NAPPA '99: Best Kids' Storytelling/Spoken-Word Albums

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Kids' Storytelling / Spoken-Word Albums

by Vicky Reed

How do you stimulate a child's imagination? One of the best
ways is to let her listen while a master storyteller weaves his art. This
year's storytelling winners will have children laughing and singing along—or
spellbound, waiting to find out what happens next.


Books Are Celebrations, by Mary Jo Maichack. This collection
of clever and engaging songs and poems "celebrates" the joy
of letters, words, books and reading. Two traditional tales and one contemporary
story, each preceded by fiddle music, round out the fun. A perfect purchase
to start your little one on the literacy path. Mary Jo Maichack; $9.95
cassette. (413) 532-3667.

Happy Kwanzaa,
by Synthia Saint James and Bunny Hull. A fabulous
song and an original story present and explain the basic principles of
Kwanzaa. The catchy song will have the whole family singing and dancing
to the chorus after the first few lines. Includes crayons and a coloring
book of the song's lyrics. BrassHeart Music; $10.95 cassette, coloring
book and crayons. (800) 862-7232.

Goose from Morning Till Night,
by Betty Ann Wylie. This charming
mix of familiar nursery rhymes and songs is accented with a few traditional
stories, which encourage participation. Arranged thematically from the
first rays of the sun till the moon lights the sky, this toddler-friendly
CD or cassette will also have fans among the kindergarten crowd. Smooth
Stones Productions; $11 cassette, $15 CD. (404) 355-3951.

Early Elementary

Amber Brown Collection II,
by Dana Lubotsky. Amber Brown, that
spunky fourth-grader, is back in this second collection containing three
unabridged short novels by Paula Danziger. Told from Amber's point of
view, the tales reveal how she is coping with her parents’ divorce in
honest, witty and wise vignettes revolving around her home and school
life. Listening Library; $16.98 (two cassettes). (800) 243-4504.

Little Red & Other Tales,
by LuAnn Adams. Beginning with a perky
rap rendition of "Little Red Riding Hood," LuAnn Adams retells
old stories with a new twist and sprinkles in a few newer ones. She varies

around the globe through stories. Stories For Children; $10 cassette.
(212) 695-3586.

by J.J. Reneaux. Listeners are invited into J.J. Reneaux’s
lively collection of stories and songs with the catchy title song. She
fills the tales with luscious language, and using her warm, smooth voice,
sprinkled with Cajun inflections, treats us to a feast of stories. It’s
a blend of personal Southern summertime, memories, and traditional tales
and songs. Everyone in the family will be charmed by this well-crafted
and perfectly paced collection. August House; $12 cassette. (800)

Upper Elementary

Anansi Time, by Bobby Norfolk. Six traditional African
stories featuring Anansi the Spider will delight the ears of listeners
of all ages. Bobby Norfolk is a vocal wizard, changing tempo, pitch, tone
and volume in the character voices and sound effects. Plus, these trickster
tales contain valuable messages about sharing, hospitality, teamwork and
cleverness. August House; $12 cassette. (800) 284-8784.

by Katherine Dines. These traditional "scary" stories
and songs will be a surefire hit with kids. The collection lives up to
its subtitle, Tunes and Tales to Chill Your Bones and Warm Your Spirits.
A perfect choice for sleepovers, when the kids want a few shivers up their
spines as they snuggle in their sleeping bags. The booklet included with
the CD contains song lyrics and story texts. HUNK•Ta•BUNK•Ta
Music; $9.95 cassette, $14.95 CD. (800) BUY-MYCD (289-6923) or (303) 298-7122.

& Spoon,
by Kevin Henkes. Shimmering like sunlight reflected off
a polished spoon, this is an unabridged audio version of Kevin Henkes’
humorous and touching novel about a 10 year old and his family who are

dealing with loss. As Spoon grapples with his grief, he searches for that
one special thing that will keep his beloved grandmother's memory alive
forever. Listening Library; $16.98 (two cassettes). (800) 243-4504.


Challah and Latkes: Stories for Shabbat and Hanukkah, by
Cindy Rivka Marshall. A lovingly crafted selection of stories for Shabbat
and Hanukkah. Cindy Rivka Marshall weaves a rich tapestry of images with
her warm voice and beautiful words. This uplifting collection is perfect
for the whole family to enjoy during evening storytime or to listen to
in the car while traveling to family gatherings. Dancing Tree Productions;
$10 cassette, plus $1.50 shipping and handling. (617) 244-9953.

Kids By Kids: Poems & Wannabees,
by the Re-Bops and friends.
This one’s not just for kids, but fun for the whole family, preschool
to adult. This tape will encourage families to play with language and
write their own poems, songs and rhymes. It might even prompt creations
to be recorded on tape to send to grandparents or loved ones far away.
Re-Bop Records; $9.98 cassette, $13.98 CD. (800) OKREBOP (657-3267).

Golden Compass,
by Philip Pullman. A stunning story of Lyra, a
clever young girl, her changeable little animal "daemon" protector,
evil kidnappers and armored polar bears. This multilayered, thrilling,
action-packed fantasy will have children over 10, young adults and adults
on the edge of their seats as the plot twists and turns. It contains more
than 10 hours of listening pleasure, narrated by author Philip Pullman,
with a full cast of actors that is nothing short of brilliant. Listening
Library; $59.98 (eight cassettes). (800) 243-4504.

Click on a category below for reviews
of the 1999 NAPPA Gold Award Winners

| Toys


'99 Intro

Honors Award

The National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) program
began in 1990 as a consumer awards program for children's media, including
books, toys, music, videos, software, and storytelling/spoken word. Expert
judges within each category review and select the best submissions to receive
recognition as either Gold or Honors Award winners. Winners are announced
annually prior to the holiday season.

Vicky Reed, M.A., is Media Services Specialist for the San Diego County
Office of Education. She is active in The Storytellers of San Diego, and
has coordinated Storytelling and Children's Literature courses for 12
years for the Department of Continuing Education at the University of
San Diego. This is her third year as NAPPA storytelling/spoken-word judge.