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American experiences you may have missed – time to read with your ears!

“The American story” has millions of chapters, each unique. This week (2-8 June 2022), the AudioSYNC program brings us a baseball life you may have missed and a glimpse of America itself gripped by Red scares during the Cold War.

Be sure you’ve registered here so your Sora shelf is ready to download either or both of these professionally produced audiobooks – free! Listen anytime and anywhere over the next 99 years, as long you can access your Sora shelf online.

If you miss any of the featured audiobooks during their free download time, check for them at your local public library or independent bookstore.

Remember – download these fascinating chapters of American history by Wednesday, 8 June 2022!

CD cover of Singled Out: The True Story of Glenn Burke, by Andrew Maraniss, Read by Kevin R. Free. 
Published by Listening Library | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Singled Out: The True Story of Glenn Burke (free Sora download 6/2-6/8/22)
by Andrew Maraniss | Read by Kevin R. Free
Published by Listening Library

Baseball fans saw Glenn Burke invent the high-five in 1977, but only those close to the LA Dodgers’ outfielder knew he was gay.

From the World Series to his post-baseball life fighting addiction during the AIDS epidemic, Burke’s life and legacy influenced the athletic and LGBTQIA+ community.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/194493/singled-out-by-andrew-maraniss-read-by-kevin-r-free/

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CD cover of A Time of Fear: America in the Era of Red Scares and Cold War, 
by Albert Marrin. Read by Jason Culp.
Published by Listening Library | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A Time of Fear: America in the Era of Red Scares and Cold War (free Sora download 6/2-6/8/22)
by Albert Marrin | Read by Jason Culp
Published by Listening Library

During the Cold War, some Americans thought Communist ideals could erase the nation’s deepening economic and social divides. Others saw Communism as an enormous threat to our democracy and would do anything to stop it – including blacklisting, lying, and trying to erase free speech.

This look at the McCarthy era’s strident bellowing against those who thought differently asks us to consider what’s worth fighting for and how far we each would go to protect our freedoms.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/196649/a-time-of-fear-by-albert-marrin-read-by-jason-culp/

What other American life stories would you like to see featured on AudioSYNC?
**kmm

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Real life stories to read with your ears – free audiobooks!

Have you registered for your free Sora shelf here yet? That’s where the free AudioSYNC audiobooks will reside when you download them during their Thursday-Wednesday access weeks so you can listen anytime.

Did you know that these professionally produced audiobooks are checked out to your Sora shelf online for 99 years?!

I’ll highlight each new audiobook pair on Thursdays so you’ll have time to download them. If you miss any, check your local public library or independent bookstore.

Let’s hear real life stories this week:

CD cover of The Real Herge: The Inspiration Behind Tintin, by Sian Lye | Read by Simon Vance.  Published by Oasis Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The Real Herge: The Inspiration Behind Tintin (free Sora download 5/26-6/1/22)
by Sian Lye | Read by Simon Vance
Published by Oasis Audio

Tintin and his faithful canine companion traveled the world in search of news and adventure in a long-running graphic novel series that has myriad fans today.

Intrepid boy reporter Tintin reflected some of his Belgian creator’s personal dreams and characteristics, as this well-narrated biography of Herge reveals.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/191573/the-real-herge-by-sian-lye-read-by-simon-vance/

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CD cover of Someone Like Me: How One Undocumented Girl Fought for Her American Dream, by Julissa Arce | Read by Julissa Arce. Published by Hachette Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Someone Like Me: How One Undocumented Girl Fought for Her American Dream (free Sora download 5/26-6/1/22)
by Julissa Arce | Read by Julissa Arce
Published by Hachette Audio

After spending her childhood in Mexico, Julissa joins her working parents in the US as a young teen. When her tourist visa expires, she remains to complete her education, ever fearful of deportation.

Stellar grades, great SAT scores – still so many barriers between her and university!

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/186636/someone-like-me-by-julissa-arce-read-by-julissa-arce/

Whose life story do you want to listen to next?
**kmm

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THEY CALLED US ENEMY – Japanese-Americans in WWII, by George Takei (Graphic novel review)

Book cover of They Called Us Enemy, by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott; illustrated by Harmony Becker. Published by Top Shelf Media | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Leaving their home and possessions,
not his parents’ choice…
Why? Why!?

His mama’s purse is full of treats for five-year-old George and little Henry as they make the long train trip with her, Daddy, and baby Nancy from their home in Los Angeles to a camp in the woods of rural Arkansas.

