Children should be heard

CHILDREN SHOULD BE SEEN AND NOT HEARD

What is in the voice of a child? Is it innocence, honesty, hope? Playfulness, a sense of wonder, an openness to learning? What happens to that voice when the child is met with disappointment? How does the voice change as realities unfurl, as dreams are squandered, as adult intentions become clear, as the bright shield of youth begins to dull and thin, scrubbed away by the grit of circumstance?

When a child experiences trauma, how do we react? Perhaps, we feel guilty. We look away. Turn it off. Make it stop—for us, at least.

While fictional, these spot-on interpretations of kids' internal narratives challenge our resolve by illuminating the incorrigible strength of the littlest hearts. Have your tissues handy.

x Rachael Xerri, Audible Editor

Kivlighan de Montebello made his film debut in Runoff and has since starred in A Scientist's Guide to Living and Dying as well as multiple short films, including Eat, Ink, and Last. Kivlighan also performed in a French opera at Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Hear a sample of Only Child by Rhiannon Navin, narrated by Kivlighan de Montebello.
    • Bastard Out of Carolina

    • By: Dorothy Allison
    • Narrated by: Elizabeth Evans
    • Length: 11 hrs and 13 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 792
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 728
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 732

    A modern literary classic, now available in a 20th anniversary edition with a new afterword by the author....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Brutal, Heartbreaking & Believable

    • By DL on 12-01-12
    • By: Dorothy Allison
    • Narrated by: Elizabeth Evans
    • Length: 11 hrs and 13 mins
    • Release date: 11-13-12
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 792 ratings
    • Born out of wedlock to a single mother, tenacious Ruth Anne Boatwright, known simply as Bone, is the sole target of her stepfather, Daddy Glenn’s vicious abuse. In this tragic tale set in rural Greenville County, South Carolina, Bone’s only weakness is her circumstance, and a mother who makes an unimaginable choice—over, and over. Written by Dorothy Allison, Bastard out of Carolina has been the topic of banned book lists and public condemnation. In this expert performance, Elizabeth Evans ensures that Bone’s story—and others like hers—endures.
    • Little Bee

    • A Novel
    • By: Chris Cleave
    • Narrated by: Anne Flosnik
    • Length: 10 hrs and 41 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 276
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 249
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 244

    Little Bee, the young female refugee from the Nigerian delta, must master the Queen's English and the Queen's England if she is to escape her past and make a life in the UK....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Little Bee

    • By debbie ortiz on 08-05-16
    • A Novel
    • By: Chris Cleave
    • Narrated by: Anne Flosnik
    • Length: 10 hrs and 41 mins
    • Release date: 05-03-16
    • 4 out of 5 stars 276 ratings
    • Little Bee is a teenage Nigerian girl who has seen too much, first in war, then in the two years she spent in a refugee center in the UK. When she is finally released from holding under dubious legal circumstances, she seeks help from a British magazine editor, Sarah, who she once met on a beach in her native country. On the day that Little Bee shows up on Sarah’s doorstep, Sarah is seeking her own release from grief, following the recent death of her four-year-old son. This is a story about the global experience of grief, and is especially relevant in today’s climate.
    • In the Shadow of the Banyan

    • A Novel
    • By: Vaddey Ratner
    • Narrated by: Greta Lee
    • Length: 13 hrs and 19 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 408
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 349
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 349

    For seven-year-old Raami, the end of childhood begins with the footsteps of her father returning home in the early dawn hours bringing details of the civil war that has overwhelmed the streets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital....

    • 3 out of 5 stars
    • A Terrible Tale from A Beautiful Storywriter

    • By Mel on 08-23-12
    • A Novel
    • By: Vaddey Ratner
    • Narrated by: Greta Lee
    • Length: 13 hrs and 19 mins
    • Release date: 08-07-12
    • 4 out of 5 stars 408 ratings
    • Well-to-do seven-year-old Raami’s life is upended the night civil war erupted in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh in 1974. Following that fateful night, Raami’s family is violently separated and forced to spend four years of hard labor in the infamous Khmer Rouge Cambodian Killing Fields. Her only solace is the lasting comfort of her father’s poetry and storytelling. Hauntingly performed by Greta Lee, this semi-autobiographical story offers an innocent lens to the brutality of humankind.
    • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

    • By: John Boyne
    • Narrated by: Michael Maloney
    • Length: 4 hrs and 57 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,617
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,301
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,300

    The story of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is very difficult to describe....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Phenomenal! 5 stars is nowhere near enough.

    • By Simone on 02-23-17
    • By: John Boyne
    • Narrated by: Michael Maloney
    • Length: 4 hrs and 57 mins
    • Release date: 09-20-06
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 1,617 ratings
    • Nine-year-old Bruno, performed by the utterly convincing Michael Maloney, is a curious child trying to understand the world around him. The adults in his life, the conversations they hear, and the mysterious boy in the striped pajamas. To preserve the naïve perspective, that is all there is to give away about this expertly crafted narrative by John Boyne.
    • Everything in This Country Must

    • A Novella and Two Stories
    • By: Colum McCann
    • Narrated by: Clodagh Bowyer, Paul Nugent, Sean Gormley
    • Length: 3 hrs and 29 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 12
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 11
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 11

    In a daring tour de force, Colum McCann takes on the most intractable of conflicts: the Troubles in Northern Ireland....

