Notable Children's Recordings - 2020

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The Notable Children’s Recordings list includes recordings for children 14 years of age and younger of especially commendable quality that demonstrate respect for young people’s intelligence and imagination; exhibit venturesome creativity; and reflect and encourage the interests of children and young adolescents in exemplary ways.

5 O’Clock Band. By Troy “Trombone Shorty" Andrews and Bill Taylor. Read by Dion Graham. Live Oak Media, CD, CD and book. Gr. K-3
Troy “Trombone Shorty" Andrews' stellar musical score and Dion Graham’s warm voicing embody the New Orleans soundscape of Trombone Shorty’s childhood. 

Backstroke Raptor. By Story Pirates. Gimlet Media, CD. Gr. K-4
Based on short stories written by elementary school students, this creative and unique mix of songs features guest artists such as Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Bernard Pepperlin. By Cara Hoffman. Read by Gary Furlong. HarperAudio, DD. Gr. 2-5
Gary Furlong’s dynamic performance captures myriad memorable characters in this Alice in Wonderland spin-off. 

The Bridge Home. By Padma Venkatraman. Read by the author. Listening Library, DD. Gr. 4-8
With heartbreaking feeling and distinct voices, Padma Venkatraman narrates her story of four children finding love and support on the streets of contemporary India. 

Buenos Diaz. By The Lucky Band. Rainy Day Dimes LLC, CD, DD. Gr. PreS
Easily switching between languages, The Lucky Band performs a mixture of catchy English and Spanish songs filled with great harmonies and music for bilingual fun.

Charlotte’s Web. By E.B. White. Read by full cast. Listening Library, CD. Gr. K-4
Meryl Streep’s quiet narration frames this classic tale, headlined by Kirby Heyborne’s naive Wilbur and January LaVoy’s brilliant Charlotte. 

Klawde: Evil Alien Warlord Cat: The Spacedog Cometh #3. By Johnny Marciano and Emily Chenoweth. Read by full cast. Listening Library, DD. Gr. 1-4
Through believable voicing of a displeased evil warlord alien cat, an amenable golden retriever spy, and naive humans, this installment of Klawde’s adventures rockets to life. 

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks. By Jason Reynolds. Read by full cast. Simon & Schuster, CD, DD. Gr. 5+
An all-star cast of narrators bring humor to ten stories depicting the detours taken on the way home from school.

The LOVE. By Alphabet Rockers. School Time Music, CD. Gr. 1-8
The Alphabet Rockers collaborative hip hop album masterfully celebrates love, acceptance, and community while speaking to current cultural issues.  

The Magic of Letters. By Tony Johnston. Read by Marc Thompson. Live Oak Media, CD, CD and book, DD. Gr. PreS-K
Marc Thompson pulls the listener into the magical world of language, emphasizing the energy and feeling of blending sounds together.

Mango, Abuela, and Me. By Meg Medina. Read by full cast. Live Oak Media, CD, CD and book, DD. Gr. PreS-3 
This family-led narration enhances the tale of a Spanish-speaking abuela moving in with her young English-speaking granddaughter and their journey to learn each other’s languages. 

Max and the Midknights. By Lincoln Peirce. Read by full cast. Listening Library, CD. Gr. 2-6 
Kristen DiMercurio leads an amazing full cast production filled with standout characters, pointed jokes, medieval music, and humorous sound effects.

New Kid. By Jerry Craft. Read by full cast. HarperAudio, DD. Gr. 4-8
Adapted from a powerful graphic novel about a boy who finds himself one of only a few students of color in his private school, this full-cast audio creates a vivid auditory landscape. 

On the Come Up. By Angie Thomas. Read by Bahni Turpin. HarperAudio, DD. Gr. 8+ 
Bahni Turpin skillfully captures Bri’s struggle to balance her family’s hardships with her aspiration to be a rapper.

Potato Pants! By Laurie Keller. Read by full cast. Weston Woods, CD, CD and book. Gr. PreS+
A full cast uses hilarious voicing and sound effects to take listeners on a rollicking good time during this epic attempt by a potato to purchase a pair of pants. 

