Looking Outward

Written by Francisca Goldsmith on Wednesday, May 17, 2017


It’s Week 4 of AudiobookSYNC’s free audiobook program! This week, the pair of audiobooks you can download for free and to keep invites listeners to consider what might be happening around them. Stepping away from attending to our own self-interest to notice how others are affected by circumstances and events is a big step toward developing empathy.


As we dive into the first of Scholastic’s Shadow House trilogy, narrator Dan Bittner performs Dan Poblocki’s suspenseful THE GATHERING at a deliberate pace that keeps listeners holding our breath. What would you do if you were one of the five kids trapped inside this menacing house? Once you've have heard this, you’ll be eager for the second volume, You Can’t Hide, also in audio with Dan Bittner continuing as narrator.

Our nonfiction partner this week, read by Nicol Zanzarella for Oasis Audio, is Nita Belles’s IN OUR BACKYARD: HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN AMERICA AND WHAT WE CAN DO TO STOP IT. As listeners discover here, slavery in America is not a thing of the past; immigrants, abused women and children, and other vulnerable people can and do fall prey to imprisonment and servitude in homes and small businesses. While that reality may be difficult to acknowledge, this audiobook takes us a productive step further by discussing how to approach and respond to this evil.

Empathy, we know, empowers youth to lead positive civic lives. We also know that experiences with reading about others’ lives—including reading with our ears—goes far to build the empathy muscles we need to engage with the larger world.

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