Not a vacation place, but an internment camp with barbed wire fences, unfamiliar foods, very little privacy, and their loyalty to the USA constantly in question – boring for kids, disheartening for adults.

Later, George’s family was moved to a facility in the California desert at Tule Lake, another of several concentration camps that housed 120,000 Japanese-Americans and Japanese who were forcibly removed from the West Coast during World War II.

At war’s end, they hoped to move back to their homes and businesses, but their properties had been seized and sold to others… time to start all over again.

Will the US government deport George’s family?
How can they live in a country that hates them?
What will the future be like in a world after war?

This is a sobering portrayal of a dreadful time in America’s history, as seen through a child’s eyes and reinforced by decades of subtle and overt racism against Asian Americans.

(One of the white co-authors had worked previously with Takei and pitched the idea of capturing his childhood memories as a graphic novel. The book’s artist is Japanese-American, creator of Himawari House graphic novel that I recommended here.)

The well-known Star Trek actor and social activist continues to speak out against discrimination, racism, and the rights of all to love and be loved.

What young childhood memory would you write or draw?
**kmm

Book info: They Called Us Enemy / George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott; illustrated by Harmony Becker. Top Shelf Media, 2019. [author site] [co-author site] [co-author interview] [illustrator interview] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

BLACK BALLERINAS: My Journey to Our Legacy, by Misty Copeland & Salena Barnes (picture book review)

book cover of Black Ballerinas: My Journey to Our Legacy, byMisty Copeland; illustrated by Salena Barnes. Published by Aladdin S&S | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Every child needs role models who strive to improve life,
who work hard,
who look like them…

Misty Copeland saw very few Black ballet dancers as she grew up, cherishing each one that she met on her path to become the first African American female principal dancer at the American Ballet Theater in 2015.

They told of being denied lessons as children and positions with dance companies because of their race. It was worse in earlier times, so the accomplishments of Black ballet dancers were overlooked or erased from dance history books.

Copeland began searching for the stories of those talented women who had preceded her. Mostly American, some were forced by prejudice to dance outside the US, others trained for years and were denied their turn on the stage.

Now this book highlights 27 outstanding Black ballerinas of the past and present: Lauren Anderson, Aesha Ash, Debra Austin, Joan Myers Brown, Delores Browne, Janet Collins, Marion Cuyjet, Stephanie Dabney, Frances Taylor Davis, Michaela DePrince, Nikisha Fogo, Robyn Gardenhire, Celine Gittens, Alicia Graf Mack, Lorraine Graves, Francesca Hayward, Tai Jimenez, Christina Johnson, Virginia Johnson, Nora Kimball-Mentzos, Erica Lall, Andrea Long-Naidu, Ashley Murphy-Wilson, Victoria Rowell, Anne Benna Simms, Raven Wilkinson, and Ebony Williams.

Copeland’s retellings of their dance experiences – good and bad – and signature roles include the too-common theme of “not fitting in” with majority white dance troupes. She acknowledges that colorism still impacts darker-skinned performers more than mixed race women like herself.

Barnes’ elegant and energetic illustrations capture each woman’s vibrant grace – en pointe, pirouette, leaping, in the spotlight.

This outstanding picture book is indeed an ‘everybody book’ – get it at your local library or independent bookstore today!

Who’s your career role model?
**kmm

Book info: Black Ballerinas: My Journey to Our Legacy / Misty Copeland; illustrated by Salena Barnes. Aladdin, 2021. [author site] [artist site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Ballet is all she knows…then what? TINY DANCER memoir, by Siena Cherson Siegel & Mark Siegel (graphic novel review)

book cover of Tiny Dancer, by Siena Cherson Siegel; art by Mark Siegel. Published by Atheneum | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Dance, stretch,
push through pain,
dance, dance… down.

Ballet classes during her blissful childhood in the 1970s set Siena on her life path. Dancing becomes an escape from the sixth-grade mean girls, from missing her big brother when he leaves Puerto Rico for Boston, from Mom and Dad fighting.

Audition for the School of American Ballet? Live in New York City? School with real friends? All wonderful (except leaving Dad back in San Juan).

Siena wants to be a ballerina more than anything, so that means total dedication, practice, and more practice. Summer ballet schools in and out of New York State as she grows just a little taller than is acceptable for the parts that she longs to dance, spotlight roles that go to her classmates.

An ankle injury forces her to sit out some practices at the New York City Ballet company, just as auditions for the next level are starting – the other girls will get ahead! A little pain is worth the chance to advance, right?

