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From page to audio: Bernadette Dunne shares her journey (A Flashback Post)

Since today we are talking with an audio book narrator, Mike Paine, I thought I would do a Flashback post and rerun this post with Bernadette Dunne, the narrator of Son by Lois Lowry.  More than 1 point of view helps us develop more insight into the creation of an audio book.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Having had the honor of narrating a couple of Lois Lowry audiobooks, I have found this to be true: If you let your mind drift into thoughts about Lois Lowry’s writing, be prepared to lose track of time. To think about the characters and events in SON, to get lost in the eloquence of that story, is to begin a rumination on the very nature of the human experience. What is our true purpose? What is an individual? How do we define a spiritually satisfying life? SON is not merely an engrossing story but may also provide readers with a jumping off point for some of the biggest, most complex questions that life will present. And while I imagine the YA category is probably a perfect place to introduce these questions and spiritual themes, I found them to be fully resonant at my own (slightly, barely, hardly noticeable) more advanced age, as well. 

So how does a narrator approach the performance of a book like this one? For starters, it’s an awesome and intimidating responsibility, but the good news for the narrator is that with a book like SON the narrator can trust that the material is, itself, plenty compelling. Rather than a narration that adds a lot of dramatic huffing and puffing and actor-esque flourishes,  you want to fully support the story momentum but try to keep the approach clean, spare, simple and true. The story’s the thing. Particularly with Lois Lowry material, the narrator wants to almost become transparent, so the beauty of the sentences really gets heard.  

-Bernadette Dunne

AND for those of you who fall in love with audiobook narrators like I do, here is a link for more from Bernadette Dunne! Hear more from award-winning narrator Bernadette Dunne .  Thanks again to Bernadette and to Books on Tape for connecting TLT with Ms. Dunne!

This statement originally appeared at the begnning of this post which was first published on October 11, 2012: Thanks to all of you who participated in our celebration of The Giver quartet here on Teen Librarian’s Toolbox.  A special thank you to the amazing teams at both Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Books on Tape/Listening Library for an excellent giveaway and for helping to promote our tribute.  

This is my favorite picture of Stephanie. She did it herself. She rocks.

 Many times, we hear from an author and during this tribute, we were excited to hear from Lois Lowry and then I found out that Bernadette Dunne, the narrator for the SON audiobook, wanted to send in a little something about her experience recording the audio.  We are super excited to host Bernadette’s post and I hope you all enjoy!


  1. I have had the pleasure of reading many audiobooks narrated by Bernadette Dunne and can say that she is fabulous! One of my favorites.

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