Audio books

2024 Notable Children’s Recordings list

The Notable Children’s Recordings list includes recordings for children 14 years of age and younger of especially commendable quality that demonstrate respect for young people’s intelligence and imagination; exhibit venturesome creativity; and reflect and encourage the interests of children and young adolescents in exemplary ways. Here is the complete list of the Notable Children’s Recordings for 2024.

Notable Children's Recordings Seal
  • Back to the Bright Before. By Katherin Nolte. Read by Jesse Vilinsky. 2023. 5hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593679722). Gr. 3+ 
    This timeless adventure story is a testament to the talents of Jesse Vilinsky. The many distinct and emotional voices bring eleven-year-old Pet, her younger brother, Simon, and their community to life. Each word of this narration tells a story, even if that word is “cheese.”
  • Big Tree. By Brian Selznick. Read by Meryl Streep. 2023. 2.5hr. Scholastic Audio, DD (9781339004013). Gr. 2-5
    A masterful performance by Streep relates the harrowing and emotional journey of two small seeds. Listeners become part of this adventure as the seeds navigate the hazards of nature until it is finally time to develop into what they were always intended to be.
  • Carina Felina. By Carmen Agra Deedy. Read by the author. 2023. 0.5hr. Scholastic Audio, DD (9781339028316). PreS-Gr. 3 
    A classic folktale is lyrically brought to life by Carmen Agra Deedy. Her delightful telling has the listener wondering what Pepe the Parrot was thinking when he invited Carina Felina, a cat, into his home.
  • Chez Bob. By Bob Shea. Read by John Lithgow. 2022. 8.25m. Weston Woods Studios, Book and CD (9781338862669)/CD (9781338862652). PreS-Gr. 2
    With a variety of bird sounds, intentional musical background choices, and the humor of John Lithgow’s narration, the story of an alligator who decides he’d rather feed his new neighbors than eat them provides an entertaining listen. The audio also includes an author’s note as a bonus track.
  • Chinese Menu: The History, Myths, and Legends Behind Your Favorite Foods. By Grace Lin. Read by Lisa Ling. 2023. 6hr. Hachette Audio, DD (9781668632598). Gr. 3+
    A clever use of sound effects enhances the conversational yet emotional tone of Ling’s narration of the history of Chinese food. An added PDF contains illustrations, definitions, recipes, and more. (2024 Odyssey Honor Audiobook)
  • The Curious Vanishing of Beatrice Willoughby. By G. Z. Schmidt. Read by Liz Pearce. 2023. 6.5hr. Recorded Books, an RBmedia imprint, DD (9798890596581). Gr. 3+ 
    This engaging whodunit is made even more mysterious through the impressive narration of Liz Pearce. With a variety of character voices, suspense, and plot twists, listeners will be on the edge of their seats waiting to solve the mystery.
  • The Dreamatics. By Michelle Cuevas. Read by Megan Hilty. 2023. 7hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593745472). Gr. 3+ 
    Come inside The Lunarian Grand, a magical theater that performs Luna’s dreams nightly, until something changes, and The Bad Dreams threaten to take over the theater. Megan Hilty seamlessly performs multiple characters to draw the listener in as the Dreamatics battle these intruders and try to restore order.
  • Eb & Flow. By Kelly J. Baptist. Read by Joniece Abbott-Pratt and Aaron Goodson. 2023. 3hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593666753). Gr. 3+ 
    This rhythmic story in verse is told in opposing views that will keep listeners on the edge of their seats. As tensions rise during Eb (Abbott-Pratt) & Flow’s (Goodson) ten-day suspension, emotional narrations combine to prove that maybe they’re not so different after all.
  • El Deafo. By Cece Bell. Read by a full cast. 2023. 2.5hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593748602). Gr. 3+ 
    Soothing music opens Cece Bell’s touching memoir and a full cast captures her journey navigating a new hearing aid with raw emotion and humor. (2024 Odyssey Medal winner)
  • Elf Dog and Owl Head. By M. T. Anderson. Read by Pete Cross. 2023. 4.25hr. Dreamscape, DD (9781666634334). Gr. 2+
    Giving each character a uniquely appropriate voice and with impeccable pacing, Pete Cross leads the listener into a magical world filled with secrets. Set in early pandemic times, this is the story of a boy who explores a forest to find another world filled with fantasy… and danger.
  • Ellis Johnson Might Be Famous. By Shawn Amos. Read by the author. 2023. 4.5 hr. Hachette Audio, DD (9781668631652). Gr. 3+
    Skillfully narrating this sequel to Cookies and Milk, Amos sings and plays harmonica as he tells this semi-autobiographical story of having a famous dad while navigating middle school with all its embarrassing moments. A PDF follows that includes pictures, recipes, a song list, and a harmonica lesson.
