Genre-Defining Voices: Kids & Young Adult


Julia Whelan

Julia Whelan's youthful voice is an obvious asset in the YA genre, but what truly sets her performances apart is her ability to encapsulate the emotions of the teenage experience. She can convey heartbreak, build suspense, and exude angst in a way that reflects the true age and mindset of the central characters.

Kirby Heyborne

The same quality of Kirby Heyborne's voice ("aw, shucks, who me?") that made him the ideal sinisterly bumbling Nick in Gone Girl, is actually what makes him one of the very best voices in YA and kids narration today. In roles like Jackson in Crenshaw and Finch in All the Bright Places, Heyborne consistently delivers inherent sweetness mixed with a tinge of self-awareness that serves to locate him so perfectly in those transitional moments of youth. His characters are always full of naivety, but with a sense of the grim reality of adulthood peeking just over their shoulders.

Emma Galvin

Emma Galvin's innocent, yet assured voice makes her young adult characters shine. She has a special knack for portraying strong young heroines - a staple in the genre. With each and every performance, she pulls us back into the wonder and anguish of adolescence.

Sarah Drew

Fans of Grey's Anatomy already know Sarah Drew as Dr. April Kepner, but she's also one of the very best narrators at portraying the teenage psyche. As the voice behind Lauren Oliver's best-selling books, including the Delirium series, she can deliver total naiveté, utter savviness, dreamy-eyed enthusiasm, and even contempt. Drew has the uncanny ability to create with her voice that side-eyed, judgmental, invisible force field that smacks you in the face you when you walk into a room full of teenagers.

Kate Rudd

Like many, we first discovered Kate Rudd via her performance of the best seller The Fault in Our Stars, Her exuberant performances capture the full range of extreme teenage emotions - from jealousy to betrayal to outright grief. And when it comes to snark, she's unsurpassed.


Jim Dale

In a recent interview with Jim Dale, he told us he doesn't "talk down" to children - and that philosophy shows in each and every one of his performances. His tone can be gentle without being condescending; grave without being too frightening. It's a delicate balance to make a book both understandable to children and enjoyable to adults, but Jim makes it seem effortless. And his character work is unmatched.

Cassandra Morris

Cassandra Morris is one of those kids' narrators who is capable of an innocent voice that's as sweet as can be - without ever venturing into the realm of cloying. Her performances in the Ivy and Bean series are downright delightful, making her as enjoyable for adults as she is for kids.

Katherine Kellgren

Katherine Kellgren’s talent lends itself to many different genres, but it’s her innate whimsy and ability to portray sheer delight through her voice that makes her the ideal narrator of children’s book. She is also expert at taking on multiple characters – from English maids to talking cats to orphans - and making each distinct, interesting, and special. Katherine Kellgren is force of nature and a true performer who brings drama, excitement, and humor into every book she narrates.

Johnny Heller

From the N.E.R.D.S series to the Baseball Card Adventures, Johnny Heller exudes boyish charm, despite his mature voice. His charming performances channel the childhood experience of storytime with a beloved teacher or librarian.

More Kids & Young Adult Narrators to Discover: