22 Noteworthy Audiobook Adaptations of Young Readers Editions

These nonfiction audio adaptations of recent Young Readers Editions cover a range of ages, and most feature difficult subjects including history, climate change, and systemic racism.

Below you’ll find a selection of noteworthy recent Young Readers Editions of adult titles. These audio titles were published between September 2020 and March 2022.

All the titles here are nonfiction; most feature difficult subjects including history, climate change, systemic racism. Some might ask, why expose younger readers to challenging, unpleasant, haunting truths? One of the featured writers, Hilary Beard, provides the consummate answer back in her introduction to The Burning:

“...the fact that something is upsetting to us doesn’t mean that we should not engage it. Facing the truth empowers us to understand our self, our neighbors, and our world more accurately; to make appropriate choices and decisions; to heal the past and present and build a more promising future. Together.”

Early Elementary

Hannah-Jones, Nikole & Renée Watson. The 1619 Project: Born on the Water. 24 mins. Listening Library. Nov. 2021. $22. ISBN 9780593459997.
Gr 2-5–Hannah-Jones’s seminal The 1619 Project becomes a 24-minute lyrical gift for youngest readers, rendered with ­Newbery Honoree Watson. Hannah-Jones voices the affecting verses: gentle through the horror, solemn to encourage empowerment, inviting to share the joy. A Black girl’s school assignment to “trace your roots” leaves her “ashamed” because she “can only count back three generations.” Grandma is her powerful antidote: “Let me tell you where we’re from.” Grandma reveals a story of “a home, a place, a land, a beginning” in the Kingdom of Ndongo where ancestors lived free...until the White Lion arrived in 1619 to steal the people to be whipped, chained, sold, enslaved in the New World. As Hannah-Jones and Watson remind in their authors’ note, “Black Americans have their own proud origin story.” VERDICT A must-have for every library: pair with the Nikkolas Smith–illustrated printed book for a phenomenal, immersive experience.


Middle Grade

Cummings, Elijah with Hilary Beard. We’re Better Than This: Young Readers’ Edition: My Fight for the Future of Our Democracy. 5:33 hrs. HarperAudio. Sept. 2021. $20.99. ISBN 9780063081581.
Gr 3-7–The adults got (mostly) Laurence Fishburne, but Adam Lazarre-White is distinctly the softer, better choice for younger listeners to get to know the late congressman in his own words. Cummings was born to South Carolina sharecroppers who moved to Baltimore “looking for a better life.” His modest childhood provided early lessons on combatting racism; in 1962, at 11, he helped integrate the neighborhood pool. He remained firmly grounded in his community, active at New Psalmist Baptist Church. He was a lawyer before being elected to the Maryland House of Delegates, then the U.S. House of Representatives. His honesty made him a target of the 45th U.S. president, but Cummings refused to demean himself. At grave personal cost, he never stopped working for the people. Cummings’s beloved widow, Maya ­Rockeymoore Cummings, joins Lazarre-White near book’s end. VERDICT Cummings’s death in 2019 predated this memoir’s publication, but Lazarre-White amplifies his resonating voice for justice.

Jahren, Hope. The Story of More (Adapted for Young Adults): How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here. 5:11 hrs. Listening Library. Nov. 2021. $38. ISBN 9780593415702.
Gr 5 Up–Award-winning scientist Jahren continues her auspicious author/narrator streak, especially ideal for the adaptation of her lauded 2020 original: her chatty, friendly presentation is an immediate invitation to listen to “what happened to my world, to your world—to our world.” Even more ­compelling is her summons to ­figure out “where to go from here.” Waste is our ultimate challenge: “Every day, almost one billion people go hungry, while a different billion people intentionally discard enough food to feed them.” Waste pointlessly destroys “our forests, fresh water and fuel,” as well as the “plants and animals that spent the entirety of their short time on this planet in service to our appetites.” Throwing away food = throwing away one another’s lives! That smack-in-the-head awareness should be the necessary impetus for the ­newest generations—­convincingly guided by Jahren—to engender life-saving change. VERDICT Libraries should arm activists early with empowering tools such as this.

