Sunday, October 2, 2016

Unlocking Curiosity’s Door: Stranger Things Podcasts #StrangerPodcasts

If there’s one thing about me, it’s that everything reminds me of podcasts. I consume them like auditory popcorn, my appetite for captivating stories unable to be sated. My curiosity knows no bounds. Memories of podcasts invariably pop up during random conversations and reader’s advisory sessions, compelling me to make connections and share recommendations. I am a librarian, after all… So as I binge watched Stranger Things, (some of it with the sound off and my finger on the fast forward button, just in case), my mind instantly went into the realm of podcasts, the audio Upside Down. I considered the hidden worlds within ours, character-driven, fascinating, beautifully designed, sometimes macabre, maybe even nostalgic stories. Stories that might make our skin crawl at times, but we are utterly transfixed, offering humor within terror, bravery in the dark, magic beside monsters. After all, the world we know often has stranger things than we can dream of… so here are some of my podcast recommendations for Stranger Things fans who are now waiting with bated breath for Season 2. 

With its slogan “movies for your ears,” The Truth offers immersive and dramatic short stories that linger within your mind. You will need to listen with headphones on to fully appreciate their exceptional production and sound design that takes storytelling to the next level. Surprising twists and turns are the hallmarks of The Truth episodes - but you’ll never see them coming. You will probably gasp in surprise while you’re riding the train and strangers will give you disapproving looks, but really they’re just jealous of the delights inside your ear drums. My absolute favorite episode of The Truth is Sylvia’s Blood, which is based on Philip K. Dick's short story "Upon the Dull Earth,” about a woman who has a connection with angel-like creatures who are not as they appear to be. If you enjoyed the nostalgia of Stranger Things and the continual D&D references, Chaotic Neutral, an episode about a game of Dungeons & Dragons gone awry is a great place to start. Ever think about the possibility of worlds underneath our feet in the subways of the past? Then you’ll love In Good Hands. The Truth has just released one of their creepiest, spine-tingling episodes yet, Sleep Some More, about Dan’s college roommate who talks in his sleep about authorial intent and blood. It’s perfect for back to school! You will also definitely want to check out The Truth’s new series, Songanauts.  The basic premise is “Doc, Penny, & Jojo had a band that was going nowhere...Until they found a drum machine that transported them into their songs.”It’s sort of a musical Upside Down as the band travels into another dimension and has to battle anti-music for the sake of mankind. It’s meta, humorous with an 80s cartoon flair, with great, catchy songs! Also, there are ducks and cookies.

I heard about Cthulhu on Here be Monsters and then Cthulhu followed me on Twitter; that can’t be a coincidence. The real world can be infinitely stranger than what we imagine in our fiction. Here Be Monsters dives into the unknown, into our deepest fears, to the darkness within and without. The experience can be unsettling and jarring like any jump into uncharted territory. Encountering people who live and think differently is one of the best parts of the podcast revolution and is the hallmark of Here Be Monsters stories. My favorite episode, Flaming Sword of Truth, is about Patti Negri, a witch who uses astral travel/astral projection during her sessions. The lines between journalist and subject blur during this episode in unexpected ways. Listening to Here Be Monsters often feels like astral projection into other worlds and reveals how much there is still to know about each other. Here Be Monsters has something to satisfy everyone’s curiosity from a tales of a girl who pretends to be dying to a Satanic Prayer Hotline to an Etsy Witch to crow funerals. You will never be the same after giving Here Be Monsters a try.

Like Here Be Monsters, Lore exposes the underside of reality, but it is the tales of the past that intrigue creator, Aaron Mahnke, who crafts creepy, artfully polished tales about the darkness within mankind. Told like the best traditional tales (add your own digital campfire app) by a natural storyteller, Mahnke uses haunting musical scoring and exceptional writing (as the author of supernatural thrillers would) to weave his truly frightening tales from folklore, myth, and history. Simplicity is key in Lore; with just his voice, Mahnke transports listeners deep within the woods, off the beaten path, and into the shadows. They are made all the more gruesome by Mahnke’s detailed research that creates an auditory painting that awakens the senses. I appreciate the way Mahnke draws conclusions at during each episode about the nature of the tales and our drive for scary stories, especially within the context of the society and history. Why are we obsessed with tales of the undead and keep retelling them (I'm looking at you, Twilight)? Why do we tell our children stories like Hansel and Gretel and other macabre cautionary/traumatizing tales and why are the woods so darn appealing? (Curious about the origins of the term "step" as in stepparents or stepchildren? Check out The Allusionist with Helen Zaltzman, where Aaron Manhke stops by to share how this terminology evolved.) Lore offers insights to these questions and more, leading us inevitably to even more questions.

