Recorded Books wins 2009 Odyssey Award for “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian”

Contacts: Macey Morales/Jennifer Petersen
ALA Media Relations
312 280-4393/5043

For Immediate Release
January 26, 2009

DENVER – Recorded Books, LLC, producer of the audiobook, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” has won the second annual Odyssey Award for excellence in audiobook production. The award announcement was made today during the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Denver, Jan. 23 - 28.

The Odyssey Award is given to the producer of the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States. The award is jointly administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), divisions of the ALA, and is sponsored by Booklist magazine.

“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” was written and narrated by Sherman Alexie and produced by Recorded Books, LLC. With equal doses of humor and pathos, Sherman Alexie’s lilting narration places listeners squarely in 14-year-old Spokane Indian Arnold Spirit’s shoes as he expands his world beyond the reservation to attend a predominantly white high school. Alexie’s pitch-perfect voicing and dead-on pacing capture Arnold’s struggles.

Five Odyssey Award Honor titles were selected:
“Curse of the Blue Tattoo: Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman and Fine Lady,” written by L.A. Meyer, narrated by Katherine Kellgren and produced by Listen & Live Audio, Inc. Versatile narrator Katherine Kellgren takes feisty, seafaring Mary “Jacky” Faber on an ill-fated voyage to become a lady as Jacky stretches her sea legs at an elite Boston finishing school in this humorous and melodramatic sequel to “Bloody Jack,” a 2008 Odyssey Award Honor title.

“Elijah of Buxton,” written by Christopher Paul Curtis, narrated by Mirron Willis and produced by Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group. Mirron Willis’ enthralling, richly authentic narration of Christopher Paul Curtis’ award-winning novel, transports listeners to a historic Canadian settlement of former slaves as 11-year-old Elijah Freeman confronts the realities of slavery.  

“I’m Dirty!” written by Kate & Jim McMullan, narrated by Steve Buscemi and produced by Weston Woods Studios, Inc/Scholastic. Jaunty music, energetic background sounds, and Steve Buscemi’s rollicking narration enliven Kate and Jim McMullan’s vibrant picture book about a dirt-loving backhoe loader.
“Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale” was written and narrated by Carmen Agra Deedy and produced by Peachtree Publishers. Storyteller Carmen Agra Deedy brings spirited wit and cultural touches to her retelling of the traditional Cuban tale of Martina’s quest to find a husband. Bonus tracks include a Spanish version and a storytelling performance.

“Nation” written by Terry Pratchett, narrated by Stephen Briggs and produced by Harper Children’s Audio/HarperCollins Publishers. Narrator Stephen Briggs’ crisp, precise British narration artfully enhances Terry Pratchett’s “Nation,”a survival story focusing on 13-year-old Mau and British teen Daphne, the sole survivors of a tsunami.

“Fantasy, historical fiction, reality, folktales and read-alongs comprise the varied list of award and honor titles selected this year. Listeners of all ages can look forward to hearing outstanding audiobook productions that resonate with authentic dialect, stirring sound effects, rich narration and spritely music,” said Chair Pam Spencer Holley.

Audiobooks constitute a fast growing area of usage in libraries.  The award is named after the epic poem titled, “The Odyssey,” that was told and retold in the oral tradition and eventually ascribed by the poet Homer on the tales of Ulysses as he returns to his kingdom after the Trojan War.  The Odyssey Award allows us to return to the ancient roots of storytelling, while living in our modern world.

Members of the 2009 Award Committee are: Chair Pam Spencer Holley, Hallwood, Va.; Ellen Fader, Multnomah County Library, Portland, Ore.; Juanita Foster, Hennepin County Library, Crystal, Minn.; Joan Schroeder Kindig, James Madison University, Charlottesville, Va.; Jennifer Michelle Lawson, San Diego County Library; Angela Leeper, Wake Forest, N.C.; Jamie Mayo, Kansas City (Mo.) Public Library; Louise Sherman, Leonia, N.J.; Cheryl Karp Ward, Broad Brook, Conn.; and Booklist consultant Sue Ellen Beauregard, Chicago.

ALSC is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children.  With a network of more than 4,200 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries.  To learn more about ALSC, visit their Web site at .

For more than 50 years, YALSA has been the world leader in selecting books, videos, and audio books for teens. For more information about YALSA or for lists of recommended reading, viewing and listening, go to .

For information on the Odyssey Award for Excellence and other ALA literary awards, please visit .