Teen Voice Power

Written by Francisca Goldsmith on Thursday, May 11, 2017


We come to our third week of AudiobookSYNC 2017 with two audiobooks celebrating teens who speak from the heart. Poetry and diaries both cut to the essence of what we need to say, and the voices teens can hear this week may inspire the articulation of their own feelings, thoughts, and concerns. Both of these audiobooks are short, offering good listening introductions for those new to the audio format.


Coretta Scott King Award-winning BRONX MASQUERADE by Nikki Grimes offers proof of literature’s capacity to build empathy in the audience. Recorded Books utilized a diverse group of narrators to bring this one from page to ear: Jessica Almasy, Cherise Booth, Kevin R. Free, Marc Damon Johnson, Sisi Aisha Johnson, and Melanie Martinez speak compellingly as the high school class members who find ways to confront their hopes and fears by sharing their poetry in weekly open mic sessions.

Radio Diaries, hosted by Joe Richman, produced TEENAGE DIARIES: THEN AND NOW with HighBridge Audio. Four real-life audio-diarists recorded their lives, both as  teens and, a few years later, about how their lives have developed in young adulthood. Juan, Frankie, Josh, and Melissa have handled a variety of circumstances, including immigrant life along the Rio Grande, early stardom and later stumbling, Tourette’s syndrome, and teen parenthood. In addition to keeping their own diaries, teen listeners may find the encouragement here to ask the adults in their lives to share stories from their own teen years, as they saw them then and as they see them now.

This week’s AudiobookSYNC pair features two short and powerful selections that can serve as inspirations for group discussions, open mic programs, and cross-generation interviews. Ask the teens in your life what interests them most about each of these and how they can aspire to follow the leads recorded here to create their own personal power of words.

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