Kendi, Ibram X. & Jason Reynolds. Stamped (For Kids): Racism, Antiracism, and You. adapted by Sonja Cherry-Paul. 2:22 hrs. Hachette Audio. May 2021. $21.98. ISBN 9781549108365.
Gr 4-8–First came Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning, awarded the 2016 National Book Award. Then Reynolds with Kendi presented (and narrated) “ A Remix” with 2020’s Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You for young adults. Middle grade audiences get their own version, distilled by educator/activist Cherry-Paul and read by Pe’Tehn Raighn-Kem Jackson, a tween phenom who began publicly performing poetry at three. Reading since she was 18 months, her fluency is prodigious, her pacing exacting. She’s especially effective in the “Let’s PAUSE/Let’s UNPAUSE” interstitials that offer further explication or background. Cherry-Paul writes to draw readers into conversations, asking questions, inviting—if not out-loud answers—deep thinking and reflecting. Jackson’s exceptional performance enlivens a powerful peer-to-peer exchange. VERDICT All libraries should provide easy access to every iteration of the “Stamped” series in every medium; stock with The 1619 Project: Born on the Water to encourage and enable every age group in their anti-racist journeys.

Rapinoe, Megan. One Life: Young Readers Edition. 5:29 hrs. Listening Library. Sept. 2021. $38. ISBN 9780593453872.
Gr 4-7–Rapinoe read her original 2020 memoir herself. Here, for the young ­readers edition, Nicole Lewis proves to be an ­optimal, dynamic match. Rapinoe made ­international headlines—and fielded a ­vicious media onslaught—when she ­emulated ­Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protests against racism targeting Black people. ­Recognizing her “four-hundred-year baked-in advantage” as a white person, she’s continuously educated herself about injustice. As one the world’s best soccer players—2012 Olympic gold medalist, two-time Women’s World Cup champion (2015, 2019)—her achievements have provided her a public platform. She came out as gay, talks candidly about her brother’s drug addiction, and continues to fight for pay equity in professional ­soccer: “Given the breaks I’ve had, speaking out seems like the least I can do.” VERDICT Lewis assists Rapinoe in scoring another winning goal.

Tisby, Jemar. How to Fight Racism Young Reader’s Edition: A Guide to Standing Up for Racial Justice. 6:20 hrs. Zonderkidz. Jan. 2022. $20.99. ISBN 9780310751267.
Gr 3-7 –Tisby, who continues here as his own narrator, is a patient, thoughtful reader, remaining consistently gracious even when discussing egregious history and contemporary injustice. Tisby gets immediately personal, introducing his younger self when he realized that the predominantly white school had “all the nice stuff” while his mostly Black and brown school had “all the broken-down stuff.” With relentless headlines about anti-Black police brutality, white supremacy, racial profiling, and worse, Tisby is forced to get real: “our world is broken.” To “fix what needs to be fixed,” he’s ready with an antidotal model: “the ARC of Racial Justice”—Awareness, Relationships, Commitment. While Tisby draws often on his Christian beliefs, his religion never proves alienating. VERDICT “Words...can be used as weapons to beat people up or as bandages to help people heal”—Tisby’s informative kindness pushes listeners to be better.


Young Adult

Abouzeid, Rania. Sisters of the War: Two Remarkable True Stories of Survival and Hope in Syria. 5:49 hrs. Scholastic Audio. Sept. 2020. $24.99. ISBN 9781338673456.
Gr 7 Up–Adapted from No Turning Back, award-winning Lebanese Australian journalist Abouzeid narrows her focus here to younger characters forced to witness Syria’s decimation under President Bashar Hafez al-Assad. In 2011, Hanin is eight, the middle of three sisters living in the “fringes” of Damascus. Although the family resides in an overcrowded slum, being Alawite—like Assad—suggests privilege. Nine-year-old Ruha is the oldest of three daughters in a Sunni Muslim (Syria’s majority) family in Saraqeb; her father’s participation in what should have been peaceful protests engenders devastating consequences. Both families will lose relatives, homes, country. British Jordanian Lara Sawalha, like Abouzeid, is fluent in Arabic—Syria’s official language—ensuring a smooth, eloquent narration. Without ever obscuring graphic tragedies, Sawalha’s gentle rhythmic cadence is ideally tuned for younger listeners learning about the horrors of war. VERDICT Despite the difficult topic, Sawalha affectingly ciphers Abouzeid’s deeply compassionate testimony.

