2010 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award Nominations

The following books are vetted nominations for the

2010 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award. Seals for nonfiction nominees are available in the ALA Store and may be purchased in bulk. Click
YALSA's Award Seals webpage for more information.

Abrams, Dennis.
Rachael Ray: Food Entrepreneur. Chelsea House. 2009. 978-1-6041-3078-2. $30.

Rachael Ray came from a modest background to achieve fame through hard work, drive, and a true love of her subject: food!

Agard, John.
The Young Inferno. Frances Lincoln Children's Books. 2009. 978-1-8450-7769-3. $19.95.

With Aesop as his guide, a hoodie-clad teen hero glimpses human failure during his journeys through the Circles of Hell, in this twenty-first century twist on Dante’s vision.

Allen, Thomas B. and Allen, Roger MacBride.

Mr. Lincoln's High-Tech War. National Geographic. 2008. 978-1-4263-0379-1. $18.95.

President Lincoln became the first truly modern president by using the newest technology available during the Civil War: the telegraph, the submarine, and the repeating rifle.

Alsenas, Linas.
Gay America: Struggle for Equality. Abrams/Amulet. 2008. 978-0-8109-9487-4. $24.95.

This kaleidoscopic history details the personal life and public movements surrounding the desire of Americans to have the freedom to love and be sexual with persons of the same sex, stretching from the nineteenth century to the present.

Batten, Jack.
The War to End All Wars: The Story of World War I. Tundra. 2009. 978-0-8877-6879-8. $22.95.

The catastrophe that was the First World War is vividly depicted in this history of the major events and people involved, ranging from the Kaiser of Germany to young soldiers in the Canadian Army.

Bausum, Ann.
Denied, Detained, Deported: Stories from the Dark Side of American Immigration. 2009. National Geographic. 2009. 978-1-4263-0332-6. $21.95.

Is the U.S. really a land of welcome? This book explores the problems encountered by immigrants who were not allowed in to the country or were deported, through the stories of Chinese, Jews, Japanese, and others who met this fate.

Benson, Michael.

A Solar System Voyage. Abrams. 2009. 978-0-8109-8322-9. $19.95.

A stunning photographic tour traces our changing understanding of the solar system and how that understanding has been altered by the numerous space probes that were launched to discover whether life could exist out there—somewhere.

Bernier-Grand, Carmen T.
Diego: Bigger Than Life. Marshall Cavendish. 2009. 978-0-7614-5383-3. $18.99.

A sparse and lyrical free-verse biography of the intriguing Mexican artist Diego Rivera is enhanced by magnificent illustrations by David Diaz.

Butzer, C. M.
Gettysburg: The Graphic Novel. HarperCollins/Bowen. 2009. 978-0-0615-6176-4. $16.99.

The momentous events at Gettysburg and their aftermath are told through the words of the participants and pictures of the battle, followed by the images evoked by Lincoln’s own address at the memorial service following the battle.

Calcines, Eduardo F.
Leaving Glorytown: One Boy's Struggle under Castro. Farrar. 2009. 978-0-3743-4394-1. $16.95.

In this coming-of-age autobiography, Calcines portrays the grim reality of his family’s life in Cuba, from the Bay of Pigs invasion to their journey to the U.S. a decade later.

Carlson, Laurie.
Harry Houdini for Kids: His Life and Adventures with 21 Magic Tricks and Illusions. Chicago Review. 2009. 978-1-5565-2782-1. $16.95.

A man of mystery and magic, Ehrich Weisz, a.k.a Harry Houdini, grows from performer of clever card tricks to master escape artist in his rags-to-riches rise as an American pop culture hero. Accompanying how-to tricks and illusions bring the magic alive.

Chaikin, Andrew and Kohl, Victoria.
Mission Control, This is Apollo: The Story of the First Voyages to the Moon. Viking. 2009. 978-0-6700-1156-8. $23.99.

The Apollo 11 moon landing was just one piece of this larger and more complex story, presented with pictures, paintings, and behind-the-scenes information from a nonfiction writer and an actual Apollo astronaut.

Dubosarsky, Ursula.
The Word Snoop. Dial. 2009. 978-0-8037-3406-7. $16.99.

Dubosarsky takes readers on a lively tour through the peculiarities of the English language, from the alphabet of 4000 B.C. to present-day texting.

Fleming, Candace.
The Great and Only Barnum: The Tremendous, Stupendous Life of Showman P. T. Barnum. Random/Schwartz & Wade. 2009. 978-0-3758-4197-2. $18.99. *Finalist title.

Thrill to the hucksterism! Gasp at the audacity! Come one, come all to the jaw-dropping, larger-than-life biography of expert humbugger, relentless curiosity seeker, and unparalleled showman P. T. Barnum.

