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Listen to classic tales – with a twist!

Cool down this week with two winter-season tales free from AudioSYNC – Scrooge’s Christmas story gender-flipped and Shakespeare’s “which twin is which” masquerade of Twelfth Night.

Be sure you have the Sora app on your phone or tablet, then download your choice(s) before the stated deadline. As long as you set your Sora shelf as directed, you can listen to these professionally produced audiobooks any time.

CD cover of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens; freely adapted & read by Alison Larkin. Published by Alison Larkin Presents | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A Christmas Carol (download free 9-15 July 2020)

by Charles Dickens, Alison Larkin. Read by Alison Larkin. Published by Alison Larkin Presents

If Scrooge were a woman, well-educated and her own boss in the 1840s … how would she react to Tiny Tim’s plight?

Choosing money over the woman she loves, meeting the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future – Miss Scrooge has many life-changing decisions to make!

CD cover of Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare. Read by Stella Gonet, Gerard Murphy, Jonathan Keeble, Daniel Philpott, Nick Fletcher, Peter Yapp, Jane Whittenshaw, Malcolm Sinclair, David Timson, Lucy Whybrow, Christopher Godwin, Brian Parr, Adam Kotz, Benjamin Soames.
Published by Naxos AudioBooks | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Twelfth Night (download free 9-15 July 2020)

by William Shakespeare. Read by Stella Gonet, Gerard Murphy, Jonathan Keeble, Daniel Philpott, Nick Fletcher, Peter Yapp, Jane Whittenshaw, Malcolm Sinclair, David Timson, Lucy Whybrow, Christopher Godwin, Brian Parr, Adam Kotz, Benjamin Soames. Published by Naxos AudioBooks

Duke Orsino believes that shipwrecked Viola is a boy and sends her to Olivia with messages of adoration.

Of course, Viola falls in love with the Duke, wonders about the fate of her long-lost twin Sebastian, and encounters courtiers staid and silly during holiday celebrations in this full-cast Shakespeare comedy.

What other familiar stories would you like to gender-switch?
**kmm

Dare she tell THE STORY THAT CANNOT BE TOLD? by J. Kasper Kramer (book review)

book cover of The Story That Cannot Be Told, by J. Kasper Kramer. Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The Leader knows everything,
all must follow his new rules,
everything of the past must be erased!

“History is written by the victors,” goes the saying, but Ileana’s beloved uncle doesn’t believe that’s true and goes missing after a story critical of Romania’s Communist government goes public in 1989.

The teen’s parents whisk her out of the city, to her grandparents’ mountain village, hopefully far away from the secret police who have eyes and ears on every street corner.

In her knapsack is the notebook of stories she’s collected – old ones about the beautiful city before the Leader ruined it, older ones about her namesake princess, new ones from her uncle. Now she can add the stories about her own mother and the villagers as told by Mamaie and Tataie.

Weeks pass without word from her parents, but when strangers settle at the village inn, everyone knows this may be the last harvest festival before the government takes absolutely everything they have.

Can Ileana and her new schoolmates find a way to stop them?
What clues from the tale of Cunning Ileana might help?
Are her parents safe or have they been taken like her uncle?

Like the villagers’ tale of the White Wolf who saves the mountain people, Ileana wants her story to save those she loves… if she can.

When have you taken the truth to those who need it most?
**kmm

Book info: The Story That Cannot Be Told / J. Kasper Kramer. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Among P.T. Barnum’s wonders, WE ARE ALL HIS CREATURES, by Deborah Noyes (book review)

Book cover of We Are All His Creatures, by Deborah Noyes. Published by Candlewick Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The greatest showman!
Spotlight on him!
Overshadowing all others to reach his dreams…

Barnum’s museum of wonders captivates New York in 1842, yet his daughters feel he cares about the mermaid more than he loves them, would rather transform a little person into General Tom Thumb than tell them stories.

Jo is the decoy, drawing away mobs of fans so that famed opera singer Jenny Lind can safely make her way to each performance hall on Barnum’s 1851 tour, ever in her best friend’s shadow.

At home on her father’s lavish estate in Connecticut, only twelve year old Helen and the Barnum menagerie sense the presence of little sister Frances’ ghost who’s angry enough to wreak havoc as big sister Caroline’s 1852 wedding day approaches.

In 1868, no one can know that the Bearded Lady has a son! Mr. Barnum runs a most respectable establishment, and news of her illegitimate child would doom them both. Luckily, the American Museum is so crowded that Jack can sketch the animals with no one the wiser.

This double-handful of tales re-imagines the lives, dreams, and worries of people locked into their orbits around the self-created brilliance of “there’s a sucker born every minute” Barnum.

Is it ever right for the difference of others to be a show for the rest?
**kmm

Book info: We Are All His Creatures: Tales of P. T. Barnum, the Greatest Showman / Deborah Noyes. Candlewick Press, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Calculus can be funny? CHANGE IS THE ONLY CONSTANT, by Ben Orlin (nonfiction book review)

book cover of Change is the Only Constant: The Wisdom of Calculus in a Madcap World, by Ben Orlin. Published by Black Dog & Leventhal Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Addition, subtraction – practical.
Area, perimeter – useful.
Laffer curve? Riemann integral? Ditto!