 Acho, Emmanuel. Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Boy. 4:56 hrs. Macmillan Young Listeners. May 2021. $28.99. ISBN 9781250802132.
Gr 6-10–For audiences familiar with the former NFL linebacker’s viral YouTube series, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man, or those who might have already listened to the Acho-narrated ­audiobook of the same title, be assured that Landon Woodson’s performance in this young readers edition is just as affecting. Divided into three parts—“Me and You,” “Us and Them,” “We”—Acho presents concise, thoughtful chapters that combine history, contemporary context, lessons and how-tos, even managing to acknowledge COVID-19 with “the longest-lasting pandemic in this country is a virus not of the body but of the mind, and it’s called ­racism.” He’s got antidotes to share. Youthful and energetic, Woodson effortlessly adapts from the solemnity of exposing the horrors of ­enslavement, from breaking down challenging concepts like implicit bias and ­cultural appropriation, to encouraging all the ways of allyship. ­ VERDICT ­Never ­pedantic, always heartening, ­Woodson is an excellent stand-in to amplify Acho’s uncomfortable conversations.

Bascomb, Neal. The Racers: How an Outcast Driver, an American Heiress, and a Legendary Car Challenged Hitler’s Best. 6:19 hrs. ­Scholastic Audio. Oct. 2020. $27.99. ISBN 9781338673432.
Gr 7 Up–History alchemized through the Bascomb lens—Russian battleship Potemkin, WWI prison camp, Nazi Germany—is a guaranteed thrill-ride; his latest takes readers into the speediest cars of the 1930s. Adapting Faster for younger audiences, Bascomb details a prominent Nazi upset played out on wheels. Frenchman René Dreyfus is the driver, turned outcast because of his Jewish parentage as Nazi power rises. The heiress is Lucy O’Reilly Schell, one of history’s first women racers—and perhaps the most compelling character of all. The car is a singular Delahaye 145—its production made possible by Schell—that outraced Nazi-sponsored Mercedes Benz’s best. Alas, Jon Lindstrom’s unflagging energy pushes too often toward frenzied; he’s also no ­polyglot, a necessary talent for narratively traversing Europe. Lazy glitches are many, beginning in the prologue: Lindstrom garbles “Place de la Concorde,” while producers clumsily re-insert the phrase almost as if to accentuate the ineptitude. VERDICT Bascomb deserved better.

Chang, Jeff & Dave “Davey D” Cook. Can’t Stop Won’t Stop (Young Adult Edition): A Hip-Hop History. 12:30 hrs. Macmillan Audio. Mar. 2021. $26.99. ISBN 9781250756282.
Gr 8 Up–Over a decade and a half after its 2005 publication, the young readers edition of historian/journalist/music critic Chang’s seminal Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation seems almost overdue. The enhanced collaboration with historian/journalist/professor Cook adds new generations of makers and shakers, resulting in an enlightening, entertaining, sobering masterpiece. Covering over a half-century of history from the 1960s through the COVID-19 pandemic, Chang and Cook provide a stunning political, socioeconomic, musical melding. The audiobook, unfortunately, is disheartening. The duo alternates voicing the four “Loops,” with Chang’s steady gravitas making him the stronger narrator. Cook’s passionate delivery occasionally hampers his enunciation; mispronunciations (“Sa-I-Gu,” for example) loom. The most egregious blunders belong to the production team, with countless jarring insertions reminiscent of spotty cell connections. And why awkwardly embed just phrases—“with its redbrick buildings,” “from San Fernando Valley”—instead of re-recording full sentences? VERDICT For sound purists, choose the page.

Dreyer, Benjamin. Dreyer’s English (Adapted for Young Readers): Good Advice for Good Writing. 6:42 hrs. Listening Library. Feb. 2021. $50. ISBN 9780593343425.
Gr 9 Up–Dreyer is delightful—as both author and narrator. His witty charm, his utter devotion to his craft (despite his comical protestations of “I hate grammar”!) are as immediately, joyfully recognizable in the ears as on the page. But, so much of Dreyer’s exacting erudition needs to be seen not just heard. Take Chapter 2, “56 ASSORTED THING TO DO (AND NOT TO DO) WITH PUNCTUATION”: periods, commas, even maybe apostrophes are recognizable enough to imagine as he presents various examples; now consider hyphens, dashes (“in two flavors: em and en,” ahem) as they’re placed in the correct parts of phrases and sentences (six-year-old, New York–to–Chicago flight, “how to type them—I’m happy to reveal the secret”). Then imagine numbers/numerals, diacritics, italics, common spelling mistakes. Oof. Confused much? VERDICT The ideal option? Choose the print with the audio. Dreyer absolutely is that engaging.

