Previously, you learned about what it takes to serve on the Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults committee. Here, some of the current Amazing Audiobooks committee members explain why they love to listen.

Sarah Hashimoto is serving on her first year as a committee member:

I remember listening to The Hunger Games when it first came out on audio in 2008. I was new to audios at the time and was unprepared for how much of an impact they can make. I was listening and gardening when I came to the scene just after Rue has died, when Katniss receives the bread from Rue’s people. It’s such a poignant scene, but the audio version really brought it to life for me. I ended up weeping into my garden gloves, creating a scene of my own!

My favorite audiobook narrators (in no particular order) are:

  1. Kirby Heyborne, so great at producing multiple accents and characterizations.
  2. Fiona Hardingham, who is able to convey nearly palpable emotional anguish.
  3. Lincoln Hoppe, who has a gentle, warm voice that is a pleasure to listen to.
  4. Katherine Kellgren, the narrator of L.A. Meyers’ Bloody Jack series. She does an amazing job in capturing Jacky’s indomitable, feisty spirit.
  5. Allan Corduner, who narrates The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. A perfect fit!
  6. Simon Jones, who has narrated some of my favorite audiobooks, including Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus trilogy. He is a virtuoso at conveying sadness, ‘ anger, and sly sarcasm.

Cindy Vanderbrink is also serving one her first year as part of the committee:

I clearly remember listening to audiobooks (on cassette!) soon after I became a children’s librarian in the mid 1990’s.’ I’ve always loved books but audios changed my reading habits forever. The first audiobook I listened to was Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples and narrated by Christina Moore. ‘ After tearing through the audio, I was devastated to find that my library’s copy of the sequel, Haveli, was damaged and I had to request an interlibrary loan copy. The wait was excruciating. Once Haveli arrived, I sped through only to be devastated by it ending too quickly. I was so impressed with Christina Moore’s narration, that I listened to several other titles she performed. One of those was Mick Harte Was Here by Barbara Park. I clearly remember listening to this title in the car. I would be laughing one minute and crying the next. Other drivers must have thought I was certifiable!

Colleen Seisser is the current chair of the Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults, and this is her second year serving as a voting member:

I love audios books because I struggle with being a slow reader. I love to read, but am so frustrated when I love a book but it takes me so long to finish. I discovered audiobooks about 8 years ago, when I was working at a middle school library with a librarian who served on the Amazing Audiobooks committee. She was telling me about the audiobook called Twilight, that she just listened to, and that I might also like it. I was hesitant, but it made my summer road trip to South Carolina more enjoyable, so I asked her for more audiobook recommendations. At that time she suggested Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan and Cupid by Julius Lester. Both of these audios are truly amazing productions! And that was the start of my love for audios. I realized that I could listen not only while driving, but I could also listen at home while walking my dog and cleaning. \Listening allowed me to finish books in a more timely manner, and when I listen to audiobooks my attention is always captured and held throughout the book.

When it comes to some of my favorite narrators, I always say that I love a narrator that makes me feel like I am listening to a friend tell me a story. It’s that quality that allows you to be completely engrossed in the story. Recently, I have really enjoyed audios narrated by Fiona Hardingham and Julia Whelan. I have also found it fascinating when I find an author that can really read their work well. A couple example of my favorites are Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens and D.C. Pierson’s Crap Kingdom.

Sylvia Vardell is serving on her second year as an Amazing Audiobooks committee member and has put together this amusing list as to what she likes most about audiobooks:

The Twelve Don’ts of Audiobooks: A Tongue in Cheek List

1. Don’t double your exposure to good books by listening to AND reading books.

2. Don’t let someone else read to you when you can read yourself.

3. Don’t polish your understanding of language by listening to an audiobook.

4. Don’t get exposed to stories from other cultures by listening to them first.

5. Don’t pass the time on long road trips or during difficult hospital stays by listening to a good audiobook.

6. Don’t build your listening vocabulary with audiobooks. You can figure out how words are pronounced just by seeing them.

7. Don’t let reluctant or striving readers get exposed to a whole book by listening to it.

8. Don’t let good or fluent readers get lazy by listening to a good audiobook.

9. Don’t listen to a book that you probably wouldn’t choose to read in the printed version.

10. Don’t let a whole class listen to a good audiobook at the same time.

11. Don’t pay attention to winners and selections of the Odyssey Award, Audie Awards, Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults, or Notable Children’s Recordings. What do they know?

12. Don’t expect to lose yourself in a good story. Just avoid movies and music too while you’re at it.

[With a nod to Dean Schneider and Robin Smith for “Unlucky Arithmetic: Thirteen Ways to Raise a Nonreader” which appeared in Horn Book March/April 2001. (Found at]

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