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Download Brooklyn Bridge Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Brooklyn Bridge Audiobook, by Karen Hesse Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (385 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Karen Hesse, Chris Sheban Narrator: Fred Berman Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2008 ISBN: 9781427205476
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On that day in 1903, fourteen-year-old Joseph Michtom's life changed irrevocably when his parents—Russian immigrants—created the first teddy bear. No longer did the Michtom's gather family and friends around the kitchen table to talk. No longer was Joseph at leisure to play stickball with the guys. No longer were Joseph and his book-loving sister free from watching their pesky two-year-old brother. Now—when it was summer vacation and more than anything Joseph wanted to experience the thrill, the grandeur, the electricity of Coney Island—Joseph worked. And complained. And fell in and out of love. And argued. And hoped that everything would go back to how it used to be. All the while no one let him forget that he was lucky.

Because—"There are other children. The unwanted, the forgotten, the lost ones. They gather under the bridge each night to sit, to talk, to sleep. They know, they know, they know that to everyone beyond the bridge they are invisible. . . ." These are the children who live under the bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge.

Newbery medalist Karen Hesse masterfully entwines Joseph's coming-of-age tale (and that of his big, colorful family) with the heartbreaking stories of the children under the bridge. Riveting historical fiction that is by turns accessible and ornate, very real but with a touch of magical realism. Hesse's extraordinary new novel is an insightful reminder that a life—fragile and precious—can change in a moment.

Brooklyn Bridge is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Berman narrates with abundant energy and a deep Brooklyn accent that helps engage listeners.... his ability to create and sustain the myriad of colorful characters is both impressive and entertaining. Booklist
  • Despite the brevity of the novel, the listener becomes acquainted with the entire Michtom clan, their neighbors and the cultural climate of 1903 Brooklyn. And none of this would have been possible were it not for the marvelous reading of Fred Berman. SoundLibrary.com
  • “[Fred Berman's] strong Brooklyn accent and use of Yiddish inflection take listeners directly to the time and place. Berman beautifully captures 14-year-old Joseph's electric excitement to participate in the life of the city around him... A great choice for family listening. AudioFile , Winner of an Earphones Award

  • Fred Berman's narration is as authentic as the story. Listeners are transported to Brooklyn, into the homes, streets, and trolley cars, with fully voiced and accented characters brought totally alive.... The two layers of the story are vocally distinct in their telling, allowing listeners to shift seamlessly between the experiences.... A compelling listen. School Library Journal
  • Inspired by facts surrounding the inventors of the teddy bear, Newbery Medalist Hesse applies her gift for narrative voice to this memorable story set in 1903 Brooklyn.... Deftly paced story lines about Joe's extended family indirectly raise questions about different types of bridges: those from the old country to America, those that cross generations, those that link the unlikeliest individuals. Not until the final chapters does Hesse produce the connection between Joseph and the street children with their ghost, and then the novel explodes with dark drama before its eerie but moving resolution. Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
  • In this tale of Dickensian contrasts in kindness and cruelty, Brooklyn comes alive with the details of time and place, but it is the shadow of pain and transcendence cast symbolically by the bridge that haunts and compels. Another work of enduring excellence from Hesse. Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
  • The narrative includes tightly interwoven elements of multiple genres--adventure, romance, comedy, ghost story, and family drama--without ever compromising the authenticity of the plot or the characters. Horn Book Magazine
  • This intimate novel, written in stanza form, poetically conveys the heat, dust and wind of Oklahoma. With each meticulously arranged entry Hesse paints a vivid picture of her heroine's emotions. Publishers Weekly, starred review for OUT OF THE DUST
  • What Copeland created with music, and Hopper created with paint, Hesse deftly and unerringly creates with words: the iconography of Americana, carefully researched, beautifully written, and profoundly honest. Kirkus Reviews, starred review for WITNESS
  • Deep, literary, and soulful, Ms. Hesse once again holds us in her spell as she reconstructs the past at an intense time in United States history. . . . The tapestry of plot and subplot is woven with brilliant craftsmanship. Children's Literature for A LIGHT IN THE STORM: THE CIVIL WAR DIARY OF AMELIA MARTIN
  • Sparkling with humor, poignancy and adventure. . . . Hesse's impeccable research buttresses the narrative with a wealth of detail. . . . an author's note and extensive glossary round out this compelling volume. Publishers Weekly, starred review for STOWAWAY