  • The Eyes and the Impossible. By Dave Eggers. Read by Ethan Hawke. 2023. 5.25hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593613023). Gr. 3+ 
    Ethan Hawke provides an outstanding performance of Dave Eggers’ 2024 Newbery Medal winner, capturing the voices and personalities of the beloved cast of wild animals. Adventure, friendship, heart, and humor await listeners of all ages.   
  • The Horrible Bag of Terrible Things #1 (The Horrible Bag Series, Book 1). By Rob Renzetti. Read by Jay Myers. 2023. 4.75hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593681268). Gr. 3+
    Jay Myers provides distinct and suitable voices for creepy and innocent characters alike when Zenith finds himself entering the world of GrahBhag in search of his older sister.
  • I Am John Lewis (Ordinary People Change the World). By Brad Meltzer. Read by Ron Butler and a full cast. 2023. 0.5hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593634646). PreS-Gr. 2  
    An ensemble cast of narrators combine with music and sound effects to introduce young listeners to Civil Rights activist and U.S. Congressman John Lewis in this informative and engaging picture book biography from the “Ordinary People Change the World” series.
  • I Have Something to Tell You: For Young Adults. By Chasten Buttigieg. Read by Chasten Buttigieg. 2023. 5hr. Simon & Schuster Audio, DD (9781797165165). Gr. 6+
    Chasten Buttigieg shares his memoir in a direct conversational style with sincerity, humor, courage, and compassion. He unflinchingly invites the listener to share his journey of self-discovery as a person worthy of love and acceptance.
  • Invisible. By Christina Diaz Gonzalez. Read by a full cast. 2022. 1.5hr. Scholastic Audio, DD (9781338852660). Gr. 5-8
    Five kids who are overlooked or “invisible” in their school are thrown together to do community service when they meet someone who needs their help. This graphic novel is brought to life with a full cast and a variety of sound effects allowing the listener to be completely immersed in the experience.
  • Mexikid. By Pedro Martín. Read by a full cast. 2023. 3.5hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593681589). Gr. 5+ 
    An award-winning coming-of-age story brought to life by a full cast and entertaining soundtrack, Pedro’s family road trip is filled with laughter and heartache. (2024 Odyssey Honor Audiobook)
  • Nic Blake and the Remarkables: The Manifestor Prophecy (Nic Blake and the Remarkables, Book 1). By Angie Thomas. Read by Joniece Abbott-Pratt. 2023. 9.5hr. HarperAudio/Balzer + Bray, DD (9780063225169). Gr. 3+ 
    The adventure of Nic and her friends is given more magic thanks to the talents of Abbott-Pratt. With a narration that is fully voiced with distinct characters, the world of the Remarkables and other mythical creatures comes to life.
  • Night in the City. By Julie Downing. Read by Harriett D. Foy. 2023. 9.75m. Live Oak Media, Book with CD, (9781430145424). PreS-Gr. 2 
    Harriett Foy calmly and lovingly tells of a journey through a busy city at night. The effective and sometimes very subtle immersive sounds elevate this well-edited picture book/CD package.
  • Not an Easy Win. By Chrystal D. Giles. Read by Nile Bullock and the author. 2023. 5.5hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593666739). Gr. 3-6
    With character voicework that feels authentic, listeners follow the emotional journey of Lawrence as he discovers the competitive world of chess. 
  • Once There Was. By Kiyash Monsef. Read by Nikki Massoud. 2023. 11.5hr. Simon & Schuster Audio, DD (9781797150789). Gr. 5+
    Marjan finds herself tasked with carrying on her late father’s work as a veterinarian to fantastical creatures. Massoud illuminates the myths and magic of the story with her lyrical narration as listeners learn along with Marjan. (2024 Odyssey Honor Audiobook)
  • The Pigeon Will Ride the Roller Coaster! By Mo Willems. Read by the author. 2022. 6m. Scholastic Audio, Book and CD (9781338867480)/CD (9781338867381). PreS-Gr. 2 
    Pigeon anxiously awaits his turn to ride the roller coaster and even informs the listener to unfold the page to make sure it is done carefully.  Listeners should be sure to listen through the final track for Pigeon’s entertaining interview with the ticket-taker.  
  • The Puppets of Spelhorst. By Kate DiCamillo. Read by Allan Corduner. 2023. 1.75hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593683088). Gr. 2-5
    Allan Corduner gives DiCamillo’s story a timeless, classic feel.  With humor and distinct character voices to match their personalities, the audio keeps listeners engaged in the story.
  • School Trip. By Jerry Craft. Read by a full cast. 2023. 2.75hr. HarperAudio/Quill Tree Books, DD (9780063279124). Gr. 3+ 
    A full cast allows listeners to easily travel along with Jordan Banks and the gang on a year-end trip to Paris. Beyond the addition of music and effects, the narrative has been adapted to explain things from the print version’s graphics, enhancing the title’s transition from graphic to audio.
