & Francisca Goldsmith, August 4, 2008

International Association of School Librarians: Ten Tips for Teens New to North American English

Ten for Teens New to North American English

Francisca Goldsmith IASL 2008

Nearly ten years of working with Earphone English has allowed the development of some basic tenets of audiobook selection for this group of diverse English Language Learners.

Titles selected should

  • Feature resilient teen characters
  • Offer a balance of plot- and character-driven elements
  • Include nonfiction as well as fiction in many genres

Performances should

  • Consume between one and five hours of listening time
  • Provide excellent pronunciation of both English, representing a variety of accents and dialects, and any other language included in the text
  • Offer a variety of voices, either by a single performer, a full cast, or an arrangement between

The titles on this list are the most heavily requested ones in the Earphone English collection, which currently numbers more than 400 unique audiobooks. Multiple copies of these are suggested so that friends and classmates can listen to any of them without regard to other concurrent listeners. Alternatively, download arrangements may make it possible to have multiple concurrent listeners. Cassette and download are the easiest formats for this project, as both allow the listener to stop and start at the same place. Compact discs are suitable if the packaging includes information about chapters or pagination coordinated with track numbers in order to facilitate finding one’s last listening place.

Breadwinner (Listening Library)

Book by Deborah Ellis; performed by Rita Wolf.

Set in Afghanistan when the Taliban was in power, Ellis’ culturally competent story and contextualizing is matched by Wolf’s excellent pronunciation of Pashtu words. This combination makes the listen a welcome one for teens for whom the story’s world is not foreign, while the brevity and compelling story arc make it accessible for other listeners as well.

The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child (Audio Bookshelf)

Book by Francisco Jimenez; performed by Adrian Vargas.

These based-on-the-author’s-life stories of illegal immigration, manual labor, and discovery of books are brought to life by a reader with fitting inflections, as well as appropriate accent. This audiobook is one of the few that is also available in Spanish, allowing new listeners comfortable with Spanish to first listen to it before moving on to the English version.

Esperanza Rising (Listening Library).

Book by Pam Muñoz Ryan; performed by Trini Alvarado.

A consistent favorite with students, both girls and boys, since its first publication in 2000 (audiobook in 2001), the themes of immigration and reworking one’s identity are realized in a plot that includes magic realism and historical accuracy. Spanish words and phrases are correctly and seamlessly pronounced and add texture to the English language story.

The First Part Last (Listening Library)

Book by Angela Johnson; performed by Khalipa Oldjohn.

This immediately gripping story of a teen facing the responsibilities of fatherhood is narrated in cadences that new Americans will already recognize as representative of African American speech. Listening to diversity is an important element of becoming acculturated.

Lost! On a Mountain in Maine (Audio Bookshelf)

Book by Donn Fendler with Joseph Egan; performed by Amon Purinton.

The author, 50 years after the fact, recounts being alone in the wilderness. The narration here is straightforward, giving the listener the sense of immediacy that comes from hearing about the event first-hand.

Miracle’s Boys (Listing Library)

Book by Jacqueline Woodson; performed by Dule Hill.

The story of three young brothers raising themselves after their Puerto Rican and African American parents’ deaths is credible, as is the range of tones and speech patterns the narrator provides to differentiate among them.

Seedfolks (Audio Bookshelf)

Book by Paul Fleishman; performed by a full cast.

The nine narrators in these interconnected stories of a community garden’s caretakers reflect a variety of ages, ethnicities and genders. Each reader here was chosen, in part, because s/he is a member of the demographic from which his/her character is drawn. Listeners new to English relate to the overarching story but also have the opportunity to sample how different types of voices and pitches aid or confuse their understanding of their new language.

A Step from Heaven (Listening Library)

Book by An Na; performed by Jina Oh.

This archetypal immigration story allows listeners to develop a better understanding of how the experience affects and is affected by different personality types. Oh pronounces Korean words easily and correctly and portrays the main character’s growth from preschool age through high school graduate.

Speak (Listening Library)

Book by Laurie Halse Anderson; performed by Mandy Siegfried.

The story of a young high school students who begins the year traumatized by a summer event resonates with both girls and boys. The narrator realizes the emotions of the main character as well as providing personality in the voices of her tormentors.

