The Audie Award winners were announced last night (March 4th). The Audiobook of the Year was won by Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, narrated by Bahni Turpin. Here are other category winners for youth titles:
Sunny by Jason Reynolds, narrated by Guy Lockard
Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham, narrated by Pyeng Threadgill and Luke Slattery
NARRATION BY THE AUTHOR
The Secret of Nightingale Wood written and narrated by Lucy Strange
Sadie by Courtney Summers, narrated by Dan Bittner, Rebecca Soler, Gabra Zackman, and Fred Berman
Before She Was Harriet by Lesa Cline-Ransome, narrated by SiSi Aisha Johnson, January LaVoy, Lisa Renee Pitts, and Bahni Turpin
Sea Bear by Lindsay Moore (9780062791283)
Told in the voice of a polar bear, this picture book follows her journey along the ice. She has learned to be patient: in her hunting and with the weather. Spring comes breaking the ice into smaller pieces. The bear hunts seals and takes naps with a full belly. With summer, the ice melts even more. Now the sea bear must swim to the shore that she can smell in the distance. She swims for days, accompanied by other sea animals as she swims including whales, narwhals, and walruses. She is caught in a storm but eventually makes it to the beach. During the summer, she grows thin, waiting for the freeze to come. She knows she will teach her own cubs patience too.
Moore manages to tell the story of a wild animal without anthropomorphizing her too much. The use of the bear’s perspective makes the story all the more personal and impactful. The impact of climate change is clearly depicted here, but not mentioned directly as the cause until the author’s note at the end. The writing is dramatic and immediately draws readers into the story where they will learn all about the incredible story of the polar bear’s year.
The illustrations are done in watercolor, graphite, inks, crayon and colored pencil. They are just as intense as the story, showing the amazing journey and depth of water the polar bears swim in. Adding sea creatures to her swim adds to the beauty of the Arctic and shows the scale of the bear in the vast ocean.
Moving and informative, this picture book tells a detailed story of one creature’s patience and resilience. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from library copy.
The Bridge to Home by Padma Venkatraman (9781524738112)
When her abusive father starts to hit Viji and her sister, Rukku, as well as their mother, Viji takes Rukku and runs away to the streets of Chennai. Rukku follows willingly, though Viji worries that when others see Rukku they will take her away due to her developmental delays. The two sisters meet two boys who also live on the streets and the four of them form a small family. During the day, they pick garbage in the litter piles and mountains around the city. Rukku makes bead necklaces that they sell to tourists and students. The four children are hungry and scared often, but they also have wonderful adventures together whether they are living on an abandoned bridge or in a dark and hidden graveyard. When Rukku falls ill, Viji must figure out if she can care for her herself or if she needs to take a big risk and ask for help.
Venkatraman has created a tale that doesn’t soften the dangers and difficulties of children living on the streets of India. At the same time though, she doesn’t allow the story to be dismal, instead she shows how the smallest things can give joy. Just the inclusion of the puppy into the children’s lives adds an element of love and cuddling that the book needed. The setting of India and its streets is brilliantly shared in the book, that includes the dark dangers of those who steal from them and the predator adults they encounter.
The two sisters are very different from one another not just because of Rukku’s disability but also their outlook at life is in contrast to one another. Viji takes the role of protector for her sister, doing the hard and dirty work. Yet, Rukku manages to sometimes make more money for the group and also serves as the person who brings them together over and over again. The two boys are almost like siblings themselves, as the book progresses, they share their stories which are haunting as well.
A beautifully written novel for middle graders that shines light on children often overlooked. Appropriate for ages 9-12.
Reviewed from ARC provided by Nancy Paulsen Books.