In Week 4 of this SYNC season, listeners can take a pair of excursions into history that give context to political realities. Thank you, Post Hypnotic Press and L.A. Theatre Works, for making these brief, powerful, and dynamically narrated audiobooks available to teens. Future leadership and civic engagement is an outcome of informed understanding of the past. In addition, this week’s pair of free audiobooks gives listeners experience with expository nonfiction and with stagecraft. Both experiences can support nascent authors and develop more flexible reading capacities.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF FASCIST LIES by Argentine historian Federico Finchelstein guides listeners through the topic with surprising ease. Golden Voice narrator Edoardo Ballerini demonstrates how a professional performance can give listening readers a leg up by providing appropriate phrasing and emphases to bolster text understanding. While Finchelstein provides an insightful yet accessible text, Ballerini supplies the pacing and tones that make both the explanations and the anecdotes included immediate and compelling. You may not have considered picking up a book, or even an audiobook, about something political like fascism before, so now is your opportunity to try the experience of well-written nonfiction well performed. Be prepared to be surprised by how satisfying such listening can be!
Playwright Ken Narasaki has adapted novelist John Okada’s classic political novel for the full-cast production of NO-NO BOY. Actors Greg Watanabe, Kurt Kanazawa, Emily Kuroda, Joy Osmanski, John Miyasaki, Sharon Omi, Sab Shimono, and Paul Yen perform the post-World War II story of a young Japanese American man who refused to take the loyalty oath pressed upon imprisoned American citizens interned during the war. Returning to his home in Seattle a decade later brings new issues to the forefront as he confronts his fractured family.
Both of Week 4’s free audiobooks are powerful as well as brief. They are especially well suited to high school students who will be enrolled in Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses in social studies and English Language Arts in the coming school year. However, many other teens also will find these listens go far in explaining why political realities require recognition by all of us. Consider discussing one or both with your local book group when everyone has had time to hear them.
Federico Finchelstein photo courtesy of the publisher; Edoardo Ballerini photo courtesy of John Maggiotto; Ken Narasaki photo courtesy of Ken Narasaki; Greg Watanabe, Kurt Kanazawa, Joy Osmanski, and Sharon Omi photos courtesy of the actors.