Overlooked Heroines

Written by Francisca Goldsmith on Thursday, July 5, 2018


This week’s pair of audiobooks gives listeners excellent opportunities to challenge themselves to see beyond assumptions that some girls just can’t be worth meeting.


Winner of the 2015 Schneider Family Award, Candlewick on Brilliance Publishing’s GIRLS LIKE US, by Gail Giles, provides a wholly realistic experience with two such young women. Narrators Lauren Ezzo and Brittany Pressley take us into the thoughts, emotions, and experiences of two special ed graduates who have taken sheltered employment positions and are becoming increasingly independent. This is a must-listen for everyone, delivering on the Schneider Family Award promise that its winning titles reflect the lives of those with challenging disabilities without making the disability itself the main subject. Biddy and Quincy, the girls who share their lives here, are much more than “Speddies,” or special ed kids, and by hearing them and their intertwining stories, listeners will gain a fuller understanding of what being human can mean. Thank you, Brilliance Publishing, for sharing this one!

Paired with this teen novel is an adult nonfiction book of high interest to teen listeners. THE INVISIBLE GIRLS, by Sarah Thebarge, read for Oasis Audio by Kirsten Potter, recounts what followed when the author spoke to a family of Somali refugees she noticed while waiting for public transit in her new hometown.  Yes, there is sadness and anxiety here; however, there is also humor, the satisfaction of human connection across cultures and personal problems, and an underlying thread of how we can create stories from real-life experiences. The author first wrote about meeting and coming to know Hadhi and her five daughters on her blog, where she’s also posted an update about the family since this book was published. Thank you, Oasis Audio, for sharing these quiet and very real heroines with our listeners!

Listening to audiobooks is an excellent way to learn to be a better listener more generally. Meeting the young women and girls in this week’s audiobook pair may inspire you, too, to take more aware listening into your daily life. Who knows where or when you might meet your next new admirable acquaintance?

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