Booklist Editors' Choice: Media

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Audio for Youth

2012 Selection(s)

Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian

By Eoin Colfer. Read by Nathaniel Parker. 2012. 7.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $37 (9780307991218); DD, $47 (9780307991225). Gr. 5–9.

The narrator of previous Artemis Fowl series titles, Parker fluidly changes accents (British, Irish, American) to portray teenage criminal mastermind Artemis and a huge cast of characters, including elves, dwarfs, and pixies.

The Case of the Deadly Desperados

By Caroline Lawrence. Read by T. Sands. 2012. 7hr. Listening Library, CD, $43 (9780307968845). Gr. 4–6.

In a convincing, albeit over-the-top, western twang, Sands reads this action-packed western, which opens with 12-year-old P. K. Pinkerton discovering that his foster parents have been murdered.

Code Name Verity

By Elizabeth Wein. Read by Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell. 2012. 10hr. Bolinda, CD, $59.97 (9781742857640); DD, $39.97 (9781742857657). Gr. 9–12.

This audio depicting the horror of WWII, as seen through the eyes of two friends, double-agent Verity (one of many names she goes by) and fearless British pilot Maddie (code name Kitty Hawk), is masterfully voiced by Christie and Gaskell (portraying Verity and Maddie, respectively) in authentic accents, dialects, and expressions of emotion. Produced by Bolinda, the audio is distributed by Brilliance Audio. (Top of the List winner–Audio.)

Django: World’s Greatest Jazz Guitarist

By Bonnie Christensen. Read by George Guidall. 2011. 19min. Live Oak, CD, $29.95 (9781430109822). Gr. 3–6.

Guidall’s calm, assured reading of Christensen’s rhythmic verses recounting the story of jazz musician Django Reinhardt, lovely background music, and authentic sound effects combine in this exceptional read-along.

The Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe’s Very First Case

By Alexander McCall Smith. Read by Adjoa Andoh. 2012. 1hr. Listening Library, CD, $15 (9780449011423); DD, $17.10 (9780449011430). Gr. 2–4.

Andoh brings joy to this fun mystery in which young Precious Ramotswe solves her first case when cake and other treats go missing from school lunches. Andoh’s British-laced reading, tinged with an African dialect, authentically denotes the Botswana setting.

High Dive and Other Things That Could Have Happened

2011. 1hr. Round River, CD, $15 (9781878126573). Gr. 3–5.

Veteran storyteller, songwriter, singer, and funnyman Bill Harley’s album featuring both songs and stories begins with a hilarious story-song about a nine-year-old boy who tries to jump off the high dive in order to impress a pretty teenage lifeguard.

The Fault in Our Stars

By John Green. Read by Kate Rudd. 2012. 7hr. Brilliance, CD, $59.97 (9781455869879). Gr. 9–12.

Meeting in a cancer survivor group, teens Hazel Grace and Augustus fall in love and willingly “ride all the way up” on the roller coaster of life. Rudd expresses the teens’ humorous, sad, sarcastic, and realistic dialogue with deadpan precision in this moving, exceptional story.

Audio for Adults

2012 Selection(s)

NPR American Chronicles: Civil Rights

By Michele Norris. Read by Michele Norris and others. 2011. 3hr. HighBridge, CD, $24.95 (9781611745085); DD, $17.47 (9781611745092).

NPR reporter Norris’ soothing voice bridges 26 NPR interviews (with Rosa Parks and others), stories, and accounts in this riveting collection of defining moments of the civil rights movement.

The Pickwick Papers

By Charles Dickens. Read by David Timson. 2012. 32.5hr. Naxos, CD, $137.98 (9781843795551).

Timson tackles Dickens’ sprawling novel, filled with an eccentric cast of British characters, in a splendid performance that radiates warmth and humor.

Society’s Child: My Autobiography

By Janis Ian. Read by the author. 2012. 12hr. Brilliance, CD, $59.97 (9781469255552); DD, $39.97 (9781469255576).

Ian sings the lyrics that open each chapter of this mesmerizing memoir, which transports us back in time as we listen to Ian recollecting her personal and professional life and singing snippets of “At Seventeen” and “Jesse,” among other originals.