Gorrell, Gena K.
Say What? The Weird and Mysterious Journey of the English Language. Tundra. 2009. 978-0-8877-6878-1. $10.95.

This guide to the evolution of the English language through thousands of years of history helps explain word origins, strange pronunciations, and grammatical puzzles.

Hampton, Wilborn.
Babe Ruth. Viking. 2009. 978-0-6700-6305-5. $16.99.

From the Babe’s early years in a Catholic home for troubled boys, to his often notorious personal life, this biography from the Up Close series offers a full picture of one of the greatest players in baseball history.

Heiligman, Deborah.
Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith. Holt. 2009. 978-0-8050-8721-5. $18.95. *Winning title.

After creating a list of pros and cons of marriage, science-minded Charles Darwin chooses to marry his strictly religious first cousin. Little does he know that he is about to embark upon the most loving, creative, and intellectually important relationship of his life.

Hoose, Phillip.
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice. Farrar/Melanie Kroupa. 2009. 978-0-3743-1322-7. $19.95. *Finalist title.

Hoose recounts the largely untold story of Claudette Colvin, who was arrested and jailed at the age of 15 after refusing to relinquish her seat on a bus to a white woman. Interviews with Colvin create a vivid picture not only of the Montgomery bus boycott but also the Browder v. Gayle case, in which she was a key defendant.

Hopper, Jessica.
The Girls' Guide to Rocking: How to Start a Band, Books Gigs, and Get Rolling to Rock Stardom. Workman. 2009. 978-0-7611-5141-8. $13.95.

This hip, in-depth guide—written by someone who has been there—covers everything a teen needs to know but is embarrassed to ask, from buying and caring for equipment and writing songs to making a recording and going on tour.

Jurmain, Suzanne.

The Secret of the Yellow Death: A True Story of Medical Sleuthing. Houghton. 2009. 978-0-6189-6581-6. $19.

At the turn of the century, doctors across the Americas knew all too well the lethal curse of Yellow Fever. In this true saga, four heroic Americans and one Cuban doctor put themselves in grave danger to find the source of the deadly disease.

Kaufman, Michael T.
1968. Roaring Brook Press/Flash Point. 2009. 978-1-5964-3428-8. $22.95.

A pivotal year of assassinations, uprisings, defiance, and triumph—from the Tet Offensive to the first glimpse of earth from Apollo 8—is unfolded month by month through the eyes of a reporter who was there.

Madden, Kerry.
Harper Lee. Viking. 2009. 978-0-6700-1095-0. $16.99.

The author’s love for her topic is clear in this heartfelt entry in the Up Close series. Harper Lee's life contains much that will appeal to teen readers, including her friendship with Truman Capote, her move to New York City against the wishes of her family, the storm of publicity that followed the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird, and her decision to live outside the limelight.

Marrin, Albert.

Years of Dust: The Story of the Dust Bowl. Dutton. 2009. 978-0-5254-2077-4. $22.99.

Marrin begins with the ecology and history of the Great Plains, illuminates the Depression and Dust Bowl years, and then clarifies not only the human mistakes that made conditions ideal for the disaster, but also the continuing threat those same mistakes create today in parts of the world.

Martin, Russell and Nibley, Lydia.

The Mysteries of Beethoven's Hair. Charlesbridge. 2009. 978-1-5709-1714-1. $15.95.

Readers follow a snippet of the musical genius’ hair through World War II and the forensic tests that eventually provide the explanation for his deafness, outbursts, and various illnesses.

Metselaar, Menno and Van der Rol, Ruud.
Anne Frank: Her Life in Words and Pictures from the Archives of the Anne Frank House. Roaring Brook. 2009. 978-1-5964-3546-9. $19.99.

Numerous pictures as well as information about Anne’s life provide for hours of browsing and fascinating reading of not only the Frank family but of the history of World War II.

Murphy, Jim.
Truce: The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting. Scholastic. 2009. 978-0-5451-3049-3. $19.99.

The differences that fueled the devastation of World War I in Europe are set aside on the battlefield as both German and Allied soldiers join to sing carols, play soccer, exchange gifts, and defy authority to celebrate their common humanity during a Christmas truce.

Nelson, Marilyn.
Sweethearts of Rhythm: The Story of the Greatest All-Girl Swing Band in the World. Dial. 2009. 978-0-8037-3187-5. $21.99.

Early 1940s history comes to life though the harmonious “voices” of the instruments in the international Sweethearts of Rhythm band and the evocative illustrations by Jerry Pinkney.

Noyes, Deborah.

Encyclopedia of the End: Mysterious Death in Fact, Fancy, Folklore, and More. Houghton. 2008. 978-0-6188-2362-8. $25.00.

An encyclopedic feast of the people, places, events and practices surrounding death, including rituals and ceremonies as well as the more macabre aspects concerning what happens after death, both literally and spiritually.