No time for boyfriends or hobbies… even in her dreams, she dances.

No carbs, no desserts – a ballerina’s physique is sleek and svelte…or else.

As her ankle’s healing slows and stalls, Siena’s self-confidence dwindles, and the teen feels trapped by expectations, like turning into a statue instead of a whirling, feather-light dancer.

This graphic novel memoir starts with light and lively lavender colors showcasing Siena’s early days, becoming darker and heavier as she struggles with what could possibly come after ballet, the tutu-clad ghost of her young dreams hovering over many sequences.

Where have your childhood dreams taken you?
**kmm

Book info: Tiny Dancer / Siena Cherson Siegel; art by Mark Siegel; backgrounds by Abe Erskine. Atheneum, 2021. [author bio] [artist site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Tapping her HIDDEN POWERS: LISE MEITNER’S CALL TO SCIENCE, by Jeannine Atkins (YA book review)

book cover of Hidden Powers: Lise Meitner's Call to Science, by Jeannine Atkins. Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

School through age fourteen,
prepare to raise a family,
but she wants more, so much more!

In a time when new elements are being added to the periodic table, Lise longs to be a scientist, to study further – so unladylike for the early 1900s!

But she persists, going to university, earning her PhD, hearing the discoveries of Planck and Einstein and Hahn from the great men themselves – so much more to learn!

Segregated in her Berlin basement laboratory away from the university’s male chemists and physicists, Lise makes an electroscope to examine radioactive substances – surely they can fill the periodic table’s gaps!

She publishes her important findings in academic journals before and during and after World War I – Dr. L. Meitner is applauded, yet her male co-researchers get more of the credit.

Hitler invades her home country of Austria in 1938 – safety for a Jewish woman in Nazi Germany will soon be impossible!

Can Lise escape to another country?
How will she continue her research?
Why did her lab partner alone get a Nobel Prize for their work on nuclear fission??

This biography in verse is a worthy addition to your reading list for International Day of Women and Girls in Science on 11 February or any day!

What woman of science do you think should be more celebrated for her work?
**kmm

Book info: Hidden Powers: Lise Meitner’s Call to Science / Jeannine Atkins. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

YOU CAN’T SAY THAT! yes, authors can! #BannedBooksWeek (nonfiction book review)

book cover of You Can't Say That! Writers for Young People Talk About Censorship, Free Expression, and the Stories They Have to Tell, edited by Leonard S. Marcus. Published by Candlewick Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Too rude! too scary!
Not in our school, our town,
we don’t talk about such things…

Name a ‘controversial topic’ and you can find a list of books for kids and teens that someone, somewhere in the US has tried to censor or ban from class or remove from library shelves.

That’s why this is Banned Books Week and why noted children’s books expert Leonard Marcus decided to talk with authors whose books have challenged by people who think their viewpoint is the only one.

Marcus sets the stage in each chapter by noting the author’s books, the censorship they faced, and how he knows them, so the interviews are conversations between friends as well as explorations of how their depictions of real life often clash with adults trying to protect kids from unpleasant things.

Authors interviewed include: Matt de la Peña, Robie H. Harris, Susan Kuklin, David Levithan, Meg Medina, Lesléa Newman, Katherine Paterson, Dav Pilkey, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, Sonya Sones, R. L. Stine, and Angie Thomas.

You’ll recognize challenged titles from Captain Underpants to the Goosebumps series to Heather Has Two Mommies that have been stolen, challenged, and even publicly burned, but might not have heard about authors being ‘disinvited’ from speaking at schools because their books include gay characters or children in families with alcoholism.

Meg Medina expresses the balance between would-be censors and the author’s right to tell their stories freely: “When it comes to formal challenges to books, the problem is not that parents don’t have the right to be involved in deciding what their children read. The problem is that they don’t have the right to make that determination for other people’s children.” (p. 96)

What are your experiences with book banning or censorship at your school?
**kmm

Book Info: You Can’t Say That! Writers for Young People Talk About Censorship, Free Expression, and the Stories They Have to Tell / Leonard S. Marcus, editor. Candlewick Books, 2021. [editor site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

How can life’s rarities outlast everyday reality? Audiobooks show us more!

Time to download this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC so you can read with your ears!

Remember to save these complete audiobooks to your Sora shelf (FAQs here) from Thursday through Wednesday so you can access them any time on your phone or device.

If you missed the free download of earlier AudioSYNC recommendations, be sure to check through your local public library!