With the tagline, “storytelling with a beat” Snap Judgment stories are provocative, humorous, engaging and moving - and also terrifying, chilling, unbelievable and weird. They do it all. The synthwave score of Stranger Things definitely matches the style of Snap Judgment. They know how to create musical cues that make you feel all the things. The host, Glynn Washington, always starts each episode with a story of his own that frames the entire episode and shows how to tell compelling personal stories. You never know what curious things you’ll encounter on an episode of Snap. Some recommended episodes to get started include Monsters, Superheroes: Origin Stories, Crossing Borders and Tales from the Library. Each year Snap Judgment produce a very special Halloween episode called “Spooked” that is perfect listening to fill your horror stories fix. Get ready for Spooked VII, which is purported to be the scariest one ever! You should also check out Campfire Tales I & Campfire Tales II for more creepy tales. You will also probably want to leave the lights on afterwards. You’ve been warned. 

We’re all nerdy about something, whether it’s D&D, Goonies, E.T., Buffy, The X-Files, or science fiction shows on Netflix that we binge watch way too late at night (hypothetically). Nerdette Podcast hosts Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen help us embrace our inner nerds and fuel the fire by talking to some of the most interesting people on the planet, from scientists, comic book creators, comedians, writers, musicians, the works. (They also host the delightful Nerdette Recaps Game of Thrones with Peter Sagal Podcast that is worth listening to.) The Venn diagram between the interests of Stranger Things viewers and Nerdette Podcast guests is probably a straight up circle. If you love Eleven and the ways gendered tropes are subverted, you’ll love their Great Lady Nerds of History segments and their plethora of awesome nerdy women guests. Pick a person you admire and chances are the Nerdette Podcast has interviewed them, so it’s easy to start listening now. You can also be part of the show by sharing your Nerd Confessions. With the Nerdette Podcasts, you can most definitely fill the void with other wonderful nerdy things until Season 2 - and then after Season 2 and so on. 

What I loved most about Stranger Things was the nuanced character development. I couldn't stop watching it because I cared about the characters who were facing incredible odds and almost unsurmountable challenges. How much more so when those stories are true and extraordinary lives are captured on tape. Lea Thau, the creator and host of Strangers, produces powerful, intimate conversations with people that feel like you're with friends, listening in. Strangers stories are "about true stories about about the people we meet, the connections we make, the heartbreaks we suffer, the kindnesses we encounter, and those frightful moments when we discover that WE aren’t even who we thought we were." Oftentimes people can even be strangers to themselves and we join them on the journey of self-discovery, which makes for incredibly compelling radio. Some of my favorite episodes include the first episode, A Father's Story -- Then and NowHenry and Jane, The Teacher Who Couldn't Read, and Falling Slowly. I also appreciate Lea's willingness to be vulnerable, sharing her own tales of heartbreak in the Love Hurts series. Strangers is a catalyst for empathy, a window and mirror into worlds unknown, a dose of human connection.  Is there anything stranger than the way we're all not so different after all? 

And because I am a librarian, I must share some Stranger Things read-alikes.

I wish I could give The Order of Odd-Fish by James Kennedy to Lucas, Dustin, Mike, and Eleven, as well as the young actors playing these characters. I think they would appreciate the outrageous fantasy that dances a tightrope between humor and horror with rapid-fire literary wit. It has at times been associated with Lemony Snicket, Roald Dahl, Douglas Adams, Hunter S. Thompson, Eddie Izzard, Douglas Adams, J.K. Rowling, H.P. Lovecraft, Monty Python, Franz Kafka, and Lewis Carroll. The story revolves around an awesome, 13 year old heroine who is labeled as dangerous. Seriously. Sound familiar? Jo Larouche is left in her Aunt Lily’s laundry room with a note on her blankets: “This is Jo. Please take care of her. But beware. This is a DANGEROUS baby.” Through a series of strange events, Jo leaves home for otherworldly Eldritch City and “there, Jo learns the scandalous truth about who she is, and she and Lily join the Order of Odd-Fish, a colorful collection of knights who research useless information. Glamorous cockroach butlers, impossible quests, obsolete weapons and bizarre festivals fill their days, but Jo’s dream turns to nightmare when she learns that instead of a hero of Eldritch City, she may in fact become its destroyer.” The Order of Odd-Fish defies quick summarization, but once you start, not even a demogorgon will tear you away from its pages. There is the Belgian Prankster. Apology guns. An apocalypse prophecy. A Dome of Doom. Aznath, the Silver Kitten of Deceit. There are parfait-like layers here for readers curious enough to dare to unlock them. 