  • Sisters of the Lost Marsh. By Lucy Strange. Read by the author. 2023. 6hr. Scholastic Audio, DD (9781339004860). Gr. 3+
    With a performance that will hold listeners captive, Strange is able to portray the many characters in Willa’s journey to save her sister. The clear narration and moments of singing enhance the story of her trials along the way. (2024 Odyssey Honor Audiobook)
  • The Skull: A Tyrolean Folktale. By Jon Klassen. Read by Fairuza Balk and the author. 2023. 0.5hr. Dreamscape, DD (9781666641646). PreS+  
    Providing depth and distinction, narrator Fairuza Balk successfully brings young Otilla, the skull, and the skeleton to life. Foreboding music and sound effects enhance the mysterious setting of this Tyrolean folktale retold in true Klassen form. The Author’s Note, read by Klassen himself, completes this memorable audio production.   
  • Something Like Home. By Andrea Beatriz Arango. Read by Almarie Guerra. 2023. 3.5hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593747704). Gr. 4+ 
    The narrator brings an authentic accent to present a young Puerto Rican girl dealing with home and family. The smoothness of her cadence capitalizes on both this novel-in-verse and the weighty issues tackled by its heroine.
  • The Story of Gumluck the Wizard. By Adam Rex. Read by Christina Moore. 2023. 1hr. Recorded Books, an RBmedia imprint, DD (9798890596765). Gr. 1-4
    With amusement and distinct character voicing, Christina Moore portrays the innocence of Gumluck and the irritation of Raven as they await this year’s Harvest Dance. Listeners will laugh aloud at their antics as Gumluck uses his magic trying to earn the title of “Harvest Hero.”
  • Strongheart: Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen. By Candace Fleming. Read by Fred Berman. 2023. 2.25hr. Listening Library, DD (9780593748206). Gr. 3+ 
    Fred Berman takes Strongheart’s story of being a canine movie star and adds the perfect amount of drama, anticipation, and emotion. Listeners will be engaged with the blend of fact and fiction.
  • Stuntboy, In-Between Time. By Jason Reynolds. Read by a full cast. 2023. 3hr. Simon & Schuster Audio, DD (9781508246299). Gr. 2+ 
    Stuntboy is back for another adventure! The full cast, groovy background music, and silly sound effects make this sequel a must-listen.
  • Three Tasks for a Dragon. By Eoin Colfer. Read by Aoife McMahon. 2023. 1.75hr. Recorded Books, an RBmedia imprint, DD (9798891781818). Gr. 3+ 
    Aoife McMahon captures the listener with her lyrical Celtic voice in the quest of Prince Lir, who is sent to rescue a maiden from a dragon. Listeners will find themselves living the adventure as Lir proves his worth.
  • What Happened to Rachel Riley? By Claire Swinarski. Read by a full cast. 2023. 5.75hr. HarperAudio/Quill Tree Books, DD (9780063213128). Gr. 3+ 
    Told through a variety of formats, this audiobook offers a peek into the life of a middle schooler. Rotating between text messages, emails, and podcast episodes, this listen feels as though you are uncovering the mystery of Rachel Riley along with Anna.
  • When You Can Swim. By Jack Wong. Read by Shannon Tyo. 2023. 0.25hr. Scholastic Audio, Book and CD (9781339029627). PreS-Gr. 3 
    With spot-on background music and sound effects, this picture book and its accompanying audio are an invitation to all. A perfectly timed splash lets you know when it’s time to turn the page as you explore all the beauty provided by nature’s waterways.
  • You Are Here: Connecting Flights. By Ellen Oh (Editor). Read by David Lee Huynh, Dana Wing Lau, Ramon de Ocampo, and Jeanne Syquia. 2023. 5.75hr. HarperAudio/Allida, DD (9780063239111). Gr. 3+
    The four narrators dynamically voice the multitude of characters in this book of interconnected stories set in an airport. Truthful emotion and consistency allow the listener to easily follow along as the characters interact with one another. 

Thanks to the 2024 Notable Children’s Recordings committee:

  • Becki Bishop, Chair, Campbell Court Elementary, Bassett, Virginia
  • Martha Cole, Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Tamara DePasquale, Eldredge Public Library, Chatham, Massachusetts
  • Betsy Fraser, Calgary Public Library, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • Katherine Heebsh, Toledo Lucas County Public Library, Toledo, Ohio
  • Isabelle Ibibo, Hennepin County Library, Brooklyn Park, MN
  • Andrea Pavlik, Huntington Public Library, Huntington, New York
  • Sarah Bean Thompson, Springfield-Greene County Library, Springfield, Missouri
  • Mary Voors, Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Hana Boxberger, NCR Administrative Assistant, Whatcom County Library System, Bellingham, Washington

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