YALSA announces 2022 Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award finalists

For Immediate Release
Thu, 12/16/2021


Michael Serbekian

Communications and Project Coordinator


American Library Association


CHICAGO – The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), selected five books as finalists for the 2022 Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award, which awards the best in nonfiction published for young adults ranging from 12 through ages 18 highlighting excellence in writing, research, presentation, and readability for young adults. 

YALSA will name the 2022 award winner virtually at the Youth Media Awards on Jan. 24, 2022, during the ALA’s virtual LibLearnX: The Library Learning Experience.

The 2022 Excellence in Nonfiction finalists are:

“Ambushed!: The Assassination Plot Against President Garfield,” written by Gail Jarrow and published by Calkins Creek, an imprint of Astra Books for Young Readers. 9781684378142.

“Black Birds in the Sky: The Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre,” written by Brandy Colbert and published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. 9780063056664.

“From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement,” written by Paula Yoo and published by Norton Young Readers, an imprint of W.W. Norton & Company. 9781324002871.

“In the Shadow of the Fallen Towers: The Seconds, Minutes, Hours, Days, Weeks, Months and Years After the 9/11 Attacks,” written and illustrated by Don Brown and published by Etch, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 9780358223573.

“The Woman All Spies Fear: Code Breaker Elizebeth Smith Friedman and Her Hidden Life,” written by Amy Butler Greenfield and published by Random House Studio, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House. 9780593127193.

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 – Oct. 31 publishing year. Award winners are announced annually during the ALA Youth Media Awards.

“The committee’s choices for the finalists should be celebrated for the new and veteran authors who researched and wrote these transformative stories which highlight painful history and marginalized voices,” said Alicia Abdul, chair of the 2022 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults award committee. “Many of the considered titles did this, yet Brown, Colbert, Greenfield, Jarrow, and Yoo’s presentation of the content will deeply resonate with teens. We look forward to sharing them widely because of their broad appeal.”  

The full list of annotations and more information on the finalists and the award can be found on the Nonfiction Award page. Finalist seals are available for purchase by publishers and library staff to place on the finalist titles.

Members of the 2022 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults award committee are: Chair Alicia Abdul, Albany High School, Albany, New York; Ginny Edwards, Leeds Jane Culbreth Library, Leeds, Alabama; Laura Graves Massey, Hewitt-Trussville High School, Trussville, Alabama; Laura Hargrove, Plano Public Library, Plano, Texas; Yolanda Hood, University of Prince Edward Island Robertson Library, Prince Edward Island, Canada; Jeana Menger, Emporia State University School of Library and Information Management, Portland, Oregon; Michael Rogalla, Champaign Public Library, Champaign, Illinois; Janet Weber, Tigard Public Library, Tigard, Oregon; and Rebecca Weber, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma. 

The mission of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is networking, advocacy and professional development. The Young Adult Library Services Association empowers all those involved in the profession to provide equitable, diverse and inclusive teen services. For more information about YALSA or to access national guidelines and other resources go to www.ala.org/yalsa.