Set in the 80s. Check.
Bikes. Check. 
Mystery only kids can solve. Check. 
Sharp Dialogue. Check. 
Otherworldly creatures up to no good. Check.
Here's the premise of Paper Girls: "In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood." 

Enjoy stories with a great ensemble cast, people taking friendship to the max, mysterious supernatural goings-on, and bewildered adults? Then you'll love Lumberjanes! Jo, April, Molly, Mal and Ripley are campers who encounter strange creatures at Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiquil Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady-Types and work together to solve mysteries. The Lumberjanes are the heroes our young readers need and deserve. 
"It came from the woods. Most strange things do."

Truly terrifying graphic (in both senses of the word) horror tales that are beautifully creepy and unforgettable. These dark fairy tales are sure to satisfy your craving for scary stories, but maybe don't do what I did and read it right before going to sleep. And by that, I mean the night of no sleep. But that's the sign of a good book staying with you...literally. 

Neil Gaiman's 2009 Newbery award winning book, The Graveyard Book, is perfect for Stranger Things fans. Actually, his entire collected works is certain to satisfy readers eager for tales of otherworldly realms within ours, beautiful, heart-expanding writing, and characters you carry with you. So go read that, too. The Graveyard Book is about a boy, Nobody "Bod" Owens, who is adopted by the eternal residents of the graveyard and grows up among the headstones and crypts. The Graveyard Book has everything our crooked hearts can dream of (and some things we can't): murder, dancing with ghosts, a witch, friendship, folklore, coming of age, and exceptional prose. As a master storyteller, I highly recommend listening to the audiobook read by Neil himself. You can also check out the Audie award-winning full-cast version. And don't forget to explore the beautiful graphic novel, illustrated by P. Craig Russell. This and also this may delight you. 

Other fabulous people have created reading lists that I have compiled here. 
Betsy Bird's booklist for adults and kids 

What would you recommend to Stranger Things fans? 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

What to Get after Booked by Kwame Alexander: #GetBooked Readalikes

Every day teachers, librarians, parents, and Kwame Alexander face children eager for more books like The Crossover and Booked, books to spark their imagination, to be both windows and mirrors, more dragonfly boxes to open. Once these hungry minds and hearts have been awakened, you have to feed them. Once they start seeing books as “amusement parks for readers,” we need to get them to Splash Mountain, the Tilt-A-Whirl, the Teacups, the works. Connecting young readers with other forever books builds trust and community. It's the best feeling in the world as a librarian. I hope these suggestions help you connect readers in your life with powerful reading experiences.

You could start with the just announced National Book Award for Young People’s Literature 2016 Longlist… Score, indeed!

But if you’re looking for Booked readalikes, you need look no further than Booked itself. Within the narrative of a boy who dislikes reading encountering the right books for him (Anyone else having a meta moment where you’d lend Nick The Crossover?) are the very tools to help young people like Nick. Kwame has created a collection of fantastic recommendations that are the perfect place for Booked readers to get going - and keep going.

The Way a Door Closes by Hope Anita Smith

From your window
you watch
and happiness
like twins
in quicksand (75)

The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

What? Huh?
If only you were concentrating as much
on The Watsons Go to Birmingham (115)

Pelé Book


Did you finish that Pelé book yet?
You lie and say yeah,
‘cause the last thing
you need is he and Dad
ganging up on you
over a book (165-166)

I’m actually not sure which Pelé book this is. It could be Pelé: The Autobiography by Pelé or the DK Biography: Pelé by James Buckley, or Pelé (Sports Heroes and Legends) by Dax Riner, or an imagined Pelé book that is the epitome of informational texts. Either way, it made me eager to know more about him, as I imagine kids will feel the same. I especially appreciate The Mac’s thoughtful readers’ advisory, connecting this book to Nick’s passion for soccer.

