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2009 Notable Children’s Recordings list

Here is the final uncorrected list of titles named as the 2009 Notable Children’s Recordings by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association. Both audiobooks and musical recordings are on the list, which includes titles of interest to children from birth to age twelve. Looking for the best in audiobooks for children? Plenty of great listening here! Thanks to the NCR committee and chair Jane Claes for their efforts!

The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones.  5 hr. 11 min.  Scholastic AudioBooks.   4 CDs.  $49.95.  1-800-243-5020.  Gr. 4 – 8.
At the reading of their grandmother’s will, Dan and Amy Cahill are given the choice of receiving a million dollars or uncovering the 39 clues that will lead to the source of their family’s power. David Pittu brings this interactive tale to life with a spirited narration.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.  5 hr.  Recorded Books.  5 CDs.  $46.75. 1-800-638-1304.  Ages 14 – up.
Author Sherman Alexie narrates his National Book Award winning story of  14-year-old Arnold Junior Spirit.  The realistic and earthy narration captures the hero’s struggle to overcome physical, economic, and social obstacles.  (2009 Odyssey Award Winner)

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. 2 hr. 57 min.  Listening Library.  3 CDs.  $30.   1-800-733-3000.  Gr. 4 – up.
Ingenious and versatile narrator, Jim Dale brings to life the classic story of Alice falling down the rabbit hole and experiencing nonsensical adventures.

Beethoven’s Wig 4: Dance Along Symphonies. 44 min.  Rounder Records.  CD.  $14.98. 1-800-768-6337. Gr. 4 – up/Musical.
Listeners of all ages will sing and dance to the 26 symphonic songs, twelve of which feature lively lyrics that both reflect the essence of classical music and amuse the audience.

Brooklyn Bridge. 4 hr. 45 min.  MacMillan Audio.  4 CDs.  $24.95.  1-888-330-8477. Gr. 4 – 9.
Narrator Fred Berman voices the thoughts and hopes of lucky Joseph Michtom, son of the couple who created the Teddy Bear in 1903, while homeless children live under the Brooklyn Bridge and the new Coney Island Amusement Park entices.

Celia Cruz: Queen of Salsa. 16 min. Live Oak.  CD  $18.95. 1-800-788-1121. Gr. K-5.
Cuban born salsa singer, Celia Cruz always had a magical vibrancy even as a child. Using music and sound effects, Michelle Manzo offers a glimpse into Celia’s childhood in this charming picture book read along.

Clementine’s Letter. 2.5 hr.  Recorded Books.  2 CDs.  $22.75.  Gr. 2 – 5.
Clementine’s beloved teacher, Mr. D’Matz might be leaving, so she hatches a plan to get him back even if means ruining his once-in-a-lifetime chance.  Narrator Jessica Almasy captures all the exuberance of the well-meaning heroine.

Curse of the Blue Tattoo: Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman and Fine Lady. Listen & Live Audio, Inc., 14 hours. 1-800-653-9400. Middle School/YA.
Versatile narrator Katherine Kellgren takes feisty, seafaring Mary “Jacky” Faber on an ill-fated voyage to become a lady as Jacky stretches her seas legs at an elite Boston finishing school in this humorous and melodramatic sequel to Bloody Jack, a 2008 Odyssey Award Honor title. (2009 Odyssey Honor Audiobook)

The dead and the gone.  8 hr. 51 min.   Listening Library.  7 CDs.  $55.  Gr. 6 – 12.
Narrator Robertson Dean lends a chilling air of suspense telling the story of Alex  Morales and his siblings’ struggle for survival after an asteroid hits New York City in this novel by Susan Beth Pfeffer.

Elijah of Buxton.  8 hr. 58 min.  Listening Library.  8 CDs.   $55.  Gr. 5 – 8.
Mirron Willis narrates Christopher Paul Curtis’s award winning tale of Elijah, who’s life changes when he embarks on a dangerous journey to America in pursuit of a thief and discovers the horrors of slavery. (2009 Odyssey Honor Audiobook)

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village.  1.5 hr.  Recorded Books.  2 CDs.  $30.75.  Gr. 4 – 9.
Listeners get a glimpse of life in medieval  times as told by a wide variety of characters from nobility to beggar – enhanced by narrator, Christina Moore and a full casts.

Grandfather’s Journey.  8 min.  Weston Woods.  CD.  $12.95.  203-243-5020.  Gr.K – 5.
B.D. Wong’s crisp and clear narration enhances Allen Say’s provocative memoir of his grandfather ‘s  yearning for two countries.  A bonus author interview is included.

