2022 Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production for Children announced

For Immediate Release
Mon, 01/24/2022

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CHICAGO – HarperAudio/Katherine Tegen Books, producers of the audiobook “Boogie Boogie, Y'all,” have won the 2022 Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production for Children. HarperAudio/Quill Tree Books, producers of the audiobook “When You Look Like Us,” have won the 2022 Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production for Young Adults. These wins mark the first year that the Odyssey Medal is being awarded in two age categories. The award announcement was made today during the American Library Association’s (ALA) LibLearnX: The Library Learning Experience, held virtually from Jan. 21- 24.  

The Odyssey Awards are given to the producer of the best audiobooks produced for children (0-14) and young adults (12-18) available in English in the United States during the preceding eligibility year. One winner may be selected for each age category with a single honor list comprised of titles for both age categories. 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.

“Boogie Boogie, Y'all,” written and narrated by C. G. Esperanza, produced by Almeda Beynon, and published by HarperAudio, takes the listener on an auditory adventure through the Bronx, painted with the colorful rhythm of the city. With a hip-hop beat, this celebration of the city matches the energy of the often-overlooked art that illustrates public spaces. The perfect timing and cadence will have listeners tapping their toes and bobbing their heads.

“Pure joy at first listen, ‘Boogie Boogie, Y'all’ is truly outstanding with its originality, energetic vibe, and catchy beat,” said Odyssey Award Committee Chair Pat Toney. 

“When You Look Like Us,” written by Pamela N. Harris, narrated by Preston Butler III, produced by Almeda Beynon, and published by HarperAudio highlights class, race, and socioeconomic divisions. When Jay Murphy realizes that his sister Nicole is missing, he is determined to find her, despite the cards stacked against them. Butler deftly handles multiple voices with precision, passion, and panache, leaving listeners to wonder why some lives matter more than others. 

“Preston Butler III’s narration draws you into this compelling tale and elicits feelings of trepidation, warmth, and solace,” said Odyssey Award Committee Chair Pat Toney. 

The Odyssey Committee selected three Honor Audiobooks. 

“Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah” is written by Laurie Ann Thompson, narrated by Adjoa Andoh, produced Aaron Blank, and published by Listening Library, and imprint of Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group. Born in Ghana with one functional leg, Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah overcomes pain and prejudice, and embarks on an epic bicycle ride to raise awareness for disability rights. Andoh’s expressive voice brings out the joy and triumph in this uplifting story, working in tandem with the warm musical score.

“I Talk Like a River” is written and narrated by Jordan Scott and produced by Erick Black with Dreamscape Media. A young boy who is bullied because of his stutter finds strength in the sounds of a river. The author’s stuttering narration of this autobiographical story gives an immersive experience unmatched by the picture book alone. This much-needed audiobook offers representation and a bridge to build empathy.

“Perfectly Parvin” is written by Olivia Abtahi, narrated by Mitra Jouhari, produced by Sarah Jaffe, and published by Listening Library, an imprint of Penguin Random House Audio. Fourteen-year-old Iranian American Parvin Mohammadi concocts the ultimate plan to move on after a breakup and triumph in high school. Mitra Jouhari is an exceptional narrator, capturing Parvin’s comical, awkward energy. Jouhari delivers authentic Farsi phrases and proper pronunciation while also delighting listeners with Parvin’s perfectly hilarious thoughts. 

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 2022 Odyssey Award Committee are Chair Pat Toney, Oakland Public Library,
California; Stephanie Bange, Children’s Literature Consultant, Dayton, Ohio; Katelin Deushane, Peoria Public Library, Illinois; Sarah Hashimoto, Jackson District Library, Michigan; Sarah Julsonnet, Trinity Episcopal School, Austin, Texas; Nicole Rawlinson,  Library Education Consultant, Occoquan, Virginia; Keiko Sanders, San Marcos, California; Audrey Sumser, Stark
Library, Canton, Ohio; Caitlin Tormey, Sacramento Public Library, California; Barbara A.
Ward, University of New Orleans; and Kary Henry, award administrative assistant, Deerfield
Public Library, Illinois.

For information on the Odyssey Award and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit www.ala.org/yma

About the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC)
The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) is driven by more than 4,000 members dedicated to the support and enrichment of library service to children. Our members include youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty. ALSC supports its members in engaging communities to build healthy, successful futures for all children. To learn more about ALSC and how to join, please visit our website at www.ala.org/alsc.

About the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)
For more than 50 years, YALSA has worked to build the capacity of libraries and librarians to engage, serve and empower teens. For more information about YALSA or to access national guidelines and other resources go to www.ala.org/yalsa, or contact the YALSA office by phone, (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390, or email, yalsa@ala.org.