All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg

and you’re left
wide awake, thinking of
all your broken pieces. (228)

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

when you get
to page 60
the monsoon comes
and the book is
unputdownable (237)

Books You Find on Google (243)

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

Her older sister says

it’s hauntingly beautiful
and gut-wrenching

and it’s based
on a true story
about boy soldiers

in Sudan
and she gave it
five stars (250)

Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

Like Peace, Locomotion,
an epistolary novel, which
means a  -

Great choice, April says, and winks

at you. (251)

Rhyme Schemer by K.A. Holt

Thanks. Rhyme Schemer’s a dope title, Mr. Mac.
Is this your autobiography?
It’s not, but you’re gonna dig it. (302)

Blackout Poetry books

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (51)
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (78)
How Lamar's Bad Prank won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen (284)

Books Kwame has Recommended  

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Keeping the Night Watch by Hope Anita Smith

Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes

Which books would you recommend to Booked fans?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Youth Media Awards Therapy™

A couple weeks after the Youth Media Awards announcements and the buzz and conversation continues to grow. I'm also still gleeful from my first ever YMA viewing party with my students, declaring the importance of children's literature together in the midst of finals. So, no, YMA Therapy isn't about debating the winners or questioning the committees. There are plenty of blogs and resources to discuss all the feels, especially if you want to talk about the 2016 Newbery award going to two picture books (Lookin' good, Roller Girl! I knew these Trading Cards would come in handy!).

I had the privilege of reading Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson, to a group of 5th graders and they blew my mind with their keen insights. One of my favorite moments was when one student connected the rush of the city to the city of Reality in The Phantom Tollbooth, which disappeared when people stopped noticing it. Last Stop on Market Street calls us to notice the beauty in everyday life and ordinary people, to find wisdom in the journey, and see the world with fresh eyes. I am excited to hear how these conversations are happening across all grade levels. I can't wait to read it to my college students during our storytelling class. And can I just say how excited I am for Jacqueline Woodson's May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture? I am determined to road trip it to the library lucky enough to host this incredible storyteller.

My kind of YMA Therapy is inspired by the Third Coast International Audio Festival's Podcast Therapy, their listener's advisory service that matches people with audio wonders that meet their moods and interests (and solve their problems) during fantastic live events. According to TCIAF's explanation, "Our Third Coast Podcast Therapists ™ - highly trained listeners with a vast trove of audio delights – are here to help. We work with listeners (individuals and couples) in all stages of life: from those who confuse podcasts with peapods, to the self-assured ear-bud wearer in search of new sonic horizons. Bring your problems, your smartphone, and your ears, and leave with the perfect podcast prescription." As librarians, we're all about connecting people with material they're interested in and helping them find that next great story. (I can't be the only one who immediately thinks of a podcast to share when someone comes to me for a reading recommendation or research project.) Thinking about those who have diligently and selflessly served on the committees, after intense, magical, perhaps heated, but always thoughtful deliberations, after months of reading (and re-reading and re-reading...) and note-taking and taking notes on the notes, they may want to take a break from books or at least have more time to explore media beyond what's eligible. I offer my YMA Therapy™ services to help suggest podcasts to some of these committees. Whether you are a podcast aficionado or just starting to explore this Best-Thing-Since-Sliced-Bread, hopefully there's something in these recommendations that you'll enjoy. And if you mocked like a rock star, are eager to dive into audio storytelling, or just enjoy bookish things, these suggestions are for you, too. Feel free to share your own YMA Therapy™ suggestions for various committees in the comments. Which podcasts would you recommend? Like the YMAs, they are just some of the phenomenal stories that we can share with our reading communities.

                     Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature

The Printz focuses on the literary merit of teen literature using open-minded and flexible criteria that allow committee members to think outside the box. The best young adult literature takes risks, tries new things in format, style, and narrative structure, and offers innovative and fresh voices. This year's award winner, Bone Gap by Laura Ruby, was one of the most original and captivating stories I have ever read, one that lingered in my mind long after the last page. It's a book that made me desperately want to talk about it with others. For a podcast that leaves a long-lasting impression, using extremely well-crafted writing and superb plotting, my YMA Therapy™ recommendation is The Truth, produced by Jonathan Mitchell.

