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February 1, 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Black History Audio
This eclectic mix of black-history-related audios, including titles for both youth and adult listeners, has something for all ages, tastes, and interests. The common threads are exceptional readers, top production values, and fascinating subject matter.
Basketball Jones. By E. Lynn Harris. Read by Mirron Willis. 2009. 7hr. Books on Tape, CD, $60 (9781415960424).
Willis energetically interprets the backbiting that dominates this modern screwball comedy in which the secret male lover of a professional basketball star finds himself on the outside after his lover marries a basketball groupie.
Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family. By Condoleezza Rice. Read by the author. 2010. 9hr. Books on Tape, CD, $35 (9780307750655).
Rice reads her memoir in clear, measured tones, but when recalling such events as the 1963 Birmingham church bombing, her voice rings with feeling.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. By Rebecca Skloot. Read by Cassandra Campbell and Bahni Turpin. 2010. 12.5hr. Books on Tape, CD, $100 (9780307712523).
Campbell calmly narrates this compelling account of an African American mother whose cells were cultured without her knowledge or consent and used for medical research.
The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron. By Howard Bryant. Read by Dominic Hoffman. 2010. 22hr. Books on Tape, CD, $50 (9780307736901).
Despite a few mispronunciations, Hoffman’s earnest reading of this definitive biography of Henry Aaron will please fans.
Riot. By Walter Dean Myers. Read by Dan Oreskes and others. 2009. 2.5hr. Listening Library, CD, $30 (9780307583406). Gr. 7–12.
Based on the New York Draft Riots of 1863, Myers’ novel (written in screenplay format) is read by a full cast, with stirring musical snippets and realistic sound effects embellishing the historic events.
Say You’re One of Them. By Uwem Akpan. Read by Robin Miles and Dion Graham. 2009. 13hr. Hachette/AudioGo, CD, $110.99 (9781607883661).
Listeners will be moved by Miles’ and Graham’s commanding interpretations of Nigerian-born Akpan’s harrowing stories of the innocence and resilience of children who witness unspeakable violence and endure desperate poverty.
Tempted by Trouble. By Eric Jerome Dickey. Read by Dion Graham. 2010. 10hr. Brilliance, CD, $97.97 (9781423345770).
Unemployed Detroit auto worker Dmytryk Knight, seduced into working for a crime boss by his wife, eventually finds his moral compass in Dickey’s latest. Graham’s well-paced reading embraces the quiet futility of Knight’s life on the skids.
They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group. By Susan Campbell Bartoletti. Read by Dion Graham. 2010. 4hr. Brilliance, CD, $69.97 (9781441871565). Gr. 7–12.
Graham’s powerful reading of this searing title, which examines the origins of the Ku Klux Klan, moves fluidly between the deftly woven text and numerous quotations. He gives the speakers distinct, vibrant personalities and humanizes the facts.
This Jazz Man. By Karen Ehrhardt. Read by James “D-Train” Williams. 2010. 12min. Live Oak, CD, $28.95 (9781430107408). PreS–Gr. 2.
This marvelous read-along of Ehrhardt’s rhythmic picture book joyously introduces nine African American jazz musicians. Williams’ enthusiastic reading is backed with sound effects and original music representative of each jazz artist.
We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball. By Kadir Nelson. Read by Dion Graham. 2009. 2hr. Brilliance, CD, $42.97 (9781423375371). Gr. 5–8.
The history of the Negro Leagues and its great players is introduced in this sterling production, powerfully read by Graham.
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