Beyond School Stories

Written by Francisca Goldsmith on Thursday, April 30, 2020

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Our premier week of the 2020 SYNC season brings participants a pair of award winning audiobooks that have proven teen appeal. Thanks to Recorded Books and HarperAudio for getting us off to such a strong start.


Dashka Slater’s nonfiction account of how two Oakland, California, youths’ lives intersected and the life-changing fallout that has ensued comes to us in the steady, serious voice of Robin Miles. The 57 Bus  provides an unfailingly nuanced account of how one after school bus ride home became the scene of assault that led to unequal justice and more than just the two lives at the event’s center being forever changed. Both author and narrator succeed in drawing attention to how no event has only one “right” side and how prolonged the aftermath of a moment can endure. Both author and narrator respect their audience, as well as their subject matter, with their direct deliveries.

Monday’s Not Coming, written by Tiffany D. Jackson and performed by Imani Parks, is an #OwnVoices novel. Its realism is as authentic as its partner title.  When best friends are suddenly torn apart when one disappears and the other tries and fails to get answers about where she’s gone or why, listeners will find themselves right there with Claudia in her search for Monday.

Both these titles have been featured in Project Lit, the student led book initiative with local chapters around the U.S.  The 57 Bus was chosen for the 2018-2019 school year and Monday’s Not Coming is on this year’s list. For those who have read either or both books with their eyes, the opportunity to revisit them by listening to affecting performances will be welcome, and these free audiobooks provide opportunities for those who have yet to meet either title.

Photo of Robin Miles (above, left) by Jordan Matter, and Imani Parks (above, right) by Paul Smith

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