  • Winner of Sydney Taylor Award, 2009
  • Among longlisted titles for ALSC Notable Children's Recordings, 2009
  • Among longlisted titles for Library Media Editor's Choice
  • Among longlisted titles for Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year, 2009
  • Among longlisted titles for AudioFile Best Audiobooks, 2008

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 2/14/2014

    " Joseph Michtom's family lives in Brooklyn in 1903. Joseph's father has a newly expanding business - stuffed bears inspired by then President Teddy Roosevelt. Memorable characters and setting. Good, but not Hesse's best. I enjoy reading stories set in old NYC, so I liked it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather | 1/31/2014

    " Beautifully written, but a bit slow. I'm not sure who I could give it to. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 1/26/2014

    " Two individual stories finally converge at the end of this book, giving the reader an "aha!" moment. The book takes place in early-20th century Brooklyn. The plot revolves around a Jewish family that used to run a candy store but due to the father's bright flash of an idea, have started a new business. He saw a picture of President Theodore Roosevelt holding a bear cub, and he got the idea to create and sell "Teddy bears." The business has suddenly outgrown the upstairs apartment, and pieces of bears are everywhere, much to the consternation of 14-year-old Joseph. The warmth of the family and the neighbors on the street provide a strong base for an outstanding story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katrina | 1/22/2014

    " Superb! Hesse is a master storyteller and this book is no exception. (And, as it was a listen-read for me, the narrator was superb too.) I loved every minute of it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Claire | 1/12/2014

    " Set in the Jewish section of Brooklyn during Teddy Roosevelt's presidency Karen Hesse describes a family that blends with the neighborhood selling candy and stuffed animals in their shop. One fateful day Father sees Teddy's picture with a bear and has Mama make a stuffed bear. They know they have a winner when the baby will not let go of the Teddy Bear. The family's sudden success alarms the neighbors. Complex family relationships, neighborhood conflicts and a mysterious community of orphans under the bridge swirl through this well written tale. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jodysegal | 1/11/2014

    " Brooklyn Bridge got off to a slow start and I wanted to abandon the novel altogether when Hesse introduced her first sketches of the lives of children living under the Brooklyn Bridge- complete with resident ghost, but I am glad I stuck with the book. An old-fashioned, surprisingly rich picture of the lives of Jewish immigrants in New York City at the start of the twentieth century comes to life in this historical novel built around the real creators of the Teddy Bear. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cheryl in CC NV | 1/10/2014

    " Hesse shares another masterful historical fiction, with a little bit of mystery and a little bit of a ghost story stirred into the mix. Summer 1903 in Brooklyn & Coney Island. Not every immigrant was shoestring poor: some were more poor than that, and some had troubles money couldn't fix. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erin | 1/10/2014

    " I have seen this on some Best of 2008 lists, so I thought I would check it out. Not so impressed. The characters seemed shallow and the story underdeveloped. Not the worst book I have read by far, but not what I would consider the best either. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 melissa1lbr | 1/8/2014

    " Beautiful weaving of stories together. Hopeful and heartbreaking. Review on my blog soon. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maggi Idzikowski | 11/30/2013

    " Dark and intense -- very Hesse. So evocative of turn of the century Brooklyn; I felt like I was there! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lindahawkes | 11/19/2013

    " I think this book is a little too graphic for under 12's. THere is a little girl that cuts herself. There is child abuse. This book is narrated 2 stories at time that converge at the end. One about the Brooklyn area history and the other about homeless kids living under the bridge. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate | 11/5/2013

    " Five star read. Narrated by 12 year old Joseph, son of Russian immigrants living in Brooklyn in 1903. Hesse fictionalizes a story of Joseph's parents, the real creators of the very first Teddy bear. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Francesca | 11/2/2013

    " this book is good so far and there are some creepy parts but i luv it :) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Megan | 2/22/2013

    " I don't think this will have wide appeal to students unless they have a particular interest in this time period. It's alternating narrative styles may confuse weaker readers. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bookchick | 2/6/2013

    " Not Hesse's best. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 JoBeth | 6/15/2012

    " Karen Hesse is one of my favorite YA writers, and this book is one of her best. It seems to capture (what do I know??) Brooklyn in 1903 from a young boy's perspective. The parallel story, told effectively in ghostly snippets throughout the book, tells of children living under the bridge. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sunday | 4/15/2012

