Author Archive

The rise of audio books

June 21, 2018

Going back 20, 10, even 3 years ago, teachers would not look happy when I promoted audio books to our students. “Well, maybe as long as they’re reading the book along with listening…” They would give a reluctant nod along with a tacit warning to me not to continue this delinquent campaign of advertising the availability of free audio titles from the library.  Many saw it as a form of cheating.  Many grudgingly only allowed certain students to listen if they were the reluctant readers or not likely to get through a single book if not for the audio edition.  Now more teachers are acknowledging the format as a way to grab the average reader’s attention and enhance the literary experience.  One even encouraged me to purchase a subscription to an audio book company for the school recently.

The numbers back it up.  Total sales rose 22.7% in 2017.

“73% of listeners used a smartphone to listen to audiobooks.”                             white headphone

Visit a recent article reviewing the latest figures on audiobooks by clicking on the headphones and see how popular this format really is.

Best Books guide 2018 from Bank Street

June 14, 2018

The Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature in NYC seeks to promote the highest quality literature for children from preschool to adolescence. Established in 1909, their committee releases a best books list annually. You can purchase the 2018 guide for about $12 or access the PDf edition here. This year’s book includes more than 600 titles with summaries

The Best Children's Books of the Year [2018 edition] by Bank Street College of Education. Children's Book Committee

‘Piecing me Together’

June 7, 2018

A Newbery Honor, Josette Frank Award and Coretta Scott King 2018 winner, ‘Piecing Me Together’ tells the story of a high school student attending an elite school on scholarship.  Jade is often reminded by her mother of the opportunities she is given by attending this private school. She knows she should feel lucky to be a student at this school which offers more than her local public school.  As a talented artist, Jade hopes she will be able to be true to herself despite the difficulty of being an outsider in an upper-class environment. Taking the bus across town each day to school and leaving her friends and neighborhood behind, Jade is somewhat torn between two worlds. When the dean encourages her to enroll in the Woman to Woman program where she is paired with a mentor, Jade recognizes it as another opportunity- a word she is tiring of.  Jade feels the contrast of her home life and school life.  She struggles to remain true to her old friends while trying to feel less lonely in a world not native to her upbringing.  Recommended.

How to Find Love…

May 31, 2018

… in a Bookshop.  This is the latest title I listened to from the library set in the English Cotswolds.  Julius Nightingale is the owner of the local bookshop. He is a man everyone seems to adore. Especially his only child, daughter Emilia.  When Julius passes away, Emilia grieves her father and struggles to take over the family bookshop.  After returning home for her father’s funeral, Emilia begins to discover how cherished her father was by various members of the village.  She decides to try to keep the beloved bookshop open despite learning that her father had barely been making a living from it.  As she transitions into the life of the village, we meet Thomasina, a lonely local chef; Jackson, a confused single father; Sarah, owner of the town’s family estate and Dylan, her gardener; Bea, a new mother recently relocated from London who steals a book; Marlo, a musician from her father’s quartet; June, Julius’ dear friend who is willing to step in and help Emilia save the shop. Through the connections of the different characters, we get to know Julius and see how the power of Nightingale Books makes a difference in everyone who visits.

How to Find Love in a Bookshop

“The Silent Sister”

May 24, 2018

“The Silent Sister” somehow came across my path recently and I listened to the audio edition. Told in the alternating voices of Riley and Lisa/Jade, we learn that Riley’s father recently passed away and she is in the process of returning home to get ready to sell her childhood home. As long as Riley can remember, it’s been her and her older brother, Danny. When she was 2, her older sister, Lisa, died and she doesn’t remember her.  Riley has always been told that she was a violin prodigy that drowned in an accident.  As Riley begins digging through her father’s belongings and talking to neighbors, she discovers that the story she grew up with may only be a story.  As Riley searches for the truth, we are introduced to Lisa at age 17- the year she “died.” She was accused of murdering her violin teacher and was about to stand trial when she drowned. The story builds tension and the characters are engaging, though flawed. Recommended.

Title: The Silent Sister: A Novel, Author: Diane Chamberlain


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