2022 Notable Children's Recordings

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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. 

All Because You Matter. By Tami Charles. Read by the author. 2020. 9m. Weston Woods Studios, CD and book (9781338750294). Gr. PreS-2
Narrated by the author, the poetic text is enhanced by background music and sound effects that add depth to both the words and Bryan Collier’s beautiful illustrations.

Allergic. By Megan Wagner Lloyd. Read by a full cast. 2021. 1.75hr. Scholastic Audio, DD (9781338751031). Gr. 2+ 
This graphic novel about Maggie, who desperately wants a dog, but is allergic, is brought to life by a stellar full cast performance complete with scene-setting sound effects.

At the Mountain’s Base. By Traci Sorell. Read by Kimberly Guerrero. 2020. 6m. Listening Library, DD (9780593342077). Gr. K-3
A Cherokee family separated by war waits for a cherished loved one to return in this lyrical story celebrating family and bravery. 

Be You! By Peter H. Reynolds. Read by the author. 2021. 6m. Weston Woods Studios, CD and book (9781338803822). Gr. PreS-1
Reynolds encourages kids to be themselves in this inspirational story that features his signature whimsical illustration style, engaging narration, and lively music and sound effects.

Boogie, Boogie, Y’all. By C. G. Esperanza. Read by the author. 2021. 3m. HarperAudio, DD (9780063112865). PreS-3
With a hip-hop beat and perfect timing and cadence, this celebration of the city matches the energy of the often-overlooked art that illustrates public spaces. (The 2022 Odyssey Award winner for children)

Because of Winn-Dixie. By Kate DiCamillo. Read by Jenna Lamia. 2021. 3hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593456378). Gr. 3-7  
With authentic feeling and distinct characters, Lamia brings a classic story to life in this exceptional updated edition. 

The Cat Man of Aleppo. By Karim Shamsi-Basha and Irene Latham. Read by Ramsey Faragallah. 2020. 15m. Listening Library, DD (9780593342022). Gr. K-4
Set against a lush soundscape, complete with many meows, Faragallah’s quiet narration tells the story of Alaa, who stayed in Syria at the start of the war to work as an ambulance driver.

City of the Plague God. By Sarwat Chadda. Read by Vikas Adam. 2021. 10.5h. Listening Library, DD (9780593291160). Gr. 3+
Chadda’s tale of demons and disease comes to life with distinct characters and emotions. Listeners will find themselves caught up in the story of Sik and his battle to rid the world of evil.

Class Act. By Jerry Craft. Read by a full cast. 2021. 2hr. HarperAudio, DD (9780063032057). Gr. 3-8
In this graphic novel sequel to “New Kid,” a full cast gives Jordan and his friends distinct voicing set against a vivid soundscape as they face microaggressions from middle school teachers and peers.

Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah. By Laurie Ann Thompson Read by Adjoa Andoh. 2021. 12m. Listening Library, DD (9780593396681). Gr. PreS-3
Andoh’s expressive voice, working in tandem with the warm musical score, brings out the joy and triumph in this uplifting story. (A 2022 Odyssey Honor Audiobook)

Grandma’s Purse. By Vanessa Brantley-Newton. Read by the author. 2021. 5m. Listening Library, DD (9780593399903). Gr. PreS-1
With warm and engaging narration, Brantley-Newton tells the story of a grandmother sharing the exciting items found in her purse with her granddaughter.

I and I Bob Marley. By Tony Medina. Read by Jamie Lincoln Smith. 2021. Live Oak, CD and book (9781430144632). Gr. 3-8
Smith’s authentic narration transports the listener to Marley’s Jamaica through the use of Marley’s own music, poetry, and creative sound effects. 

I Talk Like a River. By Jordan Scott. Read by the author. 2020. 19m. Dreamscape, DD (9781662052392). Gr. K-3
Scott’s stuttering narration of this autobiographical story gives an immersive experience unmatched by the picture book alone. (A 2022 Odyssey Honor Audiobook)

Ivy. By Katherine Coville. Read by Carmen Viviano Crafts. 2021. 2h. Full Cast Audio, DD (9781936223947). Gr. K-5
A full cast of narrators successfully conjures dragons, griffins, trolls, and more in this exceptional recording the whole family can enjoy. 

Kaleidoscope. By Brian Selznick. Read by Gwendoline Christie with music by Robert Een. 2021. 3hr. Scholastic Audio, DD (9781338794151). Gr. 5+
Christie’s perfectly paced narration and ethereal voice, paired with Een’s unique, discordant music, tie together Selznick’s haunting short stories about a pair of friends bound to each other across time and space.

