For immediate release | December 2, 2015

2016 Nonfiction Award finalists announced

CHICAGO — The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), selected five books as finalists for the 2016 Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award, which honors the best nonfiction books written for young adults between Nov. 1, 2014 and Oct. 31, 2015. YALSA will name the 2016 award winner at the Youth Media Awards on Jan. 11, in Boston during the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting.

The 2016 finalists are:

  • “Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir” written by Margarita Engle, and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing;
  • “First Flight Around the World: The Adventures of the American Fliers Who Won the Race” written by Tim Grove, and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS;
  • “Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War” written by Steve Sheinkin, and published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan’s Children’s Publishing Group;
  • “Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad” written by M.T. Anderson, and published by Candlewick Press;
  • “This Strange Wilderness: The Life and Art of John James Audubon” written by Nancy Plain, and published by University of Nebraska Press

“This year brought a wealth of solid nonfiction that appeals to young adults, from memoirs and biographies, to historical achievements and events, to young readers’ editions,” shared Gregory Lum, chair of YALSA’s 2016 Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults committee. “I am very proud of the committee’s professionalism and expertise as we read, vetted, and discussed many, many outstanding books with excellent narratives, outstanding presentations, detailed sources notes, and diverse primary source documents. Congratulations to the five finalists!”

Annotations and more information on the finalists and the award can be found on the Nonfiction Award page. Publishers and library staff can purchase finalist seals to place on the finalist titles at For more information on the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit

YALSA will host a reception honoring the finalists and the winner, as well as YALSA’s Morris Award finalists and winner, from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Jan. 11, Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, room 205BC. See a full list of YALSA’s events and programs at Midwinter on YALSA’s Midwinter wiki page. 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 workers to share with the teens in their communities.

Members of the 2016 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults award committee are: Chair Gregory D. Lum, library director, Jesuit High School and instructor, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon; Jerene D. Battisti, King County (Washington) Library System; Dr. Annette Y. Goldsmith, lecturer, University of Washington iSchool; and librarian, Sephardic Temple of Los Angeles; Dr. Heidi K. Hammond, St Catherine University MLIS Program, Saint Paul, Minnesota; Kathie L. Meizner, Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Libraries; Kelly C. Metzger, Kickemuit Middle School, Warren, R.I.; Barbara Moon, library consultant, Corpus Christi, Texas; Jessica Lorentz Smith, Bend (Oregon) Senior High School; David Wang, Queens (N.Y.) Library, and Julia Smith, Booklist consultant, Chicago.

For more than 50 years, YALSA has worked to build the capacity of libraries and library staff to engage, serve and empower teens. For more information about YALSA or to access national guidelines and other resources go to, or contact the YALSA office by phone, (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390, or e-mail,


Nichole O'Connor

Program Officer

Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)