Nonfiction Award

nonfiction award nomineenonfiction finalistnonfiction award

YALSA launched a Teen Book Finder Database, a one-stop shop for finding YALSA's selected lists and award winners.  Search this free resource by award, list name, year, author, genre and more, as well as print customizable lists.  This replaces the individual award and list web pages on YALSA’s site that are not searchable and that are organized only by year.

YALSA's Award for Excellence in Nonfiction honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults (ages 12-18) during a Nov. 1 – Oct. 31 publishing year. The winner is announced annually at the ALA Youth Media Awards, with a shortlist of up to five titles named the first week of December.

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Current Winner & Finalists

Official Nomination Lists

Previous Winners

Policies and Procedures

Committee Contacts


Teen Book Finder App & Database   

2019 Winner 

The Unwanted

The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees written and illustrated by Don Brown and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Unwanted by their own country, unwanted by other countries, Syria’s refugees are between a rock and a hard place. Staying in Syria is far too dangerous – violence is constant and pervasive. Leaving Syria is fraught with peril - crossing the desert, falling victim to con artist smugglers, and fatal journeys by boat.

2019 Finalists

The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor written by Sonia Sotomayor and published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House

A portrait of determination and strength, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor describes her rise from a trying childhood in the South Bronx.  Offering full credit to those who helped along the way, this beloved Justice offers gentle advice for young readers.

Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam written by Elizabeth Partridge and published by Viking Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House

A chronological account of the Vietnam War as experienced at home and in the field, from a wide variety of perspectives.  Stories of eight young soldiers are highlighted by means of personal interviews and thoughtfully chosen photographs.

The Faithful Sky

The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler written and illustrated by John Hendrix and published by Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS

A true and gripping spy story, this graphic biography describes pivotal moments in the career of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whose religious faith led him to devote his life to the German Resistance to Hitler. Visual metaphors in the powerful illustrations convey the looming danger.

Hey Kiddo

Hey, Kiddo:  How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction written and illustrated by Jarrett J. Krosoczka and published by Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic

A raw graphic memoir, author-illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka depicts his complex upbringing - including a search for his father, difficult interactions with his heroin-addicted mother, and day-to-day life with his grandparents. Illustrations–ample in gray, burnt orange, and earth tones–conjure the feeling of vague memories.

Looking for more Nonfiction?  View the list of nominated titles.

2019 Committee


Members of the 2019 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults award committee are: Chair Renee’ C. Lyons, Associate Professor, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee; Anne Dame, School Librarian, Einstein Middle School, Shoreline, Washington; Tamera Di Bartolo, Outreach/Youth Services Coordinator, Rapides Parish Library, Alexandria, Louisiana; Dr. Christina Dorr, School Librarian/Adjunct Professor, Hilliard Weaver Middle School/Kent State University, Columbus, Ohio; Kathy Isaacs, Pasadena, Maryland; Jamie Naylor, Youth Services Librarian, Jacaranda Public Library, Venice, Florida; Sara Ortiz, Program Manager, Believer Magazine, Black Mountain Institute, Las Vegas, Nevada;  Dr. Joan Kindig, Associate Professor, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia; and Maggie Reagan, Booklist Consultant, Chicago, Illinois.



YALSA’s portfolio of book and media awards helps strengthen library services for and with teens by identifying quality, age appropriate resources for librarians and library workersto share with the teens in their communities.


Previous Winners


View a complete list of Nonfiction Award winners and finalists.


2018 Nonfiction Award


2017 Nonfiction Award


2016 Nonfiction Award


2015 Nonfiction Award


2014 Nonfiction Award


2013 Nonfiction Award


2012 Nonfiction Award


2011 Nonfiction Award


2010 Nonfiction Award