    • A Novella and Two Stories
    • By: Colum McCann
    • Narrated by: Clodagh Bowyer, Paul Nugent, Sean Gormley
    • Length: 3 hrs and 29 mins
    • Release date: 02-06-11
    • 4 out of 5 stars 12 ratings
    • In this novella and two short stories, Collum McCann shines a light on three Northern Irish youth struggling to come of age between the spaces of personal belief, family, and politics. Each narrator, Clodagh Bowyer, Paul Nugent, and Sean Gormley, delivers a compelling performance of McCann’s lyrical prose.
    • Orphan Train

    • A Novel
    • By: Christina Baker Kline
    • Narrated by: Jessica Almasy, Suzanne Toren
    • Length: 8 hrs and 21 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 19,386
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 17,288
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 17,299

    Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to "aging out" out of the foster care system. A community-service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Moving story of sharing and transformation.

    • By Kathi on 04-03-13
    • A Novel
    • By: Christina Baker Kline
    • Narrated by: Jessica Almasy, Suzanne Toren
    • Length: 8 hrs and 21 mins
    • Release date: 04-02-13
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 19,386 ratings
    • Seventeen-year-old Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is about to “age out” of the foster care system. Still very much in need of guidance but wanting to avoid trouble, Molly takes on the position of caregiver to 91-year-old Vivian. As events unfold, Molly realizes that she has more in common with the elderly woman she’s working for than she thinks—Vivian had entered the foster care system in the 1920s at the age of nine when she boarded the “Orphan Train” carrying immigrant children to the Midwest where their fates were uncertain. Narrated by Jessica Almasy, Suzanne Toren, Molly and Vivian’s stories run parallel until they converge in an unlikely friendship, their courage and strength crossing generation and circumstance.
    • This Dark Road to Mercy

    • A Novel
    • By: Wiley Cash
    • Narrated by: Jenna Lamia, Erik Bergmann, Scott Sowers
    • Length: 7 hrs and 53 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 237
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 214
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 215

    Resonant new novel This Dark Road to Mercy is a tale of love and atonement, blood and vengeance, a story that involves two young sisters, a wayward father, and an enemy determined to see him pay for his sins....

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • Easter offers chance at redemption; but no spark

    • By W Perry Hall on 01-31-14
    • A Novel
    • By: Wiley Cash
    • Narrated by: Jenna Lamia, Erik Bergmann, Scott Sowers
    • Length: 7 hrs and 53 mins
    • Release date: 01-28-14
    • 4 out of 5 stars 237 ratings
    • Wiley Cash’s distinctively southern tale follows twelve-year-old Easter Quillby and her six-year-old sister, Ruby as they enter the foster care system in the Appalachian town of in Gastonia, North Carolina. Placed into the home of their court-appointed caretaker Brady Weller, life begins to normalize for the grieving siblings dealing with the recent death of their mother. But when the kids’ father, Wade, unexpectedly turns up and takes Easter and Ruby from their room, Brady finds himself thrown into more than he was bargaining for, and Easter and Ruby have to put their emotions on hold in order to survive. Jenna Lamia, Erik Bergmann, and Scott Sowers perform the three distinct perspectives of innocent Easter, good willed Brady, and the hit man on the hunt for Brady, Robert Pruitt, to deliver one unique story about trust, love, and family.
    • Room

    • A Novel
    • By: Emma Donoghue
    • Narrated by: Michal Friedman, Ellen Archer, Robert Petkoff, and others
    • Length: 10 hrs and 45 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 9,219
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 6,268
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 6,239

    To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world....

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • Brought Room and the outside world to Life

    • By Daryl on 07-09-14
    • A Novel
    • By: Emma Donoghue
    • Narrated by: Michal Friedman, Ellen Archer, Robert Petkoff, Suzanne Toren
    • Length: 10 hrs and 45 mins
    • Release date: 09-13-10
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 9,219 ratings
    • Five-year-old Jack has never known a world outside of Room. Room is his world. He lives there with his Ma, and spends nights when Old Nicks visits tucked into a closet. Though Ma has done everything in her power to create a life for Jack inside of Room, she knows it is not enough and formulates a plan for escape. Told through Jack’s eyes, we learn of the power of a mother’s love, and the strength of a child’s trust.
    • The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet

    • By: Reif Larsen
    • Narrated by: Christopher Gebauer
    • Length: 15 hrs and 12 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 25
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 23
    • Story
      3.5 out of 5 stars 24

    A boundary-leaping debut tracing a gifted young map maker’s attempt to understand the ways of the world....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • INSIDE A CREATIVE MIND

