Living in the Shadows

Written by Francisca Goldsmith on Thursday, May 7, 2020

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Week 2 of this year’s SYNC program provides participants with one #OwnVoices work of realistic fiction and another providing a journalistic account of factual events that are as compelling as anything a novelist might create.


Kelly Loy Gilbert’s novel, Picture Us in the Light  comes to listening readers through the performance of narrator James Chen.  The promise and anxieties of the last weeks of a senior’s high school years center on a guy who is as flawed as any real person you might know. He and his friends and family are fully realized in the narration. Thank you, Dreamscape, for providing this title that echoes many teens’ experiences with conversations that have been shut down before kids can work their way through their feelings.

While we frequently offer SYNC participants a World War II title, this year’s provides a different twist. Secret Soldiers, by the late poet and teacher Paul B. Janeczko, is performed by narrator Ron Butler. Both author and narrator have won multiple awards, and the historical account they have to tell here fascinates.  Did you know about the roles played by artists, actors, and other creatives employed by the U.S. to fool Nazis during the second world war?  Hearing about the deceptions of the “Ghost Army” may be impetus for makerspace programming, so be sure to spread the word to teens to download this title from Candlewick on Brilliance this week, even if the program can’t happen until much later this year.

Photos above: left, narrator James Chen (by David Zheng), right, narrator Ron Butler

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