Stuck in Neutral/Cruise Control (Recorded Books)

Books by Terry Trueman; performed by Johnny Heller/Andy Paris.

Companion stories by brothers—one physically incapable of communicating and the other deeply stressed by the impacts of his family dynamic concerning a disabled member—prompt students to act as sleuths in putting together the full social and psychological picture of what disability can mean for individuals. Heller’s boyish voice, and Paris’s somber tones, work well for these temperamentally different brothers.

International Association of School Librarians Conference Session: Beyond the Book Resource List

Recommending Resources

IASL Conference August 2008 Mary Burkey & Francisca Goldsmith


Beavin, Kristi. "Audiobooks: Four Styles of Narration." Horn Book Magazine Sep. 1996: 566-573.

Beers, Kylene. "Listen While You Read." School Library Journal Apr. 1998: 30.

Burkey, Mary. "Sounds Good to Me: Listening to Audiobooks with a Critical Ear." Booklist 01 June 2007: 104.

Clark, Ruth Cox. "Audiobooks for Children: Is This Really Reading?." Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children Spring 2007: 49-50.

Dowell, Jennifer M. “The Alchemy of Children’s Audio.” AudioFile Apr./May 2001: 18-23.

Fallows, James. "Reading by Ear." Atlantic Monthly Jan. 2001: 16-17.

Goldsmith, Francisca. "Earphone English." School Library Journal May 2002: 50.

Grover, Sharon, and Lizette D. Hannegan. "Not Just for Listening." Book Links May 2005: 16-19.

Harmon, Amy. "Loud, Proud, Unabridged: It Is Too Reading!" New York Times 26 May 2005: G1-G2.

Harris, Karen. "What Makes a Book Narrator?" Booklist 01 Jan. 1998: 833.

Jemtegaard, Kristi Elle. "Audio Poetry: A Call to Words." Horn Book Magazine May 005: 357-364.

Jemtegaard, Kristi. "Readers vs. Listeners." Booklist 01 Apr. 2005: 1399-1399.

Seper, Chris. "To Curl Up With a Good Book, Listen Up." Plain Dealer 23 May 2005: B1.

Kozloff, Sarah. "Audio Books in Visual Culture." Journal of American Culture Winter 1995: 83.

Marchionda, Denise. “A Bridge to Literacy: Creating Lifelong Readers Through Audiobooks.” AudioFile Aug./Sept. 2001: 19-21.

Mediatore, Kaite, and Mary K. Chelton. "Reading with Your Ears." Reference & User Services Quarterly Summer 2003: 318.

Varley, Pamela. "As Good as Reading? Kids and the Audiobook Revolution." Horn Book Magazine May 2002: 251-262.

Wysocki, Barbara. "Louder, Please." School Library Journal Mar. 2005: 10-14.

Online links:

Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults:

The Art & Craft of Narration:

The Audible Art of Poetry:

Audies Award Winners:

Audiobooks & Literacy:

Audiobook Lexicon:

Audiobook Reference Guide:

Audiobooks on Satellite Radio:

BBC’s Streaming Audio:

Celebrating Excellence in Audiobooks for Children & Young Adults Podcast:

Creating Lifelong Readers Through Audiobooks:

Earphone English Club Ning:

History on the Highway:

How Earphones English Started:

Librivox Free Public Domain Audiobooks:

Listening Library’s Teacher Resources:

New Chapter or Last Page? Publishing Books in a Digital Age

Notable Children’s Recordings:

Now Playing: A Review of the Accessibility of Digital Audio Players:

Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production:

Odyssey Award 2008 Booklist Forum Podcast:


Project Gutenberg:

Radio Drama Resources:

Recorded Books Resource Guides to Research & Classroom use:

Scott Brick’s Narrator’s Diary:

Talking the Talk: An Audiobook Lexicon

Tamora Pierce’s Audio Biography:

The Making of a Star Wars Audiobook

Twenty-first Century Reading

A Visit With the Full Cast Audio Family:

Voice Acting: A New Career Opportunity:

Young Adult Audiobooks:

Why Listen at All: