The Armchair Audies 2013: Middle Grade (Children’s for ages 8-12)


March 4, 2013 by Heidi

Armchair AudiesLast year, Jennifer at The Literate Housewife started a fantastic event for those of us audio-bibliophiles out there: The Armchair Audies.  Each year, the Audies Awards recognize distinction in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment in a variety of categories.  Like most awards, us readers like to predict the winners…but that can be hard to do with nearly 150 nominees overall and only a couple of months to listen.  The Armchair Audies provides participants with the opportunity to listen and review the nominees for one (or more) categories and make predictions as to which will secure the win.

Last year I enjoyed reading predictions from The Readventurer, and this year when the call for participants went out, I jumped on board!  Initially, I signed up to listen to the Teen category…however, there were 5 of us that did so, and the nominations went like this:

Inheritance by Christopher PaoliniThe Fault In Our Stars by John GreenEnchanted by Alethea Kontis
The Diviners by Libba BrayDodger by Terry Pratchett

Now as much as I genuinely want to read Enchanted and Dodger (and after seeing their nominations, likely will soonish), I’ve already read both The Fault In Our Stars and The Diviners.  I really enjoyed both of them, but I don’t particularly have the desire to reread either (first reads were in print).  Then there’s the fact that I cannot stand Christopher Paolini.  I’ve tried to read his work so many times, and never make it far–I just can’t stand the writing.  So needless to say, listening to the 4th book in a series I found impossible to get into wasn’t appealing.  All of this added up to me jumping ship!

I debated heavily between going for the Children’s for ages 8-12 (or Middle Grade as it’s better known around these parts) or fantasy categories.  And while some of the fantasy nominees sound awesome to me (again–I’ll likely be listening to them–and CONGRATS to All Men of Genius which was my absolute favorite read of 2011), it boiled down to a time factor.  The fantasy category had six books, which is more than the five in most categories, and as fantasy tends to be long I added up the play time to 99 hours and 28 minutes of listening, whereas the Middle Grade will only require a 38 hour 47 minute commitment–much more feasible for me!  Here’s what I’ll be listening to and reviewing over the next couple of months in order to make my educated prediction for the Audies:

Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela VaswaniSplendors and Glooms by Laura Amy SchlitzWonder by R.J. Palacio
The Freedom Maze by Delia ShermanThe Cheshire Cheese Cat by Carmen Agra Deedy and Randall Wright

Of course, I’ve already read Splendors and Glooms, but I don’t mind listening to this one as a reread since it was one of my absolute favorite reads of 2012!  I’ve really been wanting to read The Freedom Maze and Wonder, and the other two sound wonderful as well…how will I choose?!

If you’re an avid audiobook listener, you can check out all of the nominations for the Audies here (I’m also totally crushing on the Solo Narration–Female category which my lovely friends over at The Readventurer are taking on this year).  It’s not too late to participate if you’d like to take part in the Armchair Audies!  Please check out the blog and Facebook page to join in or just follow along, and of course check back here over the next couple of months as I review these titles and maybe some from the other categories that strike my fancy.


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  1. Awww, what a fun event! Wonder is amazing, and I’m so glad you’ll get to enjoy it! I hope they went all out for the audio.

    Also, I need to read Splendors and Glooms because I know April loved it as well, so I probably will too.

    I got to go to the Audie Awards last year, and it was a lot of fun. (I got a hug from Neil Gaiman…winning!)

    • Heidi says:

      Yes! I’m actually really glad now that I waited to pick Wonder up so that I can enjoy it for the Audies. And YES–Splendors and Glooms is positively wonderful. And um…heck yeah winning! I think if I got a hug from Neil Gaiman I’d have to frame my outfit in an airtight container…I’d love to attend the Audies!

