someone from the outside might view this as an "easy" task: listen to a bunch of audios and them select a winner. Those of us who have served on this committee know the facts. I served as chair of the 2013 committee. We received hundreds (yes, plural) of audios. Each submission was reviewed by at least 2 listeners. We narrowed from hundreds to dozens and finally to the final 25 or so we would discuss during our final FTF deliberations. From those hundreds emerged THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, the winning title, plus GHOST KNIGHT, ARTEMIS FOWL: THE LAST GUARDIAN, and MONSTROUS BEAUTY as the honor titles.
How did we winnow down the choices? We applied all manner of criteria. Questions we considered included terms like sibilance, plosives, juicy mouth, attributives, and more. There is a definite terminology we use in discussing audiobooks. For some insight into those terms, go here: http://www.audiofilemagazine.com/features/fea1007.html for an audiobook lexicon. Imagine bringing in one of the latest Odyssey winners or an Amazing Audiobook or a Notable Recordings and playing a piece for the kids and then asking them to apply one or two or more of these terms. My BH is becoming adept at things such as sibilance and juicy mouth/dry mouth. He can catch a new recording day immediately. In short, he is now someone who can understand what separates good from great.
Need some more resources? Read Mary's book, AUDIOBOOKS FOR YOUTH (http://www.amazon.com/Audiobooks-Youth-Practical-Guide-Literature/dp/0838911579/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392486567&sr=8-1&keywords=mary+burkey) or Sharon Grover's Listening to Learn (http://www.amazon.com/Listening-Learn-Audiobooks-Supporting-Literacy/dp/0838911072/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392486616&sr=8-1&keywords=sharon+grover). Sharon was a member of the original Odyssey and chaired the committee as well. Mary Burkey also has a regular online column for BOOKLIST called Audiobooker. Here is a link to a recent post: http://audiobooker.booklistonline.com. Be sure to tune in for Freebie Fridays!
Finally, do not miss this chance for FREE (yes FREE FREE FREE) YA audio downloads each summer through Sync: http://www.audiobooksync.com. Each week, a classic and a contemporary title are available for download. Any of your students with smart devices can enjoy 2 books each and every week! Don some Odyssey ears and join in. More posts to come about narrators, lists, and more.