Charlotte Today: Best in Audiobooks

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library's Branch Channel Leader, Dana Eure, discusses the best in audiobooks with WCNC's Charlotte Today.
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library's Branch Channel Leader, Dana Eure, made a guest appearance on WCNC's Charlotte Today on Tuesday, June  30, 2020 and shared six of the best titles in audiobooks.

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ADULT NONFICTION:

The Only Plane in the Sky, by Garrett Graff
Winner of Audiobook of the Year

Award-winning journalist and author Graff paints a comprehensive, minute-by-minute account of the September 11 attacks, told in the words of those who experienced that dramatic and tragic day. From the firefighters who streamed into the smoke-filled stairwells of the Twin Towers to the fighter pilots scrambled from air bases with orders to shoot down any hijacked commercial aircraft; from the teachers who held their fear at bay while evacuating terrified children from nearby schools; to the stricken family members trapped helplessly on the ground, Graff weaves together the unforgettable testimonies of men and women caught in an unprecedented human drama.

The judging panel praised this unique production: “The Only Plane in the Sky is an extraordinary achievement that takes a gut-wrenching and almost unimaginable text and re-injects its humanness. Graff has created a historical document with the deftness of a poet and this production only builds on it, adding a narrative propulsion that never seems exploitative and an emotional depth that's never overwrought.”

Grace will Lead us Home, by Jennifer Hawes
Winner, Nonfiction

On June 17, 2015, 12 members of the historically black Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina welcomed a young white man to their evening Bible study. He arrived with a pistol, 88 bullets, and hopes of starting a race war. Dylann Roof’s massacre of nine innocents horrified the nation. Two days later, some relatives of the dead stood at Roof’s hearing and said, “I forgive you.” That grace offered the country a hopeful ending to an awful story. But for the survivors and victims’ families, the journey had just begun.

“This audiobook achieves an exceptional performance of an important work on a difficult subject - mass murder and its aftermath.”—AudioFile magazine
 

ADULT FICTION:

Ten Thousand Doors of January, by Alex E. Harrow
Winner, Fantasy

In the early 1900s, in a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place. Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure, and danger.

“January LaVoy's breathtaking narration shines in a fantasy in which Doors offer infinite possibilities for adventure.”—AudioFile magazine
 

CHILDREN:

Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White
Winner, Middle Grades

Brought to life by Meryl Streep and a full cast, this beloved book by E. B. White is a classic of children's literature that is “just about perfect” (New York Times). Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte's Web, high up in Zuckerman's barn. Charlotte's spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur's life when he was born the runt of his litter.

“Every portrayal of every character, major and minor, bursts with personality.”—AudioFile magazine
 

New Kid, by Jerry Craft
Finalist

Riverdale Academy Day School is every parent's dream for their child: it has a beautiful sprawling campus, a rigorous academic curriculum, and ample extracurricular activities. It's also distinctly lacking in diversity. African-American new kid Jordan Banks would rather go to art school, but his parents have enrolled him, so he dutifully commutes to the Bronx from his home in Washington Heights, Manhattan. When he's not being confused with the few other students of color, he is being spoken to in slang, is receiving looks when financial aid is mentioned, or is forced to navigate many more micro-aggressions. Artwork by Craft interweaves the story with

Jordan's sketchbook drawings, which convey the tension of existing in two markedly different places. The sketches show him being called "angry" for his observations, feeling minuscule in a cafeteria, and traveling by public transportation across different socioeconomic and racially segregated neighborhoods, changing his outfit and demeanor to fit in. This engaging story offers an authentic secondary cast and captures the high jinks of middle schoolers and the tensions that come with being a person of color in a traditionally white space. Ages 8-12.
 

YOUNG ADULT:

Hey, Kiddo, by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Winner

In this profoundly moving memoir about growing up in a family grappling with addiction, Krosoczka describes his youth. His mom was an addict, in and out of rehab; his father was a mystery; and Jarrett lived with his grandparents - two very loud, loving, opinionated people who had thought they were through with raising children until Jarrett came along.

“A full cast of more than 40 performers brings this powerful graphic novel memoir vividly to life. Narrator pros Jeanne Birdsall, Richard Ferrone, and Jenna Lamia take the roles of the grandparents and the author's birth mother. His father voices himself, reliving the painful memories of their family history. Young Jarrett and his friend Pat are portrayed by Jarrett's and Pat's children, and Jarrett's aunts deliver their own parts as well, making every interaction incredibly authentic.”—AudioFile magazine