With the tagline "Movies For Your Ears," The Truth offers radio drama as you've never heard it before, so headphones are definitely a must. When you listen to The Truth, you are there, whether it's an underground city, the campaign trail for Santa, an alien planet, or spin class. Artfully playing with the conventions of storytelling, The Truth always has twists and turns that leave me guessing - just like the best YA. Excellent episodes to begin with are False Ending (A satire within an enigma within a film within a radio story), The Extractor (The sounds we make don't just fade away; they're embedded in the wood around us), and Chaotic Neutral (A game of Dungeons & Dragons is thrown into chaos, in this story about fantasy, reality, and a chaotic neutral wizard named Nicholas Cage). But my all time favorite The Truth episode is Silvia's Blood, based on Philip K. Dick's short story "Upon the Dull Earth." In it, "A young couple performs a strange blood ritual to invoke angels." Whenever I walk down by the street when I first listened to this story on my way to Skokie Public Library, I am back in that foreboding forest with an impossible choice to make. Such is the power of immersive storytelling that engage all of our senses. For teens, The Truth episodes could also be great mentor texts to help them create their own audio dramas or short stories. Who knows what innovative literacy programming will be inspired by binge-listening The Truth? You'll have to try it to find out.

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal & 
YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults 

The Sibert and YALSA Excellent in Nonfiction for Young Adults committees understand the craft of carefully organized informational texts and how well-designed nonfiction stands out. True stories told well can stir the imagination and make us see the world in new ways or worlds we didn't even know existed. Podcasts helped me realize that I love informational texts, that I constantly consume nonfiction and relish documentary storytelling, which made challenge my own genre preferences.

 If you're craving more informational materials that pursue the truth, there are many incredible podcasts for you! For those working with youth, I think Radio Diaries' Teenage Diaries Series, founded by Joe Richman, should be required listening. Young people were given tape recorders and the space to create documentary accounts of their lives. It's an intimate window into teens' lives that is rarely shared. There are even accounts from some of the teenagers as adults showing where their lives have taken them. Teenage Diaries reveals the incredible gift of giving someone the tools and opportunity to tell their story. 

Another exceptional podcast that shows the power of giving someone a forum to be heard is Strangers, produced by Lea Thau. She describes each episode as "an empathy shot in your arm, featuring true stories about about the people we meet, the connections we make, the heartbreaks we suffer, the kindnesses we encounter, and those frightful moments when we discover that WE aren’t even who we thought we were." Listening to Strangers feels like eavesdropping on a deeply personal conversation that somehow is connected to you. It feels like Humans of New York - actually Humans of the World - for your ears. I recommend starting your journey with The Teacher who Couldn't ReadHenry and Jane, and the very first episode, A Father's Story

If you're in the mood for something scientific in your informational media, check out the Hidden Brain podcast, hosted by Shankar Vedantam.  From switchtracking, resolutions, compassion, and motivation, Hidden Brain offers fascinating commentary on how we work (or epically fail). I particularly enjoyed the Students and Teachers episode and the Christmas episode about the science of generosity. 

Another incredible podcast that is a must-listen for nonfiction fans is Invisiblia, co-hosted by Lulu Miller and Alix Spiegel, which examines "the invisible forces that control human behavior – ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions.. interweav[ing] narrative storytelling with scientific research that will ultimately make you see your own life differently." As that old MTV Diary tagline goes, You think you know... but you have no idea. Listening to Invisiblia is like discovering a new country that you never heard of, yet makes perfect sense that it would be there. It shakes ingrained beliefs and pushes me to examine new ones, like how thoughts work.

But if you're burned out on nonfiction and want something completely different, like stories that blur the lines between truth and fiction, podcasts are the perfect medium for these narrative adventures.

One of the best podcasts that stretches the art form is Serendipity, produced by Ann Heppermann and Martin Johnson, which deliberately play with reality and offer stories as I have never heard them before. They also encourage new radio creators through the Sarah Lawrence College International Audio Fiction Award, aka The Sarah Awards. I've been listening to Ep. #3: Sleeping Girl, which was written and produced by Eliza Smith and Mark Ristich, on repeat.

Another fantastic podcast that makes me think differently about what's possible in audio is the Radiotonic podcast from RN’s Creative Audio Unit in Australia, offering documentaries, radio dramas, meditations, and more. You know you'll have to listen to The Search for Tiny Libraries in New Zealand. Equally satisfying are the radio serials based on real events, Highway of Lost Hearts (A woman, a dog, a campervan and 4,500 km of wide open road. What do you do when your heart goes missing?) and A Thoroughly Wet Mess (Sophie and Marc have been invited aboard a replica of the Mary Celeste, the famous ghost ship whose captain and crew disappeared into thin air in 1872. Now they’re about to recreate their ancestors’ fateful voyage, with other descendants of the original crew. What could go wrong?) Each piece offers something entirely different, which makes each listening experience a new adventure.