What do an oxhide and a clever princess have to do with the founding of a major port city? Derivatives!

Rectangle, stair steps, slope – where did the Pythagorean Theorem sneak in? Limits!

US economic policy changed due to a diagram on a paper napkin? Laffer curve!

Orlin discusses and illustrates these fundamental calculus moments in history as well as the contemporary research study “Do Dogs Know Calculus?” with the signature wit and enhanced stick figure illustrations of his popular Math With Bad Drawings blog and book.

Where do you math in everyday life?
**kmm

Book info: Change Is the Only Constant: The Wisdom of Calculus in a Madcap World / Ben Orlin. Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

When home’s safety is an illusion, what next? Read tales of escape & danger … with your ears!

From home, they cross desert lands,
from desert to home,
siblings travel in fear and hope.

The destination and the journey may both prove dangerous for teens in this week’s free audiobooks from the summer AudioSYNC program.

Download by evening of 27 May 2020 via the links below, and you can read with your ears as long as you keep the files on your phone or tablet’s Sora app shelf.

CD oover of Sisters Matsumoto, by Philip Kan Gotanda. Read by Keiko Agena, June Angela, Ron Bottitta, Kurt Kanazawa, Suzy Nakamura, Greg Watanabe, Ryun Yu. Published by L.A. Theatre Works | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Sisters Matsumoto (download 21-27 May 2020)

by Philip Kan Gotanda. Read by Keiko Agena, June Angela, Ron Bottitta, Kurt Kanazawa, Suzy Nakamura, Greg Watanabe, Ryun Yu. Published by L.A. Theatre Works

Leaving prison camp in 1945, three Japanese-American sisters return to their California family farm, but find that everything has changed.

The young women are determined to realize their late parents’ dreams, even if the land is out of their hands.

This full-cast live performance is followed by an excellent discussion with former internee George Takei about US citizens “relocated” during World War II.

CD cover of Disappeared,  by Francisco X. Stork | Read by Roxana Ortega, Christian Barillas
Published by Scholastic Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Disappeared (download 21-27 May 2020)

by Francisco X. Stork. Read by Roxana Ortega, Christian Barillas. Published by Scholastic Audio

Las Desaparecidas, the disappeared girls, now include Sara’s friend Linda so the young journalist writes and worries, knowing that powerful forces in Juarez are behind the kidnappings.

Sara’s brother Emiliano hopes that building a small business will impress the wealthy classmate he adores.

Soon, the criminals threaten Sara and Emiliano’s lives – is it time for them to brave the desert crossing to safety?

What difficult journeys in life have you traversed with the help of your family?
**kmm

Might rethink those partnerships! Chilling audiobooks…

A deal with the Devil!?
Are the police ignoring evidence?
Are you sure this partnership is on the up-and-up?

Hope you’ve already downloaded the Sora app on your phone or tablet and selected Audiobooksync as your public library there so you can quickly download and save a scary story or two from this week’s free selections.

Each pair of professionally produced audiobooks is available from Thursday morning to Wednesday night – the full calendar with selections and summaries is here.

CD cover of Faust,  by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Read by Samuel West, Toby Jones, Anna Maxwell Martin, Stephen Critchlow, Derek Jacobi, Daniel Mair. Published by Naxos AudioBooks | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Faust (download here May 14-20, 2020)

by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Read by Samuel West, Toby Jones, Anna Maxwell Martin, Stephen Critchlow, Derek Jacobi, Daniel Mair. Published by Naxos AudioBooks

When the Devil offers a scholar the chance for a life filled with pleasure and power, Faust willingly gives up his soul.

But later he has second thoughts. Can one outwit the Devil?

CD cover of Stalking Jack the Ripper,  by Kerri Maniscalco, Read by Nicola Barber. Published by Hachette Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Stalking Jack the Ripper (download here May 14-20, 2020

by Kerri Maniscalco, Read by Nicola Barber. Published by Hachette Audio

Secretly assisting her uncle in his forensic lab, wealthy teen heiress Audrey encounters all the maimed corpses attributed to the Ripper. What secret clues might they find?

What too-good-to-be-true opportunity have you gladly passed up?
**kmm

N for DARING DARLENE, QUEEN OF THE SCREEN, by Anne Nesbet (MG book review)

book cover of Daring Darleen, Queen of the Screen, by Anne Nesbet. Published by Candlewick Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Adventure, danger, action!
Motion picture camera rolling,
try to escape the real bad guys!

“What the public wants” in 1914 is train wrecks and car chases, so the family motion picture studio puts Darleen in one seemingly perilous scene after another for their popular serial photoplay. The twelve year old is secretly thrilled; her widowed Papa is not.

But her uncles’ new idea of having her fake-kidnapped at a New York City theater grand opening so they can try night-filming an episode of “The Dangers of Darleen” goes awry when real kidnappers get her and a young heiress!

Victorine and Darleen must get away from the ruthless gang, but there aren’t trick movie locks or melted-sugar windowpanes or secret passageways in this dingy old house!