    " Great Brooklyn accent by reader. Bought a hard copy because it is so well written. ALSC notable recording book 2009. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Talia | 4/14/2012

    " Karen Hesse knows her historical fiction! This is a very well-written book full of tragedy, sorrow, wonder, and realness, with all of the pieces coming together in the end, but the story is pretty boring until about halfway through. Also, this book is probably best suited for a Teen audience. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diane | 3/1/2012

    " An engaging read (middle school) of upwardly mobile Russian immigrant family life juxtaposed against the homeless kids calling the Brooklyn Bridge overpass home. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon Skinner | 9/4/2011

    " Informative, enjoyable, surprising. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vicki | 8/25/2011

    " in 1903 Joseph would like to go to Coney Island, but his family has recently created the "Teddy" bear and all hands are needed to produce the much in demand item. A great story of immigrants and their struggle to survive. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heloyce | 7/5/2011

    " Fun to read. I love stories with twists and turns and lovely surprises. This had all of them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol | 5/9/2011

    " Russian immigrants in NYC, 1903, vivid setting, a sense of community, likable characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dina | 5/3/2011

    " Beautifully written book about history and family. Loved how everything came together in the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lindahawkes | 4/1/2011

    " I think this book is a little too graphic for under 12's. THere is a little girl that cuts herself. There is child abuse. This book is narrated 2 stories at time that converge at the end. One about the Brooklyn area history and the other about homeless kids living under the bridge. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Judith | 3/30/2011

    " Hesse is a good solid writer. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, will add to our collection. Good supplement to our Holocaust for background info.
    Has several layers. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sunday | 3/20/2011

    " Great Brooklyn accent by reader. Bought a hard copy because it is so well written. ALSC notable recording book 2009.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diane | 9/4/2010

    " An engaging read (middle school) of upwardly mobile Russian immigrant family life juxtaposed against the homeless kids calling the Brooklyn Bridge overpass home. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy | 8/8/2010

    " Strange story. The teddy bear angle makes it different. Good family feelings but then the children under the bridge... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bonnie | 7/23/2010

    " The story of a boy whose parents are Russian immigrants living in Brooklyn. Very compelling, and gives a good description of and contrast between the well-off and the poor orphans who live under Brooklyn Bridge. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leslie | 4/2/2010

    " I'm at a point in my life where I really love it when a teenager takes a look at him/herself and finds out they need an attitude adjustment--even when it isn't about to happen at my house. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cheryl in CC NV | 3/26/2010

    " Hesse shares another masterful historical fiction, with a little bit of mystery and a little bit of a ghost story stirred into the mix. Summer 1903 in Brooklyn & Coney Island. Not every immigrant was shoestring poor: some were more poor than that, and some had troubles money couldn't fix. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vikki | 3/11/2010

    " Juvenile book. When teddy bears were made. Good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kaarin | 3/8/2010

    " I loved this story. It has a strong sense of time, place and characters. I appreciate the themes of "luck," generosity and letting go, as well as the goodness and compassion found in Joseph's family. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Holly | 2/19/2010

    " 1903 Brooklyn. The intertwined stories of the Michtoms, a Jewish Russian immigrant family told through the eyes of the 14 year old son, and a group of homeless children living under the Brooklyn Bridge. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 rachelle | 11/29/2009

    " My one complaint is that the main character's true inner conflict was revealed too late in the book and then felt rushed through. Mostly this was a nicely written nice story about some nice people. Would make a good read-aloud. "

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About the Author
Author Karen Hesse

Karen Hesse is the author of some fifteen books for children, and was recently awarded a prestigious MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant” for her contribution to literature for children and young adults. Her many novels have garnered considerable success, including the Sydney Taylor Award, the IRA/YA Award, 5 Notable Books for Children, 4 Best Books for Young Adults, and the Newberry Medal. Hesse has spent many years promoting her books to the school market, and is well-known in classrooms throughout the country. She and her husband, Randy, live in Brattleboro, Vermont.

About the Narrator

Fred Berman has won numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards for his audiobook narration and is the recipient of the 2013 Audie Award for narration in Spy the Lie. He is a theater, film, and television actor, whose credits include Broadway’s The Lion King, Law & Order, and Directing Eddie, among others. He was featured in Entertainment Weekly for his work on the Walking Dead audiobook series.