Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2020) Nominees Round Up, April 3 Edition

Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America edited by Ibi Zoboi, narrated by  Bahni Turpin, Ron Butler
Published Date: January 8, 2019
ISBN13: 9780062698742

From a girl at a camp in the Oregon woods trying to make peace with the life she sees her half-sister having, to a nerdy Foot Locker employee in a Chewbacca shirt trying to hit on the cute girl from Nordstroms, this anthology of seventeen A-list authors looks at the diverse experiences of Black teens across the country. From the funny story of Coe Booth’s New York teen spending summers at Hackathons to having your heartstrings pulled in Jay Coles story of two boys on the wrong side of a family feud falling in love, but having to compete against each other in horse racing, and to Brandy Colbert’s of a girl often seen as an “oreo,” who secretly applied to a HBCU without telling her parents, each story stands out as it explores identity where being Black is Black Enough.

Bahni Turpin and Ron Butler narration helps make each character become become fully realized bringing their voices forward, whether it is the humor that underlies Rita Williams Garcia’s teen at boarding school who is having a conversation with a slave from the past through a bathroom mirror, or the melancholy of Keekla Magoon’s of a girl wondering what could have been after the girl she likes, but didn’t really know, dies in an accident. Turpin and Butler’s versatility makes each story is distinctly different and each character their own person.

Listeners will enjoy discovering new authors, and hearing stories from other favorites. This is a great gateway to anthologies for listeners unsure of the short story format as each story is engaging and stellar. This will be in good company with story collections like Fresh Ink edited by Lamar Giles, A Thousand Beginnings and Endings; 15 Retellings of Asian Myths and Legends edited by Ellen Oh, the 2019 Alex Award winner How Long ‘Til Black Future Month by N.K. Jemison, Let It Snow; Three Holiday Romances edited by John Green, and Unbroken; 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens edited by Marieke Nijkamp.

–Danielle Jones


Getting Away with Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case by Christopher Crowe
Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication Date: January 22, 2019
ISBN: 9780525628361 

In 1955, Emmett Till’s mother sent him to Mississippi to enjoy a last gasp of summer with his family.  Just weeks later, she was planning his funeral, an event which captured national and international attention.  Christopher Crowe’s Getting Away with Murder follows the tragic story of how Emmett Till was kidnapped, brutally beaten, and murdered.  In this expanded audiobook, Crowe includes new data that has come to light under new Federal Hate Crimes regulations as well information about how this case continues to influence Civil Rights Leaders in the Black Lives Matter Movement and beyond.

Victor Bevine ably narrates this compelling text.  Crowe’s writing combined with Bevine’s sincere and approachable narration brings the trial, sentencing, and the repercussions of the whole tragedy to stark reality for listeners.  Despite references to several newspaper articles, interviews, testimonies, and investigative reports, the narration is well done and easy to follow.  The additional material that covers so much that has come out regarding this case since 2010 is seamlessly added into the original work.  It is also significant enough to make this title worthy of addition to any public or school library.

For readers who want to learn more about the Emmett Till’s life and his place in history, try Simeon’s Story by Simeon Wright and Herb Boyd which includes a first hand account of the kidnapping from the point of view of Till’s cousin, Simeon.  His mother, Maime Till-Mobley, wrote The Death of Innocence: The Hate Crime that Changed America for an adult audience, but teens may enjoy the deeper look at how Maime Till went against convention of the day to seek justice for her child.  For those who interested in more non fiction titles on a similar subject matter, try Don Mitchell’s The Freedom Summer Murders.  For books that explore similar themes of racial injustice, racial violence, and fighting for Civil Rights try The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Dear Martin by Nic Stone, or Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Cole

–Erin Phemester