2001 Audiobooks for Young Adults

The Media Selection and Usage Committee of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), announces its third Selected List of Audiobooks for Young Adults.

The titles appearing here have been selected for their teen appeal and quality recording, and because they enhance the audience's appreciation of any written work on which the recordings may be based. While the list as a whole addresses the interests and needs of young adults, ranging in age from 12 to 18 years, individual titles need not appeal to this entire age range but rather to parts of that range.

Buried Onions, by Gary Soto, read by Robert Ramirez, Recorded Books, 2001, 3 cassettes, 4.5 hours, 0-7887-5266-9.
In a voice suitable to this older teen protagonist's edgy and often grim existence, both author and reader invest the story of urban life in California's Central Valley with realism and insight.

Edith's Story: Courage, Love and Survival During World War II, by Edith Velmans, read by Miriam Margoyles, Audio Partners, 2000, 6 cassettes, 8 hours and 25 mins., 1-57270-177-3.
Surviving the Holocaust by hiding in plain sight with a Christian family, the autobiographer offers her story as a demonstration that Nazism worked deliberately, rather than immediately, to destroy Europe's Jews. With introduction and epilogue read by the author, this is a recording to share across generations, for its insights on family dynamics as well as on politics and religion.

Fever 1793, by Laurie Halse Anderson, read by Emmy Bergl, Listening Library, 2000, 4 cassettes, 5.75 hours, 0-8072-8718-0.
The reader skillfully portrays the plucky teenaged heroine of this historical novel about the yellow fever epidemic that beset Philadelphia in the late 18th century.

The Folk Keeper, by Franny Billingsley, read by Marian Thomas Griffin, Listening Library, 2000, 3 cassettes, 5 hours, 0-8072-8421-1.
In a fantasy tale about a fierce underground Folk in need of continual attention and the girl who, disguised as a boy, keeps them sated, leitmotifs from Celtic folklore are enlivened by the reader's subtle Irish accent.

Frenchtown Summer, by Robert Cormier, read by Rene Auberjonois, ListeningLibrary, 2000, 2 cassettes, 1 hour and 42 mins., 0-8072-8422-X.
This evocative free verse novel about a Depression-era boy's 13th summer becomes engagingly real in this reading. The second tape is a wide-ranging and poignant interview with the late and much celebrated young adult author.

Gathering Blue, by Lois Lowry, read by Katherine Borowitz, Listening Library, 2000, 4 cassettes, 5hrs. and 43 mins., 0-8072-8731-8.
Deliberate pacing and appropriate voicing make immediate the story of a girl living in a future society where technology has been abandoned, but the rule of law remains strong.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J. K. Rowling, read by Jim Dale, Listening Library, 2000, 12 cassettes, 20 hours and 52 mins., 0-8072-8793-8.
Harry continues to mature in his fourth appearance as he is pitted against both social and physical danger, in a continuingly stellar oral interpretation of a series popular with all ages.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J. K. Rowling, read by Jim Dale, Listening Library, 2000, 7 cassettes, 11 hours and 51 mins., 0-8072-8325-0.
Consistently voiced reading brings Harry's world to life as he learns more about his past during his third year at Hogwarts.

Just Tricking! by Andy Griffiths, read by Stig Wemyss, Bolinda Audio, 1999, 2 cassettes, 2 hours and 20 mins., 1-876584-97-1.
The wildly funny and often irreverent practical jokes reported in these interconnected short stories are augmented by the reader's inclusion of ridiculous directions to listeners.

Lockie Leonard: Human Torpedo, by Tim Winton, read by Stig Wemyss, Bolinda Audio, 1998 (released in US, 2000), 3 cassettes, 3 hours, 1-86442-317-X.
In the first of three recorded novels featuring almost-13-year-old surfer Lockie, both author and reader provide a character admirable for his energy and pithy comebacks as he confronts life in a new town with his poetry-loving cop dad and other assorted domestic baggage.

Looking for Alibrandi, by Melina Marchetta, read by Marcella Russo, Bolinda Audio, 1999, 6 cassettes, 8 hours, 1-74030-231-1.
The Italian-Australian actress reader who shares the 17-year-old protagonist's ethnic heritage provides perfect pacing for this first person story about an illegitimate Catholic high school senior whose father comes unexpectedly into her life.

Monster, by Walter Dean Myers, read by full cast, Listening Library, 2000, 2 cassettes, 3 hours, 0-8072-8362-2.
The first Printz winner gains accessibility for a wider audience in this full cast presentation of the story of a teenaged boy, and would be film maker, who finds himself in court, accused of murder.