Fairweather, Jack. A Rebel in Auschwitz: The True Story of the Resistance Hero Who Fought the Nazis from Inside the Camp. 5 hrs. Scholastic Audio. Oct. 2021. $27.99. ISBN 9781338780970.
Gr 7 Up–What’s immediately striking here is the casting of a woman to narrate: the titular rebel is the Polish hero—a man—Witold Pilecki. So, too, is the author Fairweather, who adapted his 2019 award-winning The Volunteer. The reasons for choosing a female voice never seem obvious, but Betsy Meiman confidently reads on, her performance consistently crisp and thoughtful. In a narrative about Auschwitz, the graphic horrors haunt, but Meiman remains in careful control, never devolving toward frenzied overdramatization. Three months after the Germans opened the infamous Polish death camp, Pilecki entered its hell in September 1940: “his mission, for the Polish resistance [was] to infiltrate the camp, create an underground resistance, and gather evidence of Nazi crimes.” Pilecki survived for almost three years inside, saving lives, enabling escapes. His deserved recognition happened only after his death. VERDICT She’s an unconventional narrator choice, but Meiman doesn’t disappoint.

 Grann, David. Killers of the Flower Moon: Adapted for Young Readers: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. 7:05 hrs. ­Listening Library. Nov. 2021. $50. ISBN 9780593415467.
Gr 8 Up–Grann’s adaptation of his 2017 mega-bestselling title of the same name has lost none of the urgency of the astounding original. Once upon a time, “the Osage were considered the wealthiest people per capita in the world,” a result of the oil beneath their Oklahoma land. In the 1920s, they became “the world’s most murdered.” Grann’s dazzling three-part exposition gets enhanced with a trio presentation. Kyla Garcia helms “The Marked Woman,” introducing the gruesome murders—the body count hits 24 by section’s end; her signature sing-songy narration isn’t an ideal fit, making her weakest of the three. Jon Lindstrom follows as FBI agent Tom White, “The Evidence Man,” solemnly embodying White’s fearless tenacity. Joe Ochman is earnestly probing as “The Reporter” who takes the “case not closed” to revelatory conclusion. VERDICT Libraries should prepare for younger audiences seeking to supplement the upcoming Martin Scorsese–directed screen adaptation with the book in all formats.

Kantor, Jodi & Megan Twohey. Chasing the Truth: A Young Journalist’s Guide to Investigative Reporting: She Said Young Readers Edition. adapted by Ruby Shamir. 7:04 hrs. Listening Library. Nov. 2021. $50. ISBN 9780593454701.
Gr 9 UpSerial collaborator Shamir fortuitously adapts journalists Kantor and Twohey’s essential 2019 She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement , providing young journalists not only an illuminating window into the industry, but also empowering young women, especially, to speak out and challenge injustices and abuses. After voicing She Said, Rebecca Lowman returns as narrator here, sounding very much like the big sister every young person needs in demanding situations. She’s encouraging and understanding, with just enough alarm when she needs to signal a warning, but never resorting to over-emoting. Lowman’s assured delivery highlights Kantor and Twohey’s goal “to document the facts,” “without bias or agenda,” while elevating the courage of the many women who bravely broke their silence. VERDICT Lowman adroitly enhances an ­already vital chronicle of a pivotal ­moment in journalism history.

Madigan, Tim. The Burning (Young Readers Edition): Black Wall Street and the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. adapted by Hilary Beard. 7:15 hrs. Tantor. May 2021. $24.99. ISBN 9781666118865.
Gr 6 Up–Two decades after Madigan wrote The Burning: Massacre, Destruction, and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 about “the nation’s worst race war,” award-winning writer Beard heightens the event’s significance with amplified awareness of social justice, systemic racism, and critical race theory in this young readers edition. While crediting white journalist Madigan with well-deserved appreciation for his “craftsmanship...skill...artistry,” Beard also took “the opportunity to add some additional context and a new perspective”—adroitly enhancing the mostly white, male chronicles with those of the accomplished men and women of Black Wall Street. Bill Andrew Quinn, who narrated the adult title, returns here, but his recasting initially jars as he reads Beard’s insightful introduction, written in the first person, in which she identifies herself within minutes “as an African American, as a woman.” VERDICT What follows is a consistently adequate performance throughout, but such a crucial narrative certainly deserved better than merely fine.

