acx, Audiobooks, Blog, Iceland, puffins

Puffin Talk

Iceland: The Puffin Explorers Series … Audiobook

A month prior to the national pandemic, I looked into turning my puffin book series into a script for either a play or a little musical. The thought of these books, Puffins Take Flight, Off the Beaten Path, The Land of Fire and Ice, the fun fact book, plus some lesson plans, and a little school/class production was a perfect sales pitch I could give to schools everywhere. Then the pandemic seemed to settle in and it wasn’t going away, and my pitch ideas stayed locked home much like all of us. However, I decided to go forward with the script idea, but as the new school year began already turned upside down, simply getting through a school day was a huge task for teachers and school officials. So, my books and the script sat and sat. That is…until I started audiobook production of my middle grade chapter book Once Upon the Rhine.

Audio Book Cover

While I listened to auditions, the puffin books kept lingering in my thoughts. I have a great little puffin story—it won awards. I thought, what if I could find the perfect narrator to bring these books to life. So, this journey began. I had several good auditions but none that gave me goosebumps like John York’s audition with his reading of Once Upon the Rhine on ACX. I wondered if I was doing the right thing. Then, in a matter of a few days, several great auditions came in and Árni’s story was coming to life. Funny thing was, I’d thought I would prefer a male voice to read the story, but when I heard this special young lady read my script, I teared up. It was so good—no, it was great! Out of the top six, only one was a woman! She pronounced all of my character’s names correctly and even the few Icelandic words I’d left purposely in the audition script. She also wrote a note saying she loved reading for this audition and being able to freshen up on her Icelandic. It’s a treat to hear her pronounce all the Icelandic words in this audiobook! My team decided with no hesitation about who we would ask to narrate the Iceland: The Puffin Explorers Series Audiobook Edition. We would like to introduce you to:

Larissa Thompson!

Larissa is a professional audiobook narrator, voice over artist, and actor. She works from her home studio in Vancouver, B.C. and has multiple projects under her belt and in production. I couldn’t be more thrilled that she decided to audition for my puffin book series! To get to know Larissa, I asked her some questions:

I asked: How do you connect to the characters?

Larissa replied: Being an actor means you have to use your imagination to picture what the characters look like, how they move, and what they’re feeling. Before I say their dialogue, I take a second to think about what they’re feeling and then allow myself to feel those things too. Sometimes I use my memory, or sometimes I imagine myself in the same situation the characters find themselves in. 

What character do you connect with the most?

The main character, Árni, loves to explore and see new things and I admire him so much for that! Exploring new countries and wonders of the world is something I love to do too, so his excitement at finding new places to see and new people to meet is something I deeply connect with. 

What did you think when you saw the title of the book as an audition and what drove you to audition?

I’ve been to Iceland myself, and though I didn’t get to see any puffins on my trip, I fell in love with the beauty of the country and its language! I was incredibly happy to have a chance to use some Icelandic words in the audition. 

What can listeners look forward to with your performance of this audiobook?

I hope that my own love of Iceland and its language shines through in the recording and helps transport you to that wonderful country. I also hope that all the practice I did to pronounce the Icelandic words will be good enough that a native Icelander would think I’ve been speaking the language my entire life. 

Larissa visits Iceland!

Have you been to any of the places in the book?

I’ve been to Reykjavik, seen the Gullfoss, and seen the Geysir spray high into the air! Unfortunately, I was only in Iceland for a couple days so I didn’t get to see all of it, but I will definitely go back to see the Westfjord cliffs now! Maybe I’ll even get to see Árni and Birta as grown up puffins…

How much of the Icelandic language did you learn for your trip to Iceland, or did you learn while in Iceland?

I didn’t learn Icelandic before my trip, but while I was on the plane, I just soaked in the sound of the language. I think it sounds so musical! While I was there, I tried to learn how to pronounce as many words as I could. My favourite was Þingvellir, which is the place where the European and North American tectonic plates meet, as well as where historical Icelanders would have a yearly meeting of all the clans!

How does the audiobook elevate the book?

I think the poetry and rhymes of the book really come to life when read aloud, and bringing my voice to this story and these characters makes me really proud!


These four books are now one. Larissa brings them to life and I couldn’t be happier! RA Anderson

Iceland Travel Book – Author’s favorite!

Fairy TripMother – Where Magical Trips are Booked!

If you plan on getting married in Iceland – I have a whole list of contacts for you!

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