• New Featured KidLit! •
Get a sneak peek into Shannon Hale’s Audio Book:
“Author Shannon Hale narrates as a full cast enacts the drama of her sixth-grade year in this adaptation of the middle volume of her graphic memoir trilogy. Portraying young Shannon, Mia Jenness evokes excitement, uncertainty, and hurt–painfully and exquisitely–as she picks her way through a friendship minefield.”- AudioFile (Earphones Award Winner)
This program includes captivating sound design, music, and a multicast narration with twelve voice actors including the author, her husband, and her children. It also includes a bonus conversation between the author and her sixth-grade daughters reflecting on their shared experiences.
• An EXCLUSIVE Q & A with Author Shannon Hale! •
Q: Why did you think it was important to publish Best Friends as an audiobook?
A: I am passionate about graphic novels. They are reaching readers that no other books can! But they also exclude some readers. Having an engaging audiobook is a great way to make graphic novels accessible to the blind and vision impaired, as well as other readers who don’t thrive with visual formats.
Q: Do you listen to audiobooks yourself? How did they serve as an inspiration for the production?
A: I almost always have an audiobook I’ve borrowed from the library via the Libby app. I love to read books, but I’m a mom to four kids, so the times I’m free to sit and read are rare. I’m also a visual learner, so listening to audiobooks has been great to help me develop better auditory learning.
Q: What activities do you do when you listen to audiobooks?
A: So much! Laundry, cleaning, driving to pick up kids, going for a walk, doing stretches and floor pilates, grocery shopping.
Q: Tell us about the audiobook bonus conversation with your daughters, and why you thought that was important to be included in the production?
A: That was pure serendipity. When Best Friends first came out, my second child was in sixth grade, so she served as my in-house focus group. When I was working on the audiobook, my youngest—twin daughters—happened to be in sixth grade. I was invited to visit a school in New York City on dates that overlapped with their 12th birthday, so I took them with my on their first ever NYC trip! Macmillan is in the city, so I thought, this is perfect. What if I interviewed my daughters about what it’s like in sixth grade today versus how it was for me? We had a blast. We had to edit down the conversation some because we could talk together for hours.
Q: What was it like to narrate the audiobook? Did anything surprise you about the narration process?
A: The biggest challenge was writing the audiobook script. I had to find ways to retell a visual story in audio, but I also didn’t want to add too much narration so that kids could read along with the graphic novel while listening to the audiobook. To keep from over-narrating, we utilized a lot of sound cues to replace the visuals. It’s more like a radio drama than traditional audiobooks. Narrating was pretty fun. I was in theater growing up, so I leaned into those old muscles. I did learn one important lesson—don’t choose a salad for lunch. My post-lunch session kept getting interrupted by my stomach gurgles. The microphone picks up everything!
About the Book
Follow your heart. Find your people.
Sixth grade is supposed to be perfect. Shannon’s got a sure spot in the in-crowd called The Group, and her best friend is their leader, Jen, the most popular girl in school.
But the rules are always changing, and Shannon has to scramble to keep up. She never knows which TV shows are cool, what songs to listen to, and who she’s allowed to talk to. Who makes these rules, anyway? And does Shannon have to follow them?
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2019
A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book of 2019
A National Public Radio (NPR) Best Book of 2019
One of NBC Today’s 26 Best Kids’ Books of 2019
2020 Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of the Year List
A Macmillan Audio production from Roaring Brook Press.
About Shannon Hale
Shannon Hale is the New York Times best-selling author of over forty books for all ages, including graphic novel memoirs Real Friends, Best Friends, and Friends Forever, and multiple award winners The Goose Girl, Book of a Thousand Days, and Newbery Honor recipient Princess Academy. One of her novels for the adult crowd, Austenland, was made into movie starring Keri Russell. She co-writes books with her husband Dean Hale, like the Eisner-nominated graphic novel Rapunzel’s Revenge, books for DC Comics about young Wonder Woman, and best-selling illustrated chapter book series The Princess in Black. They live with their four children near Salt Lake City, Utah.