Max and the Midknights: Battle of the Bodkins. By Lincoln Peirce. Read by a full cast. 2020. 2.75h. Listening Library, DD (9780593339435). Gr. 2-6
Medieval music sets the scene, along with humorous sound effects, and exemplary voicing from a full cast led by Kristen DiMercurio.

A Mind of Your Own. By The Bright Siders. 2021. 45m. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, DD. Gr. Pres-2
Through a mixture of singable lyrics and full cast skits, A Mind of Your Own highlights important topics for social emotional learning in this fun, family friendly recording. 

Ohana Means Family. By Ilima Loomis. Read by Lois Leinani Whitney. 2021. 12m. Live Oak, CD and book (9781430144595). Gr. PreS-4
Soothing music and rhythmic description capture the lush natural beauty of Hawaii through the process of farming taro and creating the traditional dish of poi for a family luau.

Okay to Be Different. By SaulPaul. 2021.15m. 8 Pound Gorilla Records, DD. Gr. PreS-3
Grammy-nominated SaulPaul delivers a dynamic album featuring a plethora of music genres, centered on themes of self-confidence, hope, and individuality. 

The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read. By Rita Lorraine Hubbard. Read by Nikki M. James. 2021. 14m. Weston Woods Studios, CD and book (9781338751857). Gr. K-5
The story of tenacious Mary Walker, who learned to read at the age of 116, is presented through an engaging, emotional, and honest narration highlighted by vivid illustrations by Oge More. 

Playing the Cards You’re Dealt. By Varian Johnson. Read by Dion Graham. 2021. 6h. Scholastic Audio, DD (9781338780949). Gr. 4-7
Graham’s nuanced performance allows each character to shine in this poignant tale of community, family history, and spades.

Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot. By Dav Pilkey. Read by Oliver Wyman. 2021. 15m. Scholastic Audio, DD (9781338750072). Gr. K-3
With non-stop sound effects and Wyman’s squeaktastic performance, Ricky Ricotta’s adventure is an uproarious good time.

Rise of the Slippery Sea Monster. By Gareth P. Jones. Read by David Thorpe. 2021. 2 hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593344286). Gr. 1-4
In this installment of Adventures of the Steampunk Pirates, Thorpe delivers a side-splitting performance featuring spunky voices for an entire cast of characters. 

The Strawberry Band. By Story Pirates. 2021. 30m. Face Cake Records, DD. Gr. PreS-3.
Inspired by stories written by children, this vibrant and zany mix of songs pays hilarious homage to concept albums.

The Sun Is Kind of a Big Deal. By Nick Seluk. Read by a full cast. 2021. 14m. Weston Woods Studios, CD and book (9781338810240). Gr. 1-4
An enthusiastic full cast humorously introduces the wonders of our solar system to children, focusing on the significance of the sun and all its amazing characteristics.

Twins. By Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright. Read by a full cast. 2021. 1.5h. Scholastic Audio, DD (9781338785210). Gr. 2-6
In this full cast performance, Johnson’s popular graphic novel is reinvented as an energetic and engaging audiobook. 

The Way Back. By Gavriel Savit. Read by Allan Corduner. 2020. 11hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593286135). Gr. 7+
Corduner’s narration dazzles in this tale, inspired by Jewish folklore, giving each character a highly distinctive voice, and switching between English, Hebrew, and Yiddish with ease.

We Are Still Here! Native American Truths Everyone Should Know. By Traci Sorell. Read by a full cast. 2021. 45m. Live Oak Media, CD and Book (9781430144670). Gr. 2+ 
Presented by a full cast of children and featuring a robust soundscape, this recording realizes the full potential of Sorell’s powerful, illustrated nonfiction title. 

We Are Water Protectors. By Carole Lindstrom. Read by the author. 2021. 7m. Weston Woods Studios, CD and book (9781338784107). Gr. PreS+
This Caldecott Medal-winning book, illustrated by Michaela Goade, is enhanced by Lindstrom’s authentic, steady voice, immersive music, and sound effects.

2022 Notable Children's Recordings Committee

Jill Frasher, Chair, Kenton County Public Library, Erlanger, KY
Becki Bishop, Campbell Court Elementary School, Bassett, VA
Katie Clausen, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL
Brandi Hamlin, St. Charles City-County Library, O'Fallon, MO
Benji Martin, Tuscaloosa Academy, Tuscaloosa, AL
Casey Maynard, Iowa City Public Library, Iowa City, IA
Casey O'Leary, Indianapolis Public Schools, Indianapolis, IN
Jessica Hilbun Schwartz, Louisville Public Library, Louisville, CO
Lindsay Goldstein, Administrative Assistant, Chicago Public Library, Chicago, IL