O'Brien, Anne Sibley and O'Brien, Perry Edmond.

After Gandhi: One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Resistance. Charlesbridge. 2009. 978-1-5808-9129-5. $24.95.

The words and actions of Gandhi begin this tour through a century of acts of resistance displayed by such peacemakers as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., Aung San Suu Kyi, Wangari Maathi, and many others.

Osborne, Linda Barrett.

Traveling the Freedom Road: From Slavery and the Civil War through Reconstruction. Abrams. 2009. 978-0-8109-8338-0. $24.95.

African American life from pre–Civil War through Reconstruction is vividly portrayed through a plethora of primary sources and visual artifacts, published in association with the Library of Congress.

Partridge, Elizabeth.
Marching For Freedom: Walk Together, Children, and Don't You Grow Weary. Viking. 2009. 978-0-6700-1189-6. $19.99.

Children stirred by the racial injustices they and their parents face in 1964–1965 Selma, Alabama, become powerful forces in the events that lead to a civil rights milestone: the March to Montgomery.

Pollan, Michael and Chevat, Richie.

The Omnivore's Dilemma: The Secrets behind What You Eat. Dial. 2009. 978-0-8037-3415-9. $17.99.

What’s for dinner? You may rethink your answer after finishing this young reader’s edition of the popular adult book following one omnivore through the industrial food chain and back.

Raczka, Bob.
The Vermeer Interviews: Conversations with Seven Works of Art. Millbrook. 2009. 978-0-8225-9402-4. $25.26.

Seven of Johannes Vermeer's paintings are viewed and analyzed in a unique interview format, producing fascinating details of both historical and artistic context.

Reef, Catherine.
Ernest Hemingway: A Writer's Life. Clarion. 2009. 978-0-6189-8705-4. $20.

A chronological account of the incredible life of this author and journalist, who witnessed and participated in some of the most iconic historical moments of the twentieth century.

Rubin, Susan.
The Anne Frank Case: Simon Wiesenthal's Search for the Truth. Holiday. 2009. 978-0-8234-2109-1. $18.95.

When a group of teenagers disrupt a performance of
The Diary of Anne Frank, Simon Wiesenthal begins a five-year search for the Gestapo who arrested Anne and her family.

Sandler, Martin W.
The Secret Subway: The Fascinating Tale of an Amazing Feat of Engineering. National Geographic. 2009. 978-1-4263-0462-0. $17.95.

Who knew there was a nineteenth-century "subway" beneath the streets of New York City? Inventor, publisher, and a man of his century Alfred Beach took an idea for building underground transport and made it a reality—only to have it lost to time.

Smithson, Ryan.

Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-year-old GI. Collins. 2009. 978-0-0616-6468-7. $16.99.

Smithson shares his experiences in boot camp and in EQ Platoon during his 2003–2004 tour of duty in Iraq. His thoughtful voyage out of innocence is inspiring.

St. George, Judith.

The Duel: The Parallel Lives of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Viking. 2009. 978-0-6700-1124-7. $16.99.

Two prestigious Americans who fought and politicked during and after the American Revolution were surprisingly similar, yet their mutual hatred led to each other’s ruin.

Stone, Tanya Lee.
Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream. Candlewick. 2009. 978-0-7636-3611-1. $22.99. *Finalist title.

In the early 1960s, the doctor in charge of testing NASA's astronauts decided to find out if female pilots were capable of passing the grueling qualification tests required of male pilots. Feasible? Yes. Allowed? No. All testing of women's potential for the Mercury program was done outside of NASA's purview and without their permission. The reasons why will stun readers.

Turner, Pamela S.
The Frog Scientist. Houghton. 2009. 978-0-6187-1716-3. $18.

Dr. Tyrone Hayes’ scientific study of the effects of pesticides on frogs in the U.S. is documented through meticulous organization and spectacular photography.

Turner, Pamela S.
A Life in the Wild: George Schaller's Struggle to Save the Last Great Beasts. Farrar/Melanie Kroupa. 2008. 978-0-3743-4578-5. $21.95.

Turner depicts the life of a world-renowned biologist and conservationist in this engagingly written and stunningly photographed book.

Walker, Sally M.
Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland. Carolrhoda. 2009. 978-0-8225-7135-3. $22.95. *Finalist title.

By presenting a detailed examination into the work of different types of forensic archaeology at excavations in both Jamestown, Virginia, and Colonial Maryland, readers are rewarded with both a picture of this fascinating work and an appreciation for what it contributes to our knowledge of history.

Warren, Andrea.
Under Siege!: Three Children at the Civil War Battle for Vicksburg. Farrar/Melanie Kroupa. 2009. 978-0-3743-1255-8. $17.95.

Three children recount their experiences during the 47-day siege of Vicksburg during the Civil War. Exciting, well-researched, and illustrated with period photos and prints.