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American Library Association’s top audiobooks of 2013

The best audios of 2013 for children, teens, and adults were announced at the ALA  Midwinter conference.


The 2014 Notable Children’s Recordings list contains 30 titles recommended for listeners ages birth through age 14 – readalong book & CD sets, beginning readers, novels, nonfiction and a bit of music. You can see this ALSC committee’s larger discussion list here, as well.


The 2014 Amazing Audiobooks list contains 29 fiction and nonfiction titles for tweens and teens ages 12-18, ranging from memoirs to physiological horror. This YALSA committee also names a Top Ten list of outstanding audios. Take a look at the Amazing Audiobooks nomination list for even more great listens.


The RUSA Listen List  highlights outstanding audiobook titles that merit special attention by general adult listeners and the librarians who work with them. I especially like how RUSA chooses 12 titles from the current year, then adds “listen-alike” backlist suggestions – a great listener’s advisory tool.


As a member of the 2014 Amazing Audiobooks committee, I can attest to the tremendous amount of time dedicated to discovering the titles that make the final ALA selection lists – we evaluated 290 audiobooks. I listened to 42,000 minutes of audiobooks – that’s 700 hours, or the equivalent of 17.5 forty-hour work weeks. Phew!

odysseyThe big kahuna of ALA audiobook recognition is the Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production, sponsored jointly by ALSC, YALSA, and Booklist. This award names one winner as the best audio for children and/or teens, ages birth through age 18, and may also name Honor titles. This year’s winner proves lightning can strike twice – the exact same team won 2012’s gold for Rotters. Here are the 2014 Odyssey audiobooks:

WINNER:  Scowler, written by Daniel Kraus, narrated by Kirby Heyborne, produced by Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group.


Better Nate Than Ever, written by Tim Federle, narrated by Tim Federle and produced by Simon and Schuster Audio.

Creepy Carrots!, written by Aaron Reynolds, narrated by James Naughton and produced by Weston Woods Studios, Inc.

Eleanor & Park, written by Rainbow Rowell, narrated by Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra and produced by Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group.

Matilda, written by Roald Dahl, narrated by Kate Winslet and produced by Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Watch the video below to catch the excitement of the Odyssey announcement at the Youth Media Awards, and listen to a clip of the truly terrifying winner, Scowler.



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.

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