Onwuachi, Kwame with Joshua David Stein. Notes from a Young Black Chef (Adapted for Young Adults). 6:29 hrs. Listening Library. Apr. 2021. $50. ISBN 9780593343364.
Gr 7 Up–Narrator Malik Rashad isn’t quite Onwuachi, who ideally narrated his original 2019 memoir—but here, that’s not necessarily a liability for younger audiences who might need a smidge more animation. Rashad affectingly channels Onwuachi, the self-described “black kid from the Bronx...bold, ambitious, maybe a little arrogant.” Rashad is gentle when recalling Onwuachi’s supportive mother; initially dismissive then actively inquisitive as Onwuachi discovers his ancestral heritage in Nigeria with his paternal grandfather and extended family; aching as he recounts Onwuachi’s repetitive disappointments because of his abusive father; truculent as Onwuachi fights for respect as an accomplished chef. What should have been an auspicious debut for talented Rashad, however, is ruined by lazy production glitches, his hard work especially overshadowed by countless clumsy insertions of phrases and sentences. ­ VERDICT Alas, for aural purists, the annoyances are likely enough to resort to the page.

Roundtree, Dovey Johnson & Katie McCabe. Mighty Justice (Young Readers’ Edition): The Untold Story of Civil Rights Trailblazer Dovey Johnson Roundtree. adapted by Jabari Asim. 4:31 hrs. Listening Library. Dec. 2020. $38. ISBN 9780593393147.
Gr 7-10–Until her death at 104 in 2018, Roundtree—“a Black woman born in the early twentieth century in the Jim Crow South”—shared a remarkable 24-year friendship with McCabe, a self-described “white woman who came of age in 1950s ­Washington, DC.” Theirs was a “critical partnership” that produced Roundtree’s 2009 memoir, Mighty Justice: My Life in Civil Rights. Bahni Turpin, who voiced that original audiobook, returns, her dexterous register perfectly adjusted for younger ears. Turpin especially excels in embodying the women crucial to enabling Roundtree’s heroism, including her beloved grandmother, her ­Spelman College mentors, and Mary McLeod ­Bethune. ­McCabe notes, “I am sorry that Dovey did not live to see this [middle-grade] book, ­because she believed so deeply in our obligation to young people.” Multifaceted, multi-genre awarded Asim’s worthy adaptation is an encouraging gift to youth. VERDICT Once more, Turpin does mighty justice to presenting Roundtree’s inspiring life.

Synnott, Mark. The Impossible Climb (Young Readers Adaptation): Alex Honnold, El Capitan, and a Climber’s Life. adapted by ­Hampton Synnott. 5:42 hrs. Blackstone. Apr. 2021. $16.95. ISBN 9781665036412.
Gr 6 Up–The Synnott couple compress ­husband Mark’s 2019 bestseller to share with younger readers Alex Honnold’s thought-to-be-impossible feat of solo free climbing—as in no ropes, no harness!—Freerider, El ­Capitan’s notorious 3,000-feet vertical route in Yosemite National Park. Perhaps aware that adults might argue against glorifying such dangers for impressionable younger audiences, Mark Synnott, also a notable climber, ­interweaves plenty of his own challenging experiences—which tend to be considerably tamer, as if offering somewhat less risky examples of how to enjoy the ­not-always-death-defying sport. Here, narrator Roger Wayne sounds slightly more gravelly than Mark Deakins who voiced the original; Wayne is also more animated, clearly aware he’s vying for the ­attention of youngers ears. Honnold provides quite the unique character to embody: his live-off-the-grid-in-a-van lifestyle, his aloneness, his challenging neuroscience. VERDICT Wayne provides a thrilling aural ride.

