Spotlight on Author/Narrator Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie's War Dances recently won the PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction. Alexie is not only an excellent writer, but also an accomplished narrator. He narrated the unabridged audiobook of War Dances and also won the 2009 Odyssey Award for his narration of National Book Award Winner The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

In celebration of his recent award, we are offering a download of excerpts from The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian as well as accompanying lesson plans.

AUDIO: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, narrated by Sherman Alexie
Listen online (To download, right click above link and ‘save as.’)

LESSON PLANS: Summary, Activities, Quizzes, and Answer Key in an RB TG. Right click link and ‘save as’ to download PDF.

To enter to win a copy of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian on CD, follow us on Twitter and look for contest details!


Take Your Students Through the Looking-Glass

White Rabbit AnnouncementWith the recent widely-anticipated box office release of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, we think it’s the perfect time to introduce students to Lewis Carroll’s classics. Burton’s movie is a continuation of Carroll’s tale that takes place when Alice is transitioning into adulthood. Read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass—both available unabridged from Recorded Books—to get the background story on the real Alice (not just the one in the Disney® movie!).

Use the excerpts and lesson plans below to introduce students to this classic text while covering important strategies and standards. For use with Grade 6 and up. To download files, right click and ‘save as.’

AUDIO: Jabberwocky, narrated by John McDonough
Listen online (To download, right click above link and ‘save as.’)

Jabberwocky: Students will learn about poetry and portmanteau.
The Walrus and the Carpenter: Students will analyze a poem using background information.

Have you discussed Alice in Wonderland with your students? Students who enjoy Carroll’s work may also enjoy Victorian authors like Oscar Wilde. Share what you’re doing in your own classroom!

You can also follow the Lewis Carrol Society of America on twitter: @AliceAmerica.

Happy Holidays!

We hope you’re all enjoying a much-deserved break from the classroom for a while. Here are a few links to check out while you’re lounging on the couch drinking hot cocoa (or frantically working on lesson plans for January!).

  • Help Santa stuff teachers’ stockings with audiobooks and get a free download in our holiday game from last year.
  • Check out our lesson plans and audio excerpts for Strider, written by teacher Laurie Stone. (This links to Part 2 – click the link in that post to get to Part 1 of the lessons).
  • Free lesson plans and audio for Bridge to Terabithia. Part 1 and Part 2
  • A coworker tipped me off to this one. A Christmas Carol, as shortened by Dickens himself for an 1868 reading. (We also offer the complete, unabridged audio narrated by audiobook legend Frank Muller.)
  • Check out the Alan Sitomer BookJam! Join in the discussion with Alan himself at the BookJam Ning, check out the main website at, or take the BookJam Tour.
  • Check out the extensive resources section at the BookJam website. It might just get the wheels turning for some exciting January plans!
  • Are you a fan of Janet Allen? Check out the Plugged-in blog for Dr. Janet Allen’s Plugged-in to Reading.
  • Join other educators at the Plugged-in Educators’ Ning and get the latest info on the Plugged-in Workshop—dates recently announced!
  • Check out some public domain audiobooks at Librivox. These are audio recordings done by amateur volunteers of public domain texts. Lots of cool archaic stuff to be had, plus all the public domain classics.
  • Follow us on twitter! Recorded Books K-12, Plugged-in, and The BookJam are all on twitter. Follow, say hello, and I promise to return the favor. You’ll get advance notice of any freebies we offer or contests we have, plus audiobook and education news and an inside track to RB!

Happy Thanksgiving!

We here at Recorded Books are thankful for all of our wonderful customers, and to say thanks we’re offering a free audio excerpt from The Adventurous Life of Myles Standish and accompanying lesson plans. Click here for information on how to download the audio and lesson plans.

Two other excellent suggestions for Thanksgiving reading are The Thanksgiving Beast Feast by Karen Gray Ruelle or Molly’s Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen.

FREE Audio and Lesson Plans from Mailbox Magazine

PITNF-mailbox magazine

We’re excited to be sponsoring the latest edition of The Mailbox e-newsletter. Featured in the newsletter are activities and free audiobook excerpt downloads for three books from Recorded Books-published Dr. Janet Allen’s Plugged-in to Nonfiction Grades 4-5, Horrible Science: Angry Animals, Abraham Lincoln: The Life of America’s Sixteenth President, and On the Halfpipe with…Tony Hawk.