The Randolph Caldecott Medal

I expect things never look the same way again after serving on the Caldecott committee. I wonder if after their deliberations, committee members feel like Dorothy entering Oz when they spot new picture books, their understanding transforming it into technicolor. They appreciate the hidden language of design, the important choices illustrators make to convey meaning, and the power of visual storytelling. 

So my YMA Therapy™ recommendation for Caldecott committee members and picture book enthusiasts must be 99% Invisible, hosted by Roman Mars, "a tiny radio show about design, architecture & the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world. Each episode is a sound-rich deep dive into a single topic." If you want more Dorothy moments that make you see the world in a new light, 99% Invisible will blow your mind with its revelations about the built world. Think of it as Molly Bang's Picture This for your ears. It illuminates the ways design shapes our lives and impacts our society, with both an individual and global scope. Picture book advocates appreciate the power of a visual experience on young minds and its far-reaching effect. They also recognize the power of wonder - and 99% Invisible operates on a steady diet of curiosity. Warning: You will want to dig deeper after each episode and dive into research mode after listening, but I think that might be your jam as information professionals. But it's also the beating heart within each episode, the larger social themes of the story, that compel me to keep listening. Everything around us is made up of story - and we just need someone willing to discover what it is. Like a beautifully made picture book, each episode is expertly crafted and sound-designed to make you visualize the world. Even places I've seen most of my adult life became new after listening to 99% Invisible, so I'd recommend starting with Purple Reign, the fantastic saga of the famous/infamous Purple Hotel in Lincolnwood, IL with many different stories to tell. I was lucky enough to purchase a purple brick that benefited Lincolnwood Public Library - and it means so much more to me because of this story. My understanding of cities and the urban landscape was transformed after listening to The Arsenal of Exclusion and Names vs. The Nothing. And if you are in the mood for a scrappy undergrad students' research saving the day through math story, you must listen to Structural Integrity. A fellow nerdy librarian and I agreed it's 99% Invisible at its best during a conversation about the design of Australia's capital, as you do. I also appreciate the episodes focused on moments that are magnified like Game Over, the story of the end of The Sims Online/EA Land and the community that formed around this massively-multiplayer online game. I often play the episode for my students and we talk about how stories inspire empathy.

Note: This episode originally aired on Snap Judgement, which is another exceptional podcast that you should definitely check out. Also, you should listen to every episode that discusses Vexillology (and also watch Roman Mars' TEDTalk). Picture book fans can dig a well-made flag.

For all of you who searched for the best of the best, the literature that will engage and inspire young readers, including all of the extremely dedicated people who put together the incredible selected book and media lists, like YALSA's Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults, Best Fiction for Young Adults, Great Graphic Novels for Teens, Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, and ALSC's Children's Notable Books, Recordings, and Videosone final recommendation about a podcast that seeks out distinguished stories too.

The Third Coast International Audio Festival collects the best radio stories from around the world and shares it on their show, Re: Sound, produced by Dennis Funk, hosted by Gwen Macsai.  I have discovered some of my favorite podcasts and audio producers and developed my appreciation for this art form because of Re:Sound. You will love listening to The Stories from Childhood Show with stories about Dr. Seuss, L. Frank Baum, and Margaret Wise Brown. You may think about childhood in a new way after listening to The Kids' Secret Places Show, produced by Katie Mingle. I am particularly fond of The Quiet Show, which offers a meditative treatise on whispering that shows how loud we can be when we listen. With an infinite assortment of stories shared each week, you're bound to find something pleasing to your ears. And when you find something you adore, please share it and continue the YMA [Podcast] Therapy™. After all, that's what we do as librarians.

Happy listening!  

A YMA Therapy™ Extra....
I love when podcasts have extra content or previews at the very end of their episodes, filling in the minutes with as much excellent content as they can, so I figured I'd list some of my favorite children's literature podcasts. It's incredibly exciting to see the growth in this field over the past couple years and I hope more people decide to make the podcast of their dreams. Podcasts led me to where I am now, so I know firsthand how powerful they can be. 

Brain Burps about Books, hosted by Katie Davis
Episode to start with: What is Literacy? The First Three National Ambassadors for Young People’s Literature

Kids Comics Revolution, hosted by Dave Roman and Jerzy Drozd
Episode to start with: Zita the Spacegirl (Book Club) 
Episode to start with: A Conversation with Kazu Kibuishi
Episode to start with: Tim Federle 
Episode to start with: The Little Mermaid