Redwood and Ponytail. By K.A. Holt. Read by Tess Netting and Cassandra Morris. Hachette Audio, DD. Gr. 5+

Two voices, two girls, and two perspectives combine to powerful effect in this novel in verse about middle school, first love and self-discovery. – 2020 Odyssey Honor Audiobook

Roller Girl. By Victoria Jamieson. Read by full cast. Listening Library, CD. Gr. 4-8
The acclaimed graphic novel about Astrid’s adventure into the world of roller derby is brought to life with a full cast, exemplary sound effects, and well-curated music.

Song for a Whale. By Lynne Kelly. Read by Abigail Revasch with the author. Listening Library, DD, CD. Gr. 4-6 
Abigail Revasch’s narration honors the linguistic beauty of American Sign Language in this poignant story of Iris, a deaf girl who records a song for a whale unable to communicate with other whales. – 2020 Odyssey Honor Audiobook

To Night Owl from Dogfish. By Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer. Read by full cast. Listening Library, CD. Gr. 4-7
Told through emails and other correspondence, Cassandra Morris and Imani Parks lead a full cast in a funny and relatable tale of two girls determined to keep their fathers from dating. 

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky. By Kwame Mbalia. Read by Amir Abdullah. Listening Library. Gr. 4+
Amir Abdullah excels at performing a large cast of mythical characters, embodying everyone from the powerful John Henry to the hysterical Gum Baby, as young Tristan has to figure out how to save the world.

The Wall in the Middle of the Book. By Jon Agee. Read by Everest de Montebello and Marc Thompson. Live Oak Media, CD, CD and book, DD. Gr. PreS
Sound effects, music, and dynamic narration enhance this story of a young knight who believes his side of the wall is safer than the other.

The Way You Make Me Feel. By Maurene Goo. Read by Emily Woo Zeller. Tantor Audio, DD. Gr. 8+ 
Emily Woo Zeller’s attitude-filled narration draws listeners into Clara’s world as she is stuck working on a food truck all summer with her mortal enemy. 

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga. By Traci Sorell. Read by full cast. Live Oak Media, CD, CD and book. Gr. 1-3
This dynamic production utilizes music and sound effects to create an audio landscape that delivers a rich family-focused introduction to contemporary Cherokee language, culture, and customs. – 2020 Odyssey Honor Audiobook

We’re Not from Here. By Geoff Rodkey. Read by Dani Martineck. Listening Library, CD, DD. Gr. 5-8
Dani Martineck captures the Mifunes’ precarious situation with well-timed comic relief as the family, seeking asylum on Planet Choom, tries to change the minds of its hostile hosts. – 2020 Odyssey Honor Audiobook

When the Ground Is Hard. By Malla Nunn. Read by Bahni Turpin. Listening Library, DD. Gr. 6+
Bahni Turpin beautifully voices the emotional ups and downs of a teen girl at a 1960s Swaziland boarding school as she learns about her past and finds her true self. 

The Wizards of Once: Twice Magic. By Cressida Cowell. Read by David Tennant. Hachette Audio, CD, DD. Gr. 3-6
David Tennant’s spellbinding performance masterfully brings to life a witch boy, a warrior girl, and an assortment of magical creatures on a quest to stop a terrible evil. 

The Word Collector. By Peter H. Reynolds. Read by Guy Lockard. Weston Woods, CD, CD and book. Gr. K-2
A wonder-filled performance by Guy Lockard set against a musical score captures a young boy’s discovery of the magic and transformative power of words. 

2020 Notable Children’s Recordings Committee

Annamarie Carlson, Chair, Westerville Public Library, Westerville, OH
Amanda Chuong, Princeton Public Library, Princeton, NJ
Rosa Diaz, Rochester City School District, Rochester, NY
Clare Dombrowski, Amesbury Public Library, Amesbury MA
Genevieve Feldman, San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco, CA
Jill Frasher, Kenton County Public Library, Erlanger, KY
Dona Helmer, Retired, Formerly Anchorage School District, Anchorage, AK
Lisa Soper, The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Cincinnati, OH