Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production

About the Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production
This annual award will be given to the producer of the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States.

Administered by:

Association for Library Service to Children logoYoung Adult Library Services Association logo

Award and Frequency

Annual award winner receives a bronze medal and honorees, if any, receive a plaque. 
This award is given out on an annual basis.


 The ALSC/Booklist/YALSA Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production shall be awarded annually to the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults.

  • All literary genres are eligible for consideration, including read-alongs.
  • The Committee will consider and vote on titles published within their assigned calendar year, January 1 to October 31, in addition to those published between November 1 and December 31 of the previous year. A title may only be submitted once and cannot be reconsidered the next year.
  • Audiobooks produced previously in another audio format are ineligible for consideration.
  • The audiobook is intended for either young adults or children, who are defined as persons up to and including age 18; works for this entire age range are to be considered. Adult titles are ineligible.
  • Audiobooks featuring single or full cast narration are eligible.
  • Audiobooks previously published in another country are eligible presuming they have also been distributed in the United States during the term of eligibility.
  • “In English” means only audiobooks produced in English are considered, but this requirement does not limit the use of words or phrases in another language where appropriate in context.
  • If no title is deemed sufficiently meritorious, no award will be given that year.
  • The chair, with assistance from designated ALSC or YALSA staff, is responsible for verifying the eligibility of all nominated titles.
  • The award will be presented to the publisher[s] of the winning and/or honor audiobooks. 

Applicant Responsibility

Award winner and honorees attend the Odyssey Award Presentation program during the ALA Annual Conference. Only the award winner presents acceptance speech.

Application Instructions

How to submit recordings for consideration for the Odyssey Award:

  • The committee is only considering recordings release between November 1, 2013 – October 31, 2014.
  • Review the terms and criteria for the award.
  • Please download and complete a Submission Form for each entry.
  • Mail one copy of the recording and a completed submission form to the ALSC office (ATTN: Odyssey Submissions, 50 East Huron, Chicago, IL 60611-2795).
  • Mail one copy of the recording and a completed submission form to the award committee chair and Booklist consultant. Address information can be found on the Submission Form.
  • ALSC membership is not a requirement to submit your work and there is not an entry fee for the Odyssey Award.

Please note:

The ALSC office is only requesting for one copy to be sent to the ALSC office and one copy to the committee chair. Standards are in place for the committee members to review and share submissions. If you are submitting for multiple awards, only one copy needs to be sent to the ALSC office.

Neither the ALSC office nor the committee chair can confirm receipt of submissions. If you would like to confirm receipt of your submission please use a mailing service with delivery confirmation. Submissions that are dropped off in- person to the ALSC office will not be accepted.

The ALSC office cannot answer eligibility questions or advise on which award your submission is eligible for. It is up to you to review the terms and criteria and if you feel you qualify, submit as appropriate. Eligibility is determined by the committee and is confidential.

The book and media awards are announced each year at ALA’s Midwinter Meeting in January. The materials received by the ALSC office throughout the year will be used for ALSC’s Bookapalooza Program. The Bookapalooza Program selects three libraries to receive a Bookapalooza collection of these materials to be used in a way that creatively enhances their library service to children and families.

Deadline for submitting works is October 31, 2014.

Contact Information

If you need more information, feel free to contact the ALA Library Reference Desk by telephone: 800-545-2433, extension 2153; fax: 312-280-3255; e-mail: library@ala.org; or regular mail: ALA Library, American Library Association, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611-2795.

Selection Criteria

The literary merit is part of an excellent audiobook, it is not what creates the unified whole of the completely unique literary experience provided by an audiobook.  For that experience, the following criteria are essential:

General Guidelines

This award recognizes excellence by a producer or director for accomplishment and/or innovation in the production of an audio program. The winning title must exemplify the highest standards of direction, narration, engineering, and technical achievement.

  • Popularity is not the criterion for this award nor is the award based on the message or content of the book on which it is based.
  • The committee must consider technical and aesthetic aspects, including the effective use of narration as well as music and sound effects when they are incorporated into the production. These elements must come together to create a unified whole.
  • The audio must maintain and stimulate listeners’ interest.
  • Production Qualities
    • Narration
      • Does the reader (or readers) have good voice quality, diction, and timing? Is the reader (or readers) believable and convincing?
      • Does the reader (or readers) distinguish between characters by changing pitch, tone, and inflection? Are accents or dialects used and if so, are they handled authentically and consistently?
      • Are all words, including proper nouns, locales, foreign terms, character names, and others pronounced correctly and consistently?
      • Does the reader (or readers) avoid condescending vocal mannerisms and style and is the reading believable and convincing?
      • Is the performance dynamic and does it reflect the expressive nature of the text?
    • Sound Quality
      • Is the sound sharp and clear with no obvious humming, distortion, or electronic interference?
      • Does the sound quality remain consistent throughout the recording?
    • Background Music and Sound Effects
      • If music and sound effects are used, do they enhance the text and support the vocal performance?
      • Does the music represent the emotional and structural content of the text?
  • Overall Rating

    The sum of all the criteria should represent the highest achievement in audiobooks for children and/or young adults, including

    • excellence in narration;
    • excellence of audio interpretation of story, theme, or concept;
    • excellence of execution in the aural techniques of the medium;
    • excellence in the delineation through the audio medium of literary elements including plot, theme, characters, mood, setting, or information presented;
    • excellence in the appropriateness of technique or treatment to the story, theme, or concept.