Shakespeare: His Life and Work, by Richard Hampton and David Weston, read by the authors with performances from 33 plays by Judi Dench and Timothy West, Audio Partners, 2000, 2 cassettes, 2 hours and 28 mins, 1-57270-178-1.
Brevity and authority, combined with energetic reading and good casting, provide access to both the playwright and his works.

Sherlock's Secret Life, by Ed Lange, narrated by Karl Malden and performed by the New York State Theatre Institute, New York State Theatre Institute, 1999, 2 cassettes, 1 hour and 43 mins., 1-892613-03-4.
The young Sherlock Holmes, and his familiar cohorts Dr. Watson and Professor Moriarty, are portrayed in this original and fully dramatized story about an early case which brought the detective to the brink of lovelorn heartbreak.

Sitting Bull and His World, by Albert Marvin, read by Ed Sala, Recorded Books, 2001 (released in US, 2000), 6 cassettes, 9 hours, 0-7887-5033-X.
In a format well suited to its subject, Sitting Bull, who lived in an oral culture, this reading presents the compelling and clarifying true story of a mythic figure in American history. The author provides dignity and understanding to his examination of the perspectives that created myth in the place of reality.

Slake's Limbo, by Felice Holman, read by Neil Patrick Harris, Listening Library, 2000, 2 cassettes, 2 hours and 23 mins., 0-8072-8743-1.
Presented in a voice well matched to the hazards and hopes of the 13-year-old protagonist, the story of Slake's escape to a self imposed exile in the New York subway system rings both true and contemporary.

Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, read by Mandy Siegfried, Listening Library, 2000, 3 cassettes, 5 hours, 0-8072-8403-3.
A ninth grader hides a terrible secret until her art teacher helps her to speak the truth in this well paced reading of the Printz Honor book.

The Subtle Knife, by Philip Pullman, narrated by Philip Pullman with a full cast, Listing Library, 2000, 8 cassettes, 8 hours and 55 mins., 0-8072-8196-4.
The sequel to The Golden Compass is brought to life, as was the previous volume of the fantasy trilogy, by this full cast production. Here Lyra combines forces with Will as the two refugees from dystopic worlds find they are not yet in a safe haven.

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, read by Roses Prichard, Audio Partners, 2000, 9 compact discs, 10 hours and 20 mins., 1-57270-190-0.
The vivid presentation of this classic American novel offers both those readers new to and those familiar with the story of Scout Finch's challenges to her hometown's prejudices, an engaging listening experience.

Tomorrow, When the War Began, by John Marsden, read by Suzi Dougherty, Bolinda Audio, 1999, 4 cassettes, 7 hours and 20 mins., 1-876584-92-0.
The light Australian accent and youthful sound of the reader bring to life this initial volume in a series about teen survival, ingenuity and competence. The six remaining volumes of the story are also available, performed by the same reader, in this uniform audio edition.

Walker's Crossing, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, read by Tom Wopat, Listening Library, 2000, 3 cassettes, 5 hours and 2 mins., 0-8072-8409-2.
In a style that suits this story of a young teen's confrontation with pride in his traditional Western lifestyle and his realization that his brother's patriotism has become twisted into hate, the reader gives credible voice to both teen and adult characters.

Wild: Stories of Survival from the World's Most Dangerous Places, by various authors, edited by Clint Willis, read by Albert Coia, Richard Rohan, and Nick Sampson, Listen & Live Audio, 2000, 4 cassettes, 6 hours, 1-885408-51-X.
Sophisticated teens who enjoy armchair adventure can travel along the Amazon with Redmond O'Hanlon, fight nature's heat with Norman Maclean, seek survival in the frozen wilds with Jack London, and experience other adventure-true and fictional-in seven presentations read with the sense of adrenalin required by the circumstances of the protagonists.

Williwaw! by Tom Bodett, read by the author, Listening Library, 2000, 4 cassettes, 5.5 hours, 0-8072-8225-1.
A 13-year-old girl and her younger brother, left on their own in their Alaskan cabin, must cross the bay in their small craft to buy new batteries. They encounter a williwaw, the same type of violent storm that killed their mother.

The Media Selection and Usage Committee members are: Jerene Battisti (Renton, Wash.); Candace Bundy (Fairview Park, Ohio), chair; Leslie Dann (New York, N.Y.); Kathleen Degyansky (Woodside, N.Y.); Francisca Goldsmith (Berkeley, Calif.); Susan Hawk (Decatur, Ga.); Mary Hennessey (East Lansing, Mich.); Dale McNeill (Dallas, Texas); and Amy Spaulding (New York, N.Y.).