In the past few months, I’ve listened to a lot of audiobooks so I thought I’d give an update on my Odyssey Award listening challenge. I’ve read through ten of the fourteen Odyssey Award winners and thirty-six of the fifty-two honor books. I only have twenty more to listen to, which doesn’t seem like a lot when I think about it! I probably could finish all of them by the end of the year, but I’ve gotten to the point where the audiobooks left are: 1. books I’ve already read 2. books that I’m not as interested in or 3. books that are part of a series but not the first book. So I’ve been looking through the list, trying to decide which ones to tackle first and to save for later.
For instance, do I want to listen or read seven Artemis Fowl books just to listen to The Last Guardian? Or should I reread Harry Potter via audiobook so I can mark off Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? There are also a few on the list that are also graphic novels, and a part of me doesn’t want to miss out on the artwork by only listening to the audiobook, but I listened and read When Stars Are Scattered together and it was just so slow. Plus, some of the audiobooks aren’t as easy to get from the library than others, which is another challenge.
I’d like to finish them all, but I’m not gunning to get it done by the end of the year. Maybe before next year’s award winners are announced? But no promises.
Since I’ve read a lot recently, I wanted to share once again some of the ones that stuck out to me or that surprised me the most!
Kent State by Deborah Wiles, narrated by a full cast: Growing up in Ohio near Kent State, I’ve heard about the 1970 tragedy on Kent State’s campus many times. But this book really opened my eyes to what happened, both during the event and in the aftermath. I never realized how misconstrued the stories of what happened that day became or the impact it had on the area and the era. This audiobook is full cast and includes pretty much every side to the story. It’s written in verse, so it’s a quick yet effective read. It’s definitely worth reading for more into the tragedy.
Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, narrated by Bahni Turpin: I adore this author’s middle grade historical book, The War that Saved My Life (also an Odyssey Award), so I was looking forward to something new by her. This story is heartbreaking but so, so important. I appreciate Kimberly’s graceful approach to such hard topics, and I love the way the narrator captures Della’s personality and character. High recommend this one!
Better Nate Than Ever / Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle, narrated by the author: I admire an author who takes the chance to narrate their own audiobook and does it amazingly. Tim Federle nails it with this book. I didn’t expect to care about these books, but I love Nate and his Broadway musical loving heart so much. These books are so fun.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo, narrated by the author and Melania Luisa-Marte: Another great example of an author narrating their own books. The dual narration paired with the intriguing story line really captured my attention. I don’t like everything in this book, but it definitely captures a real and raw response to tragedy and secrets. This isn’t something I’d normally pick up, but I’m glad I gave it a chance.
Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt, narrated by Lincoln Hoppe: This is also a book that I dreaded listening to. The cover does not give this book justice at all, though, because I found myself invested in Doug’s life and the ups and downs that come with it. The details, the narrator, how everything plays out and comes together. This is not the story I expected, but it did something different and I really enjoyed it. Also, the narrator was perfect for this type of book.
Young Fredle by Cynthia Voigt, narrated by Wendy Carter: This was a fun book about animals. The narrator does a great job with all the different animal characters, and it was fun to follow Fredle’s adventures, even if some of those were a bit dark and sad at times. I might listen to more in this series because I enjoyed it so much.