  2. Ooh, I’ve been wanting to read Wonder for a really long time! I can’t wait to see what you think of it! I have a couple of audiobooks I’m trying to get into, simply because then I can join events like this next year without worrying about hating another audio. It seems like a ton of fun, so I can’t wait to see what you make of these novels! Great picks, Heidi! 😀

    • Heidi says:

      Me too! I’m glad I held off on Wonder though, because now I get to listen to it for this–and I LOVE MG books on audio. I really hope you find a niche of auidobooks that you enjoy–for some people it’s a certain narrator or genre. I think that MG books are my favorite on audio, but I’ll listen to just about anything. 😛

  3. I am so glad to have you with us this year. I look forward to your reviews and predictions.

    Last year I had to reread The Marriage Plot for the Armchair Audies because I’d first read it in print. Luckily I loved the novel and ended up loving the audio as well. It was my prediction, even though it didn’t ultimately win. Sometimes that can work out – as long as you don’t not like the narrator. :)

    • Heidi says:

      Thanks, Jennifer! So happy to be taking part (hey, it’ll get me to actually REVIEW the audios I listen to, which was a big goal of mine this year). I’m actually looking forward to rereading Splendors and Glooms since I loved it so much, and it’s been at least six months since I read it! We’ll see though, I’m actually not familiar with any of my narrators for this year.

  4. Oh Heidi, you are in for such a treat with The Freedom Maze. I listened to it and pawned it off to Catie, who loved it as well. The author worked on it for something like a decade and it all feels very historically accurate. (mostly just straight historical fiction with one time jump back to the 1860s)I really loved Wonder in print though I know a lot of people found it to be too sappy/unbelievable. I totally look forward to your reviews of all of these. And holy cow on the 99 hours bit. I haven’t added up our category’s hours but your 38 hours sounds totally doable. I think we have one or two 12+ discers so I have no clue how long it will take. Meh:-/

    • Heidi says:

      Yay! I’m so glad to hear that you and Catie read The Freedom Maze via audio–I’ve heard only amazing things, but I think every review I read was for the print edition. I’ve really wanted to read it for some time now, so this was too fortuitous to pass up. The fantasy category is probably the worst length-wise (at least one of the books is over 20 hours alone). I think 12 discers are usually around 15 hours, which I’d say is really about average for an adult book–not too bad. :)

  5. VeganYANerds says:

    I am so glad I gave audio books a go last year and have already listened to 4 so far this year. I love the idea of these awards, I’m going to check out the blog.

    And I can totally understand not wanting to listen to a book by an author who you know you don’t like, listening to that would seem like torture!

    • Heidi says:

      Me too, Mandee! I get so excited every time someone discovers the joy of audio books. I didn’t realize before I started blogging how lucky I was to be raised listening to them as a family. I think the Audio nominations are a fantastic place to look for quality audio books in any genre you might be interested in. And yeah, I probably wouldn’t have made it through Inheritance, so it felt a bit unfair axing one of the noms out before even starting.

  6. I was so tempted to choose the MG category again this year. The selection is awesome, and I loved Wonder the book. Splendors and Glooms is another one I’m going to pick up to listen to anyway- glad to hear it’s a favorite of yours.

    I’m so intimidated by the Paolini book. I checked it out from the library and it’s 24 CDs! And I haven’t listened to any of the other books in the series- oh no!

    Really looking forward to your reviews. Happy listening, Heidi!

    • Heidi says:

      OMG–I had no idea the Paolini book was so long! Good luck, it’s really intimidating picking up the 4th book in a series…I really didn’t have it in me to do the prior ones (but obviously he’s hugely popular, so hopefully you enjoy!) I love MG on audio, and the selections ARE fantastic. As stated, I’ll likely be listening to Enchanted and Dodger even though I decided not to do Teen.

  7. 99 HOURS! You definitely made the right choice. I was a total audiobook newbie last year but I really like them, especially when I have a long drive. Do you cheat though and start reading? With good books, I find that I can’t wait so I usually end up starting audiobooks and finishing paper/ebooks. I’m so curious about Wonder. Maybe I’ll give that the old audiobook try. I’m very excited to hear about the other books as well.

    • Heidi says:

      I’m so glad you decided you like audiobooks! I actually DON’T cheat and start reading. The only time I’ll do this is if I decide I don’t like the narrator but I do like the story, I’ll ditch the audio for print. There have been certain books that I’ve avoided for a 1st read on audio because I know I won’t have the patience (Kristin Cashore). I should finish Wonder tomorrow…I have a lot of issues with it, but I can also see why so many people adore it, and the audio IS excellent.

  8. […] may know I’m participating in this year’s Armchiar Audies as a judge for the Children’s Age 8-12 category.  Here’s the […]

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