Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Allies by Alan Gratz Narrated by Jamie Cline, Vaneh Assadourian, PJ Ochlan, Matthew Frow, Marc Anthony Samuel, Norah Hunter Scholastic Audio Publication Date: October 15, 2019 ISBN: 9781338567182
Allies follows the lives of six different young people on D-Day, June 6th, 1944. Dee a German national who grew up in the states and lies about his age to join the Army, Samira an Algerian girl whose mother is a French resistance spy, James a Canadian paratrooper, Henry an African American medic from Chicago, Bill an English tank driver and Monique a French girl living in a village outside of Normandy Beach. The narrative zips between these six stories which often intersect, telling how each of our main characters got to June 6th and leaving the reader wondering if they’ll make it to June 7th alive. This audiobook is an account of young people’s activity in WWII minus the extreme gore or language found in many adult books.
Juniper, The Happiest Fox by Jessika Coker Chronicle Books Publication Date: March 27, 2018 ISBN: 9781452167602
Animal rehabilitator Coker recounts the story of how she came to raise a runt fox kit. Juniper, who has a snaggletooth and lolling tongue, lives with Coker, as she cannot be safely released into the wild. Coker’s Instagram pictures of Juniper soon went viral, and the fox became an internet star. Along with vibrant color photos, the book also includes many facts about foxes.
For the past few years, one of my favorite events at the ALA Annual Conference has been YALSA’s YA Author Coffee Klatch. A ticketed event, the Coffee Klatch provides attendees with the opportunity to chat with fabulous young adult authors about their books, youth literature in general, and- in the case of Internet Girls author Lauren Myracle- most overused emoji. Most of the authors participating in the Coffee Klatch have had their work recognized on at least one of YALSA’s six annual selected lists and/or have been recipients of one of YALSA’s five literary awards.
Similar to speed dating, there are approximately 30+ round tables set up around the ballroom at which 8 or so people are seated. Every 5 minutes, a whistle goes off and a new author joins you at your table. To give you an idea of how memorable this event is: my husband reminded me of the 2008 Coffee Klatch we attended at ALA in Anaheim, along with our tiny infant son strapped to his chest (“Hey, that’s where we met John Green!”). This year, I brought along my sister, Nirmala, who happened to be experiencing ALA and Las Vegas for the very first time (!). She’s a writer, and getting to sit with fellow authors and commune about literature and the writing process engaged her on a whole new level. As a librarian who regularly reads and shares these authors’ works in a professional and personal capacity, the Klatch is basically my chance to fangirl them (but not in a creepy way, of course…yeaaaaah).
This year’s literary line-up included Josephine Angelini, Paolo Bacigalupi, Jessica Brody, Ally Condie, Jim Di Bartolo, Matt de la Pena, Matt Dembicki, Becca Fitzpatrick, Jonathan Friesen, Carol Goodman, Alan Gratz, Claudia Gray, Collen Gleason, Ryan Graudin, Nathan Hale, Jenny Han, PJ Hoover, Katherine Howe, Lindsey Leavitt, Marie Lu, Jonathan Maberry, Lauren Myracle, Blake Nelson, Jandy Nelson, Caragh O’Brien, Mary Pearson, Jason Reynolds, Graham Salisbury, Neal Shusterman, Jon Scieszka, Marcus Sedgwick, Clare Vanderpool, Scott Westerfeld, Cat Winters, and Meg Wolitzer.
Here are some highlights from my table:
Blinding Us with Science
Jon Scieszka’s new middle-grade Frank Einstein series is STEM-based with a lot of appeal for reluctant readers. Claudia Gray discussed A Thousand Pieces of You, the first book in her forthcoming Firebird series, featuring time-bending, parallel universes, and a healthy dose of romance. Continue reading ALA Annual 2014: YALSA’s YA Author Coffee Klatch