Thomas, Dana. Fashionopolis (Young Readers Edition): The Secrets Behind the Clothes We Wear. 4:38 hrs. Listening Library. Feb. 2022. $38. ISBN 9780593503386.
Gr 6 Up–Paris-based journalist Thomas adapts her 2019 erudite exposé for younger audiences, and also (again) narrates. For a writer careful enough to include phonetic guidelines—”Maria Cornejo (pronounced “Cor-nay-ho”),” for example—her inconsistencies surprise: Ikeda is not “ai-kee-dah”; “Iris (pronounced “EEE-reece”)” is followed by Iris, like the flower. Missteps aside, her delivery carefully balances between objective and impassioned. Her content, however, might provoke polarizing reactions. Within the three-part fashion pyramid—haute couture (for women)/bespoke (for men), ready-to-wear, fast-fashion—her readers here are majority fast-fashion consumers (Zara, H&M, Gap). Fast-fashion, she irrefutably proves, sabotages the planet while rapaciously abusing desperate workers. And yet most sustainable options—which get detailed origin stories—are impossible for her target audience: $400 sweatpants; $1500 sweaters; $2,000 jeans, waitlist notwithstanding! Additional sustainability suggestions feel glossed over: trade, buy used, rent. And never wash your jeans? VERDICT Enraging? Perhaps. Ironically, the enlightenment feels worth every minute.

Tolan, Sandy. The Lemon Tree (Young Readers’ Edition): An Arab, A Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East. 4:42 hrs. Bloomsbury. Nov. 2021. $12.99. ISBN 9781547607624.
Gr 7 Up–“I wanted to write a history book in disguise,” journalist and professor Tolan announces, “and to make it feel, throughout, like a good novel. Even though the story is true.” Tolan voiced his original; here Rami Medina makes his audiobook debut: his rich, youthful voice hints at an indeterminable slight accent drawing listeners into an absorbing performance. Medina moves effortlessly between the two protagonists—Palestinian Arab Bashir and Israeli Jew Dalia—transcending gender and age as decades pass through Tolan’s chapters. In 1967, almost 20 years after being forced to flee, Bashir Khairi knocked on the door of his ancestral home and was greeted by Dalia Eshkenazi, whose family had moved in when she was 11 months old. That shared home, “against all odds,” will inspire a lasting friendship. ­VERDICT Over a decade and a half after his 2006 international bestseller, Tolan’s young readers ­adaptation—enhanced by newbie Medina—­succeeds again as ­gripping storytelling.

 Treuer, Anton. Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask: Young Readers Edition. 8:16 hrs. Dreamscape Audio. Mar. 2021. $24.99. ISBN 9781662070624.
Gr 6 Up–“Indians. We are so often imagined, but so infrequently well understood,” Treuer’s opening sentence reads. As a Princeton-educated, Ojibwe professor with “one foot in the wigwam and one in the ivory tower,” Treuer “cannot speak for all Indians,” but he’s ready with “specific rather than generic answers.” This young readers adaptation is certainly rare in that it expands on Treuer’s 2012 original, growing from approximately 120 to 200 Q&As. Treuer also takes the mic, making his narrating debut. Composed, eloquent, courteous, Treuer is an ideal, safe guide through all manner of topics, from the difficult, inane, nuanced, to downright racist. A single quibble: Georgetown was not named for George Washington, but most likely King George II (GW was still a teen when Georgetown was founded in 1751). VERDICT “Guilt for Whites and anger for Indians [does] nothing to make the world a better place.” Treuer wisely, empathically, brilliantly gets the conversation going.

Wong, Alice, ed. Disability Visibility (Adapted for Young Adults): First-Person Stories for Today. 2:45 hrs. Listening Library. Oct. 2021. $34. ISBN 9780593415528.
Gr 7 Up–“This is the book I wish I had as a teenager,” disability rights activist Wong reveals, choosing 17 stories for this adaptation from the 37 in her 2020 original. As editor, Wong again reads her introduction. While none could dispute that Wong is a powerful activist, some listeners might be challenged in understanding her speech; having the print version beside would ensure not missing a word. Sarah Ann Masse and ­Anthony ­Michael Lopez take turns with the diverse essays that follow; both read with total ­empathy—Masse is an actor/comedian with invisible disabilities, Lopez is a queer disabled actor. Masse’s standouts include ­ciphering Haben Girma’s joy from replacing her cane with a guide dog—“imagine switching from a bicycle to a Tesla”—in “Guide Dogs Don’t Lead Blind People. We ­Wander as One.” Lopez is especially memorable in Eugene Grant’s “The Fearless Benjamin Lay: ­Activist, Abolitionist, Dwarf Person.” VERDICT ­Empowering for disabled youth, enlightening for all.

Terry Hong was Library Journal’s 2016 ­Reviewer of the Year for Fiction and Audio. Follow her blog, Smithsonian BookDragon, and on Twitter @SIBookDragon.

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