The Graveyard Book.  7 hr. 45 min.  Recorded Books.  7 CDs.  $77.75.  Gr. 5 – 8.
As a baby, Nobody Owens, flees his family’s killer and finds refuge in a graveyard.  Raised by ghosts, Bod walks the line between the living and the dead.  Skillfully narrated by author, Neil Gaiman.

Gregor and the Code of Claw.  9 hr. 4 min.  Listening Library.  7 CDs.  $55.  Gr. 4 – 8.
Narrator Paul Boehmer enlivens the final segment of the Overlander series with distinct character voices and appropriate tension for the battle of the Warrior Gregor with the Bane and the breaking the Cod of Claw.

Hawaiian Playground.  26 min.  Putumayo Kids.  CD.   $14.98.  1-888-788-8629.  All Ages/Musical.
Ukuleles, native Hawaiian language, and the sliding sounds of slack key guitars bring the Aloha State right into the room with the collection fun songs by different performers, some in English, some in Hawaiian.

I’m Dirty! 6 min.  Weston Woods.  CD.  $29.95.  Gr. Preschool – 2.
Join Backhoe Loader for a day of work in this fanciful romp featuring big machinery.  Steve Buscemi captures all the enthusiasm of this personified backhoe.  With music by David Mansfield adding the perfect touch, young readers can follow every dirty minute of the day’s work. (2009 Odyssey Honor Audiobook)

Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale. Peachtree Publishers. 10 min. 404-876-8761. Elementary.

Storyteller Carmen Agra Deedy brings spirited wit and cultural touches to her retelling of the traditional Cuban tale of Martina’s quest to find a husband. Bonus tracks include a Spanish version and storytelling performance. (2009 Odyssey Honor Audiobook)

Miss Spitfire.  6 hr. 45 min.  Recorded Books. 6 CDs.  $66.75. Gr.  6 –up.
Narrator Terry Donnelly fully captures both the joys and frustrations of  Helen Keller’s tutor, Anne Sullivan, in their first days together in this fictionalized diary account of Anne’s struggle to communicate with blind and deaf Helen.

The Possibilities of Sainthood.  7 hr.  Brillliance Audio.  6 CDs.  $60.97.  1-800-648-2312.  Gr. 7 – 10.
Antonia Lucia Labella has a secret ambition to become a saint, but also a secret desire to catch the eye of a “hottie.”  This warm engaging story of a 15-year-old Catholic girl is expertly narrated by Emily Bauer.

Red Moon at Sharpsburg. 7 hr.  Recorded Books.  6 CDs.  $66.75.  Gr. 5 – 8.
Coming of age during the American Civil War, 13- year-old India Moody faces both danger and heartbreak as she concentrates on surviving.  Julia Gibson narrates this sweeping epic of determination and self-scarifice.

Shooting the Moon. 3 hr. 15 min.  Recorded Books.  3 CDs.  $66.75.  Gr. 4 – 7.
Jessica Almasy voices the story of Jamie who receives a roll of film to process from her brother who is serving in Viet Nam.  This begins her journey of understanding not only herself, but the larger world around her.

Skybreaker.  11 hr.  Full Cast Audio.  10 CDS.  $65.  1-800-871-6809.  Grade 5 – up.
Matt Cruse returns in this adventure where he and the intrepid Kate attempt to salvage a long lost treasure ship.  The mysterious mood is enhanced by the full cast audio and skillful use of musical interludes.

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs.  8 min.  Weston Woods.  CD. $29.95.  1-800-290-7531.
Gr. K – 4.
Told from Alexander T. Wolf’s  point of view, narrator Paul Giamatti presents a compelling case for the wolf’s innocence.  A great use of music, pacing, and narration add just the right touch of humor in this read-along by Jon Sciezka.



About the Author:

Mary Burkey is an independent library consultant in Columbus (OH). An enthusiastic audiophile, she has served on all four of ALA's audiobook award committees as well as the Audies. In addition to writing the "Voices in My Head" column for Booklist, she is the author of Audiobooks for Youth: A Practical Guide to Sound Literature (ALA, 2013). Follow her on Twitter at @mburkey.

2 Comments on "2009 Notable Children’s Recordings list"

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  1. Dear Mary Burkey,

    I have just tripped over your blog and finding it very interesting. I’d like to introduce you to Rattling Books, a small independent Canadian audiobook publisher. We like to say we’re so small we’re fine. With several Earphones Awards and a Mavis Gallant title that made Audiofile’s best 12 fiction audiobooks of 2007 list we hope you’ll check us out. I’d be happy to send you copies of any title you would like to review.


    Janet Russell

  2. Mary says:

    Hello Janet! I am so glad you found Audiobooker! I am thrilled to hear from a Canadian audiobook publisher – please stop by often and let us know the view from your perspective!


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