Saturday, April 05, 2008

Come to our Odyssey party!

If you’re planning to attend the ALA (American Library Association) conference in Anaheim in June, I’d like to make the following plug for your consideration. As a member of the very first Odyssey committee, I’m especially excited to see this inaugural event. Hope you’ll join us!

This year’s Booklist Books for Youth program in Anaheim will be devoted to the new Odyssey Award, given for excellence in audiobook production. The award will be presented to Arnie Cardillo of Live Oak Media, for his production of Walter Dean Myers’ Jazz, and five honor productions will be recognized. Speakers include Arnie Cardillo, author-audiobook producer Bruce Coville, and celebrated audiobook reader Simon Vance. There will also be plenty of entertaining clips from the winners. The award, selected and administered by a joint committee representing ALSC and YALSA, is sponsored by Booklist. Join the celebration on Friday, June 26, 8-10 p.m.

What’s the poetry connection? You may recall that the winner is JAZZ, a book of poetry! I’ve blogged about Jazz before because I just love that book. You may remember that I wrote about this book previously when it received a Coretta Scott King Illustrator honor citation, was selected as one of the five poetry books nominated for the Cybils Award, and appeared on my very own list of the “Best Poetry for Children in 2006.” Now, the audio adaptation has won the very first Odyssey Award. Clearly, it is a terrific book! As I noted previously, it’s a vibrant picture book poetry collection that is a celebration of jazz music and history and a tribute to New Orleans. The language is vivid and participatory and the art is obviously prize winning—sprawling and expressive. It also includes a helpful “Introduction,” “Glossary of Jazz Terms,” and a “Jazz Time Line.” And the illustrations in Mardi Gras colors of green, golds, and purples just leap off the page, the perfect accompaniment to the lively language.

The audio production is an amazing creation that takes the book even further. It is beautifully narrated by two performers, by James "D-Train" Williams and Vaneese Thomas with the perfect juxtaposition of male and female voices. Their delivery alone is milk and honey, but Live Oak Media commissioned original jazz music as a backdrop for the poetry, too. Incredible! The music takes this lyrical and rousing poetry to a new level. As we wrote in the press release for the announcement, “Original music accompanies each poem's performance, resulting in a rhythmic representation of mood and tone. Separate tracks for the selections and lively inclusion of a glossary and timeline create a dynamic audiobook; part poetry, part nonfiction, and wholly authentic.”

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Unknown said...

Hello there! It has been awhile since I posted on your blog, but here I am! It is so refreshing to read your comments. Congratulations on your membership in the Odyssey committee. I may just have to follow your example from the 1996 Summer Olympics, jump on a plane, and attend the event in Anaheim in June. I have been out of the loop because of learning how to be a teacher/librarian to middle schoolers in Montana. You told me I could do anything if I could teach middle school. I think I can! Your words encourage me daily. JM (your former advisee.)

Sylvia Vardell said...

How fun to touch base with you again, Judy! I was thinking about you the other day-- how hard you worked to participate in our review class, your lovely graduation dinner-- glad to hear you are surviving middle school. Hope to see you at ALA in June! :-)