For immediate release | December 18, 2014

2015 Nonfiction 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 2015 Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award, which honors the best nonfiction books written for young adults between Nov. 1, 2013 and Oct. 31, 2014. YALSA will name the 2015 award winner at the Youth Media Awards on Feb. 2, in Chicago during the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting.

The 2015 finalists are:

  • “Laughing at My Nightmare” written by Shane Burcaw, and published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan’s Children’s Publishing Group;
  • “The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion & the Fall of Imperial Russia” written by Candace Fleming, and published by Schwartz & Wade, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books;
  • “Ida M. Tarbell: The Woman Who Challenged Big Business—and Won!” written by Emily Arnold McCully, and Published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers.
  • “The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights” written by Steve Sheinkin, and published by Roaring Brook Press, an imprint of Macmillan’ Children’s Publishing Group;
  • “Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek” written by Maya Van Wagenen, and published by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group.

"This was a particularly strong year for nonfiction, led by the many outstanding books that commemorated anniversaries of significant historical events, memoirs and topics not often written for teens,” said Sharon Rawlins, chair of YALSA’s Excellence in Nonfiction Award committee. “The 2015 Excellence in Nonfiction Award Committee had the enviable but very difficult task of selecting these compellingly written, impeccably researched, and appealingly designed books from among so many other worthy titles. Congratulations to all of the finalists!”

Annotations and more information on the finalists and the award can be found at YALSA sells finalist seals to librarians and publishers to place on books at 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 Feb. 2, McCormick Place Convention Center, room W181.

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 2015 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults award committee are: Chair Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton, New Jersey; Martha Baden, Prescott Public Library, Prescott, Arizona; Sarah I. Flowers, Morgan Hill, California; Heather Gruenthal, Long Beach (California) Unified School District, Perry Lindsey Middle School and Colin Powell Academy; Dr. Janet W. Hilbun, University of North Texas, SLIS, Denton, Texas; Todd Krueger, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, Maryland; Joy E. Millam, Valencia High School, Placentia, California; Brenna Shanks, King County Library System, Issaquah, Washington; Drue Wagner-Mees, Los Angeles Public Library; Award Administrative Assistant Carol K. Phillips, St. Bartholomew School, East Brunswick, New Jersey; and Sarah Hunter, Booklist Consultant, Chicago.

For more information on the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit

For more than 50 years, YALSA has worked to build the capacity of libraries and librarians 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)