Flying Lessons & Other Stories

Edited by Ellen Oh, read by a full cast. Listening Library, , unabridged, 4 CDs, 4.5 hrs., $30 ISBN 978-1-5247-2113-8
We Need Diverse Books cofounder Oh brings together some of juvenile fiction’s top stars with this collection of stories about young people of many races, cultures, and sexual orientations. All of the performances in the audio edition of this anthology are good, but two in particular are outstanding: Sunil Malhotra, a character actor with a string of high-profile narration credits, brings a nerdy vulnerability to the titular “Flying Lessons” by Soman Chainani. Portraying an uncertain Indian-American tween and his larger-than-life grandmother on a European vacation, Malhotra captures both characters’ deepest longings. In another terrific performance, author Kwame Alexander recites his own fast-talking poetry-as-prose contribution to the collection, “Seventy-Six Dollars and Forty-Nine Cents,” about a boy who may or may not have mind-reading superpowers. While the audio format doesn’t allow listeners to witness the unusual structure of Alexander’s “novella in verse” with its brief lines, numerous parenthetical asides, and copious wordplay, it’s a whole lot of fun to hear as Alexander whips through one autobiographical poem after another in a grand musical rhythm. Honorable mention for this collection goes to voice actor Julia Whelan for her sensitive performance of “Secret Samantha” by Tim Federle. Ages 8–12. A Crown hardcover. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 04/24/2017
Release date: 01/01/2017
Genre: Audio
Hardcover - 240 pages - 978-1-101-93459-3
Library Binding - 240 pages - 978-1-101-93460-9
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-101-93462-3
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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