CD cover of audiobook Crescendo:The Story of a Musical Genius Who Forever Changed a Southern Town,
by Allen Cheney, Julie Cantrell [Contributor].Read by Allen Cheney. Published by Thomas Nelson | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Crescendo: The Story of a Musical Genius Who Forever Changed a Southern Town (free download on Sora 10-16 June 2021)
by Allen Cheney, Julie Cantrell [Contributor]
Read by Allen Cheney
Published by Thomas Nelson

Bullied in his small Georgia hometown, musical genius Fred Allen escapes to New York City where his talent is appreciated and applauded.

The musician’s wife and family support his dreams, even when the long-term effects of childhood trauma darken his outlook. This biography is written and narrated by Allen’s grandson with love and hope.

CD cover of audiobook Extinction,
by Hannie Rayson. Read by Seamus Dever, Sarah Drew, Darren Richardson, Joanne Whalley. Published by L.A. Theatre Works | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Extinction (free download on Sora 10-16 June 2021)
by Hannie Rayson
Read by Seamus Dever, Sarah Drew, Darren Richardson, Joanne Whalley
Published by L.A. Theatre Works

Spotting a tiger-quoll in the wild means the endangered Australian carnivorous marsupial could be saved from extinction… if the American zoologist who finds it can convince a greedy timber baron to spare its habitat.

How can the rare and wonderful be saved from everyday life’s brutality and greed?
**kmm

Can you create a new future for yourself? Audiobook stories bring us more!

Last century and this century – two young men take steps to secure their futures in this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC.

Remember that although these complete audiobooks are only available for free download from Thursday through Wednesday, you can listen them on your phone or device any time as long as you keep them on your Sora shelf (FAQs here).

CD cover of audiobook The Magic Barrel by Bernard Malamud | Read by Sheldon "Shelley" Berman, David Cromer, Marge Kotlisky, Naana Potok, Malcolm Rothman, Jensen Wheeler. Published by LA Theatre Works | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The Magic Barrel (free download 27 May – 2 June 2021)
by Bernard Malamud | Read by Sheldon “Shelley” Berman, David Cromer, Marge Kotlisky, Naana Potok, Malcolm Rothman, Jensen Wheeler
Published by L.A. Theatre Works

The Yiddish matchmaker’s envelope brims with prospective wives for those who seek out her expertise in 1950s America.

This classic short story explores her magic barrel of possibilities for a shy young rabbinical student looking for a bride, so certain in his faith and so uncertain about his future.

CD cover of audiobook Of Beetles and Angels:  A Boy's Remarkable Journey from a Refugee Camp to Harvard, by Mawi Asgedom | Read by Mawi Asgedom
Published by Hachette Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Of Beetles and Angels: A Boy’s Remarkable Journey from a Refugee Camp to Harvard (free download 27 May – 2 June 2021) by Mawi Asgedom | Read by Mawi Asgedom
Published by Hachette Audio

The author narrates his memoir of escaping war-torn Eritrea with his family and the long journey from Ethiopian refugee camp to the United States.

His decision to treat all people as angels (even if they were disguised as hard-cased beetles) buoyed his faith and brought him to academic success.

Does your future hinge on chance or can it be changed by your determination?
**kmm

W is for THE WILLIAM HOY STORY: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game, by Nancy Churnin (Picture book review)

book cover of The William Hoy Story, by Nancy Churnin, art by Jez Tuya. Published by Albert Whitman & Co. | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Umpires, coaches, players –
so many hand signals in baseball!
Why do they do that?

Have you watched a baseball game and wondered what story the coach is signalling with their hands touching shoulder, nose, ear, ear, nose?

Each combination tells their players what the pitcher should throw to this batter or whether a runner should steal or stay on base.

Who started this no-words communication on the baseball diamond? It was William Hoy, a Deaf player in the early 1900s who practiced hard so he could run faster and hit harder to play in the Major Leagues!

He couldn’t hear the umpires say ‘ball’ or ‘strike’ at the plate or read the lips of players who hid their mouths behind their mitts – but when the umpires used American Sign Language to signal their calls as William suggested, he could steal bases better than anyone!

His teammates learned signs so they could talk strategy without the other team hearing it. too. Even the fans started waving their hands high in the air as Deaf applause after William’s great plays as an outfielder and base-runner.

Learn more about this game changer and the early days of baseball in this picture book for everyone.

What obstacles have you overcome to do something you loved?
**kmm

Book info: The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game / Nancy Churnin, art by Jez Tuya. Albert Whitmas & Company, 2016. (author site) (artist site) (publisher site) Personal collection; cover art courtesy of the publisher.