What if Victorine’s guardian won’t pay the ransom?
Why is grumpy teen Jasper from the studio seen nearby?
Could Darleen be taken away from Papa like her dear mama was?

Go back to the age of the Silver Screen before Hollywood and talkies, when a New Jersey studio could produce thrilling silent movies, and our young heroine Darleen can use her stage skills to pull off a real-life escape!

New this week! Request it from your local independent bookstore via Bookshop.org or on your library’s website!

What adventure would you choose, if you knew there was always the chance for a retake?
**kmm

Book info: Daring Darleen, Queen of the Screen / Anne Nesbet. Candlewick Press, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

L for Linh, lost little brother in BUTTERFLY YELLOW, by Thanhha Lai (book review)

book cover of Butterfly Yellow, by Thanhha Lai. Published by Harper Collins | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Last plane to safety,
a far away address,
can she find her brother again?

A promised escape flight takes only Hang’s little brother as the Communists overrun their town, and the twelve year old escapes from Vietnam with Mother on a boat… journey of terror in 1975.

From refugee camp to Uncle’s home in Texas in 1981, another step nearer to the address where Linh was taken.

LeeRoy, all done with school and being a city fella, is heading up to the Panhandle to meet his favorite bronc rider and work in rodeos. Helping this teenage gal get to Amarillo won’t take much time, will it?

But the address is now a vacant lot! A neighbor’s information sends LeeRoy and Hang out toward Palo Duro Canyon to find her brother, now called David.

Hang is determined to speak English well enough to tell David every memory of their family, as she and LeeRoy work on the dusty ranch near David’s new home, trying to wrestle thorny mesquite trees from the rocky earth with her brother in his summer before sixth grade.

Amarillo means “yellow” but the dirt there is red and orange, not like the tropical green fruit trees and vines of Vietnam.

Hang is sad that David cannot recall their childhood together, Uncle wants to take David from the new mother who loves him, and LeeRoy isn’t sure whether to stay on the ranch or follow his rodeo dreams.

As refugees flee from danger and desperate situations, how can we help them?
**kmm

Book info: Butterfly Yellow / Thanhha Lai. Harper Collins Children’s Books, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

J is for Jo, THE DOWNSTAIRS GIRL, listening, learning, yearning, by Stacey Lee (book review)

book cover of The Downstairs Girl, by Stacey Lee. Published by G. P. Putnam & Sons | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A new advice column to save the newspaper,
a new job to feed them,
a horse race to save them from a criminal!

Living secretly in a forgotten basement, 17-year-old Jo and her grandfather frugally manage on their small income while conversations drift down from the newspaper office above. Being Chinese means daily discrimination, even when carefully staying in society’s shadows.

Her grandfather is a legendary horse trainer, but when he’s injured, Jo must become lady’s maid to cruel debutante Caroline whose wealthy father controls much of 1880s Atlanta.

Like her black friends, Jo is expected to be neither seen nor heard, forced to the back of the horse-drawn trolley, shut out of most jobs.

But Jo must become bold to get medical treatment for her grandfather, to seize the role of advice columnist Miss Sweetie for the newspaper, to discover the tiniest clue about her parents and why they left her.

How many times can Caroline sneak away before the teen’s mother suspects and fires Jo for obeying her orders?

How often can Jo appear at the newspaper office as veiled Miss Sweetie before its young editor recognizes her voice?

How can she get grandfather’s cure from a notorious criminal with so little money in hand?

If Jo can dare to give advice to white society, perhaps she can dare to ride in a horse race as no woman ever has!

+++++
Before reading The Downstairs Girl, I didn’t know that Chinese workers were brought into the South during Reconstruction to replace slaves. No surprise that so many ran away from plantations to cities like Atlanta and Augusta.

What other under-told stories are you finding as you read these days?
**kmm

Book info: The Downstairs Girl / Stacey Lee. G.P. Putnam & Sons, 2019. [author Facebook] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

I for I CAN MAKE THIS PROMISE, by Christine Day (middle grade book review)

book cover of I Can Make This Promise, by Christine Day. Published by Harper Collins | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Waiting for seventh grade to begin,
sketching flowers and a found dog,
waiting for Mom to talk about those old photos.

Edie’s mom was adopted by a white family in Seattle so her Native American ancestry is a mystery. This growing distance between the 12 year old and best friend Amelia is mysterious, too… will she help Edie and Serenity make their movie for the student festival or not?

Wow, Edie looks just like the Edith whose journals she found in their attic, who headed down to Hollywood in 1973 to be in the movies… why haven’t her parents ever mentioned her? Who was Theo and why did he go to Wounded Knee?

New braces, old worries… how can Amelia insist that Edie star in their film instead of being the animator like she promised? What if Mom and Dad won’t talk about Edith at all?

One summer week… so much can happen in one week! Will Edie’s life ever be the same?

The author is Upper Skagit of the Coast Salish people and lives in the Pacific Northwest, like Edie and her family.

What stories does your family tell when you remember those who came before you?
**kmm

Book info: I Can Make This Promise / Christine Day. Harper Collins, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.