Let us know if you use the audio and activities in your classroom or share your favorite activities using these titles. Don’t forget to sign up to receive future issues of the Mailbox e-newsletter—it’s a great resource for teacher freebies!

VIEW the newsletter to download excerpts and view lesson ideas!

Free Audio for Halloween!

Frankenstein is back, wishing you a Happy Halloween from Recorded Books! In case you missed it, AudioFile Magazine has a free download of several Edgar Allen Poe stories. You must download before October 31, 2009.

You can also check out the free audio downloads and lesson plans we offered last year for a few spooky stories: Dracula vs Grampa at the Monster Truck Spectacular, The Story of Ichabod Crane, and Frankenstein.

eprepAnd don’t forget that there’s still time to enter our ePrep giveaway! Tell us (on that post, not this one!) why your school needs SAT/ACT prep and you can win 25 seats in this great new test prep and data analytics program.


Win an Audiobook to Cure Your Back to School Blues

Contest close. Congratulations to winner Nikki Coates! Stay tuned for next month’s contest.It’s September—and that means it’s back to school for students and teachers all over the country! Sure, summer is over, but we’ve got a giveaway to help you beat the blues!

dearmrhenshaw-thumbWe’re giving away a copy of Newbery Medal Winner Dear Mr. Henshaw to one lucky teacher or librarian. Leigh Botts is inspired by the author of his favorite book when the two begin writing letters back and forth. It begins with a school project, but Leigh ends up using his correspondence with Mr. Henshaw—and the diary Mr. Henshaw encouraged him to keep—as a way to work through the challenges he faces during the school year. Leave a comment on this post telling who inspired you—a teacher you had as a child, an author or celebrity, or a parent of friend—and how. We’ll randomly pick one commenter to win a copy of Dear Mr. Henshaw on CD. See the end of this post for complete rules. Don’t forget than an RB Teacher’s Guide is available for this title for only $1.25!

Dear Mr. Henshaw, I wasn’t going to answer any more of your questions, but Mom won’t get the TV repaired because she says it was rotting my brain. This is Thanksgiving vacation and I am so bored I decided to answer a couple of your rotten questions with my rotten brain. (Joke.) Your pooped reader, Leigh Botts” —from Dear Mr. Henshaw

When Leigh Botts was in the second grade, he wrote a thank you letter to Boyd Henshaw, the author of his favorite book, Ways to Amuse a Dog. In the 6th grade, Leigh writes to Mr. Henshaw again with a list of questions he needs answered for a class assignment on authors. To Leigh’s irritation, Mr. Henshaw not only refuses to answer his questions in time to complete the assignment, but he sends back a list of his own questions to Leigh instead. That marks the beginnings of a very unusual correspondence, between a lonely boy trying to cope with his parents’ divorce, and a wise author who gives him a means of changing his life forever.

strider-miniAlso be sure to check out our audio samples and free lesson plans for Strider (lessons and audio Part 1 and Part 2), the sequel to Dear Mr. Henshaw. The lesson plans were written by Laurie McGrath, Instructional Resource Teacher at Park Hall Elementary. Laurie’s plans outline each day’s activities for a complete 2-week course on the book and align with the Maryland Voluntary State Curriculum.


  • Leave a comment below (be sure to enter a valid email address, or we won’t be able to contact you if you win!) sharing a story about someone who inspired you and how they inspired you or why they were such an inspiration.
  • Tweet (we’re @recordedbooks) or blog about the contest and you can leave a second comment linking to your tweet or post—you’ll get another contest entry. Spread the word!
  • Again, be sure you leave a valid email address with your comment so we can contact you. If you’re picked as a winner and we can’t contact you, the prize will got to the next winner. (You don’t need to re-nter your address within the body of the comment, though. Just be sure it’s in the form when you leave your comment.)
  • Comments will be assigned a number (first commenter is #1, second is #2, etc). Winners will be picked by according to comment number.
  • Drawing will be held on September 11, 2009 at 12:00PM Eastern time. Winners will be contacted by email to get mailing information. The winner will receive one copy the following title on CD: Dear Mr. Henshaw.
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