Anybody Shining

4 CDs. 4:30 hrs. Recorded Bks. 2014. $46.75. ISBN 9781490640754. Playaway, digital download.
RedReviewStarGr 5–7—All 12-year-old Arie Mae Sparks wants is one true friend. Life in the hill country of North Carolina in the 1920s is hard. Money is tight; education, food, and clothing are all limited; and folks are pretty isolated. She begins to reach out by writing letters to a cousin she's never met who lives far away in Baltimore. After her third letter goes unanswered, she's feeling pretty low, but soon after, she meets Tom, a boy who has come from the city with a group of people interested in studying mountain folk ways. While many of these summer visitors look down on Arie Mae and her kin, Tom becomes her friend. She'll do anything to keep his friendship, including finding him a bear and a ghost. Told through the letters she continues to write, this work is superbly narrated by Suzy Jackson, whose pacing, accent, and inflection are spot-on.
VERDICT This is a spellbinding audio, one suitable for class listening when studying history or social studies as well as a genuinely enjoyable story.

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