Amazing Audiobooks (#AA2021) Nominees Round Up, March 25 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Amazing Audiobooks nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

145th Street: Short Stories Anniversary Edition by Walter Dean Myers; Narrated by Brandon Gill, Almarie Guerra, Johnny Heller, Dominic Hoffman, Sullivan Jones, JaQwan J. Kelly, Adenrele Ojo, Paula Parker, Heather Alicia Simms, Bahni Turpin
Listening Library
Publication Date: January 14, 2020
ISBN: 9780593119662

This book of short stories follows the residents of 145th Street in Harlem as they live their daily lives and face a variety of conflicts. While they could be read and enjoyed as individual stories, they are interconnected to be read as fluidly as a novel. The characters learn about family, love, and community. Some face situations that could be pulled out of modern headlines, like gang threats and police brutality.

First published in 2000, the audiobook of this twentieth anniversary edition includes many great narrators, perfectly paired with their respective stories. The audiobook includes additional content after the stories, including a Q&A with the author about his writing, information about Harlem, and tributes to Walter Dean Myers and his legacy, written by popular children’s and young adult authors. 
Fans of Jason Reynolds and Angie Thomas will enjoy these short stories, and there are echoes of Myers work in Reynolds Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks. For readers who enjoy their fiction in short, quick bursts, this audiobook will be just right, and those who want more of the community feeling might want to pick up Jacqueline Woodson’s Harbor Me next. 

–Tara Williams

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Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Steifvater; Narrated by Will Patton
Scholastic Audio
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
ISBN: 978-1338230123

Set after Steifvater’s Raven Cycle Series, Call Down the Hawk is the first of a trilogy following the Lynch brothers’ story.  Ronan Lynch meets Jordan Hennessy, who can also pull things out of her dreams, but it is killing her to do so. Ronan’s older brother Declan is a member of an underground market, following in their father’s footsteps, and his younger brother Matthew discovers he is a dream himself.   Meanwhile, Carmen Farooq-Lane is hired by a group killing Dreamers, and her story intertwines with the other characters in interesting ways. The dreamers’ connections to the world of art and forgery are fantastic metaphors for what it means to be an artist.

Will Patton’s narration skillfully portrays the many voices in this book, and keeps an excellent level of excitement that drives the story along.  Listeners will recognize him as the narrator of the audiobooks of the Raven Cycle.
Readers who enjoyed the Raven Cycle books will love to follow more of Ronan’s story in this book. Those who like magical realism and feisty characters and intense stories with parallel timelines will love Call Down the Hawk. Fans of Sarah J. Maas, Holly Black, and Adam Silvera will enjoy Stiefvater’s beautiful prose and intense characterization.

— Cathy Outten

The Other Side: Stories of Central American Teen Refugees Who Dream of Crossing the Border by Juan Pablo Villalobos; Narrated by: Tim Andres Pabon, Adriana Sananes
Dreamscape Media, LLC
Publication Date: September 10, 2019
ISBN: 978-1974976300

Ten stories based on interviews with teen immigrants to the US from Central American countries.  Edited to protect the individuals, The Other Side includes stories of the teens harrowing travels, their motivations for leaving home, as well as their mostly less than welcoming experiences once arriving in the U.S.

In this audiobook, stories are voiced by alternating narrators, bringing each teen’s story an individuality.
Readers who are interested in immmigration stories, such as Beast Rider by Tony Johnston and First Crossing: Stories about Teen Immigrants by Don Gallo would enjoy this nonfiction account, as well as readers of Susan Kuklin’s We Are Here to Stay: Voice of Undocumented Young Adults.

–Cathy Outten