For immediate release | February 12, 2018

'Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers' wins 2018 Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award

DENVER — “Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers” written by Deborah Heiligman and published by Godwin Books/Henry Holt, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group has been named the 2018 winner of the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award, the first national award that honors the best nonfiction books for teens. The award was presented today by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits held Feb 9–13, in Denver, Colorado.

“Vincent and Theo” depicts the interdependence of the two Dutch brothers, from their childhood in an austere nineteenth century Dutch parsonage to the Parisian fin de siècle demimonde, as Theo champions and pragmatically supports his brother as he battles the demons of both mental illness and familial expectations.

“Heiligman builds on the brothers’ lifelong correspondence, punctuating Theo’s critical role in Vincent’s creative output and drawing new inferences about biographical insight for Vincent’s paintings,” said YALSA Nonfiction Award Chair, Wendy Stephens.

The YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults (ages 12-18) during a Nov. 1 through Oct. 31 publishing year. Award winners are announced annually during the ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits’ Youth Media Awards. The award will be presented to Deborah Heiligman at a reception in Colorado on Monday, Feb. 12, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Colorado Convention Center.

2018 YALSA Nonfiction Award finalists, which were announced in December, include:

  • “#NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women” edited by Mary Beth Leatherdale and Lisa Charleyboy and published by Annick Press
  • “Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism” written by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos and published by Henry Holt, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
  • “The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives” written by Dashka Slater and published by Farrar Straus Giroux, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
  • “The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found” written by Martin W. Sandler, and published by Candlewick Press

The full list of official nominations for the award will be available online at

Members of the 2018 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults award committee are: Chair Wendy Stephens, assistant professor, Jacksonville (Ala.) State University; Catherine M. Andronik, teacher librarian, Brien McMahon High School, Norwalk, Conn.; Jan Chapman, retired teen services librarian, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Strongsville, Ohio, Shelley M. Diaz, School Library Journal, N.Y.; Sandra Farag, youth material selector, New York Public Library & Brooklyn Public Library, New York; Michael Fleming, librarian, Pacific Cascade Middle School, Issaquah, Wash.; Sarah Okner, youth & school services librarian, Vernon Area Public Library District, Lincolnshire, Ill.; Marney Welmers, retired middle school librarian, Mariana USD, Tucson, Ariz.; and Dorcas Wong, teen services librarian, San Francisco Public Library; Award Administrative Assistant Catherine Sorensen, school librarian, Scarsdale Schools, N.Y. and Julia Smith, Booklist consultant, Chicago.

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 email,

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



Macey Morales

Deputy Director

American Library Association

Public Awareness Office