    • By Amazon Customer on 01-23-18
    • By: Reif Larsen
    • Narrated by: Christopher Gebauer
    • Length: 15 hrs and 12 mins
    • Release date: 10-10-14
    • 4 out of 5 stars 25 ratings
    • Twelve-year-old T.S. Spivet is a genius cartographer, but his gift for mapmaking often comes at a price. Seldom understood by those around him, he struggles to make friends. To make matters worse, T.S. is still mourning the recent death of his brother, finding it difficult to make sense of his loss in a mind that finds connections in everything else around him. When T.S. is awarded the prestigious Baird Award by the Smithsonian, T.S. embarks on a wild journey cross-country, setting events in motion that will alter the way he sees the world.
    • I'm Not Scared

    • By: Niccolò Ammaniti
    • Narrated by: Dennis Olsen
    • Length: 5 hrs and 6 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 10
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 9
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 9

    A widely acclaimed international best seller, I'm Not Scared combines a coming-of-age narrative with a satisfying and spine-tingling story of suspense....

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • transported to southern Italy

    • By Kelly on 08-05-18
    • By: Niccolò Ammaniti
    • Narrated by: Dennis Olsen
    • Length: 5 hrs and 6 mins
    • Release date: 11-15-17
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 10 ratings
    • Nine-year-old Michele Amitrano is just an energetic kid living in a tiny village in Southern Italy surviving a heatwave when he makes a shocking discovery. What’s to follow is a thrilling story of family secrets, deceit, and the loss of a childhood. Niccolò Ammaniti doesn’t shy away from placing our unfortunate protagonist in tough decisions, and though told by the hearty voice of Dennis Olsen, Michele’s innocence propels this compelling listen.
    • The Secret Life of Bees

    • By: Sue Monk Kidd
    • Narrated by: Jenna Lamia
    • Length: 9 hrs and 54 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 4,185
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 3,446
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 3,436

    When Lily's fierce-hearted "stand-in mother", Rosaleen, insults three of the town's fiercest racists, Lily decides they should both escape to Tiburon, South Carolina....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Awesome narrator

    • By Joey on 05-17-10
    • By: Sue Monk Kidd
    • Narrated by: Jenna Lamia
    • Length: 9 hrs and 54 mins
    • Release date: 03-30-09
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4,185 ratings
    • Sue Monk Kidd's debut novel set in 1964 in the segregated South follows Lilly Owens, a fourteen-year-old girl who witnessed her mother’s death and has to deal with a neglectful and abusive father known only as T. Ray. When her “stand in mother” Rosaleen insults three of the town’s most prominent racists, Lilly and Rosaleen escape to Tiburon, South Carolina where Lilly learns secrets about bees, the Black Madonna, and her mother. Performed by the talented Jenna Lamia, The Secret Life of Bees is a story that will stick with you like honey.
    • Life of Pi

    • By: Yann Martel
    • Narrated by: Vikas Adam
    • Length: 12 hrs and 53 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 451
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 415
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 412

    Life of Pi is at once a realistic, rousing adventure and a meta-tale of survival that explores the redemptive power of storytelling and the transformative nature of fiction....

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Outstanding narrator

    • By V. Spain on 03-16-18
    • By: Yann Martel
    • Narrated by: Vikas Adam
    • Length: 12 hrs and 53 mins
    • Release date: 02-27-18
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 451 ratings
    • The son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel, is an unusual sixteen-year-old who practices Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity, much to his parents chagrin. When Pi’s family boards a Japanese cargo ship headed from India to North America, Pi was not prepared for what was about to unfold. The ship sinks, ultimately leaving Pi alone on a lifeboat with Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. When the unlikely duo reach Japan, Richard Parker runs away into the forest, leaving Pi to explain to authorities the true story of what happened. Life of Pi is a story about survival, loss, and faith. As always, Vikas Adams delivers a flawless performance.
    • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

    • By: Betty Smith
    • Narrated by: Kate Burton
    • Length: 14 hrs and 55 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 4,571
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 3,705
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 3,694

    A moving coming-of-age story set in the 1900s, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn follows the lives of 11-year-old Francie Nolan....

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • Book: flawless. SKIP THE RECORDED INTRO!!

    • By Wild Wise Woman on 09-04-11
    • By: Betty Smith
    • Narrated by: Kate Burton
    • Length: 14 hrs and 55 mins
    • Release date: 12-26-04
    • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4,571 ratings
    • This list would not be complete without Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Eleven-year-old Francie Nolan is a child of Irish immigrants growing up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn at the turn of the twentieth century. Living in poverty, Francie and her siblings are spend their days looking for scrap metal to sell for pennies, all while their lovable-but-incapable father, Johnny, battles alcohol addiction and their mother, Katie, overworks herself as a cleaner, just to keep food on the table. Matters decline when Francie’s father dies leaving her mother pregnant, and without a plan. Kate Burton’s tear-jerking performance of Francie will leave you counting your blessings, every day.