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Spring 2020

Our collection of more than 2000 expertly told stories touch upon a wide variety of topics and themes. There is undoubtedly something for everyone. Here are some staff favorites, with some thoughts about how they have affected us.  

Squirrels Are Listening

I like this one because it tells a small story and a big story at the same time. I appreciate that it makes good use of sound in telling a fascinating tale about what’s happening in the natural world right under our noses and prompts us to pay close attention to our surroundings. It makes me wonder what else we might learn about connections and communication among living things. I like that it emphasizes the power of positive messages, even for wild animals. 

– Marielle, Director of Curriculum

Moon Landing Anniversary

I love this story because it involves history, the moon, and forgotten figures. It starts with recordings of Neil Armstrong’s famous words from the moon (which never fail to give me goosebumps) and instantly captures my imagination about space travel and their awe-inspiring trip to the moon. We all know the names Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, but Michael Collins was also part of the crew, though he didn’t walk on the moon. Collins’ story reminds me that there are always people behind the scenes during history’s greatest moments who are vital to an event’s success but fade from our collective memory. They all need to be remembered!

– Erica, Customer Success Manager

How  Video Games Become Addictive

Are you playing Pokemon, Overcooked, or Animal Crossing? What makes a video game so fun and  addictive? This is a super fun and engaging story about how video games are designed using behavioral science to ensure that you will want to keep playing. The storyteller, Stacey Vanek Smith, walks the listener through the idea that anything could become addicting…including toast. Listening to this story is fun and very relevant for me, as it ties to my new addiction to playing the game “Overcooked” with a lot of the elements of the “Toast” game described. 

– Chelsea, Senior Marketing Manager

Supreme Court Women

Too little is understood about the daily challenges of being a woman on the Supreme Court. I love this story because it provides primary source accounts from female justices about what daily life entails and the difficult personal and professional choices that must be made in order to execute the job. I appreciate this piece, too, because it forces me to consider how vexing choices are still required for women in this profession despite greater opportunities.

– Adam, Director of Sales

Government Shutdown Sparks Cheesecake Business

I love this story because it showcases something unexpectedly wonderful that came out of a difficult and painful time. The birth of the Furlough Cheesecake reflects the captivating entrepreneurial spirit of two sisters and how truly serendipitous life can sometimes be. On a deeper level, it shares the powerful role that food plays in our families and culture, connecting people through history, ritual, and joy. What Nikki and Jaqi give to the world is not just cheesecake, but slices of human connection and resilience. And who doesn’t love listening to the banter between two sisters? 

– Ashley, Partnership Development and Marketing Associate 

Hearing from a Fake News Creator

The “fake news” term  gets thrown around a lot these days. We hear it so much in relation to people’s opinions about what’s true, that sometimes the serious underlying business of creating fake news is overlooked. This story offers a great inside view of why some people deliberately create fake news to make money. It’s a real eye-opener, sure  to generate meaningful discussion about the need for digital literacy.  

– Karen, Chief Operating Officer

Connecting Through Art at the Border

This story brings me right to El Paso, Texas where people are communicating  across the border through criss-crossing searchlights. It’s an amazing story about the power of art to help people connect. I liked hearing the excitement in the voices of participants, young and old, as they made contact, and I was moved by the ways people found to support and celebrate each other. Upbeat and uplifting!

– Vicki, Curriculum Developer

“Ugly Dogs” Follow the Iditarod Race

I love this story because it combines two of my favorite things in the world–dogs and sports–and also gives the listener an inside look at an iconic sporting event they might not ever think about otherwise. Listening to Blair, the team’s musher, describe all of the training and logistics that go into preparing for the race makes me really appreciate their level of commitment, while also evoking a sense of wonder about this incredible event happening thousands of miles away. I also think the story of how Blair’s fans became known as “Ugly Dogs” is a great example of embracing negative feedback and putting a positive spin on it. 

– Matt, Account Manager

The Dust Bowl and the Great Depression

This was one––  of the first stories I put on the Listenwise platform in 2014.  It’s an incredibly evocative story with great sound and excellent writing with vivid images. It has archival recordings of  people who lived through the Great Depression, and their voices and accents are from another era. But there’s also a clear, informative explanation of why the Great Depression happened. To me, it exemplifies how excellent audio can captivate students and bring them back in history to a place and time and teach them something they won’t soon forget. 

– Monica, Chief Executive Officer

We hope that something in this list piqued your interest. We would love to hear about your favorite stories and why they appeal to you.