In addition to the finalists and award winner, YALSA publishes the official nominations for the 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.
Barton, Chris. Can I See Your I.D.?: True Stories of False Identities, Penguin, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-8037-3310-7.
Ten stories of men and women who created false identities for a variety of reasons invite readers delve into the deceptions, including Ellen Craft who escaped slavery by pretending to be a white man. Graphic panels introduce each chapter together with a detailed bibliography for each person.
Bausum, Ann. Unraveling Freedom: The Battle for Democracy on the Home Front During World War I, National Geographic Society, 2010. ISBN: 978-1-4263-0703-4.
While American troops fought against the Germans in World War I, patriots at home took up their own battle against all things German, with both comic and tragic consequences. Photographs and illustrations from the time period add to the appeal of this readable history.
Bragg, Georgia. Illus. by Kevin O’Malley. How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous, Walker & Company, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-8027-9817-6.
Teen readers get a lot of information about the lives of famous people, but here Bragg gleefully presents the gruesome details of their deaths. Whimsical drawings by illustrator O'Malley add to the light tone of this dark subject.
Colman, Penny. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship That Changed the World, Henry Holt, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-8050-8293-7.
Colman masterfully blends commentary, historical events, quotations, and personalities in her compelling narrative of the lifelong friendship and partnership of these two crusaders who spearheaded the fight, against unbelievable odds, to gain equal rights for women.
Downer, Ann. Elephant Talk: The Surprising Science of Elephant Communication, Lerner, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-7613-5766-7.
After a brief overview of Asian and African elephants, Downer relates current research about the sounds, gestures, and ground vibrations used by elephants to “talk” to one another over near and far distances, all of which help the survival of this smart social animal.
Fleming, Candace. Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart, Random House, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-375-84198-9.
In this well-researched work, Fleming reveals the adventurous life of the most famous female aviator, from her childhood to the dramatic search for her plane as it unfolds through photographs, maps, handwritten documents and engaging text.
Holzer, Harold. Father Abraham: Lincoln and His Sons, Calkins Creek, 2011. ISBN: 978-1-59078-303-0.
Lincoln led the country through some of its most tumultuous years, all the while bearing the terrible grief of a bereaved father. Two of his four sons died before Lincoln was elected president, and a third died in the White House. Photographs and primary source quotes reveal this private story behind one of our most famous presidents.
Jocelyn, Marthe. Scribbling Women: True Tales From Astonishing Lives, Tundra Books, 2011. ISBN: 978-88776-952-8.
From various times, places, and backgrounds, these eleven women shared one thing: writing. Each left a window into her public and private life, including the Japanese Imperial Court and lunatic asylums.
Kirkpatrick, Katherine. Illus by Emma Stevenson. Mysterious Bones: The Story of the Kennewick Man, Holiday House 2011. ISBN: 978-0-7611-5607-9.
Detailed watercolor illustrations tell the story of the accidental discovery of the oldest and most complete skeleton found in America that challenged scientists’ theories on its ancestry and led to an ongoing debate as to who owns the ancient bones and how the remains can be treated.
Kurlansky, Mark. Illus by Frank Stratton. World Without Fish, Workman 2011. ISBN: 978-0-7611-5607-9.
Both a cautionary story and a call to action, Kurlansky uses narrative, illustrations, and a graphic novel to explain how current fishing practices and the effects of global warming can lead to disappearance of the most commonly eaten fish as well as the effectis on ocean life.
Marrin, Albert. Flesh & Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire & Its Legacy, Random House: Knopf Books for Younger Readers, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-375-86889-4
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911 resulted in the deaths of 146 workers. Marrin puts the fire within the context of working conditions, immigration, and the labor movement, including present day factory conditions in the United States and worldwide.
McClafferty, Carla Killough. The Many Faces of George Washington, Carolrhoda, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-7613-5608-0.
Teams of historians, scientists, and artists create three wax statues of George Washington at different stages of his life. A brief biography of our first president provides context for the detailed process.
Nelson, Kadir. Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans, Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-06-173074-0.
The fictitious voice of a strong, proud African American woman weaves her family’s history with that of America; Nelson’s dramatic full-page illustrations strengthen her perspective.
Reef, Catherine. Jane Austen: A Life Revealed, Clarion, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-547-37021-7
Reef weaves together biographical information and plot summaries from Austen’s novels, along with an historical and cultural examination of the society in which she lived, resulting in a richly detailed look at the life of this beloved and intriguing writer.
Ross, Stewart. Into the Unknown: How Great Explorers Found Their Way by Land, Sea, and Air, Candlewick, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-547-18203-2.
Dramatic cross-sections illustrate the how-they-did-it mechanics of fourteen explorations, beginning with Pytheas the Greek’s voyage to the Arctic Circle in 340 BC and concluding with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s moon landing in 1969.
Rubalcaba, Jill. I. M. Pei: Architect of Time, Place, and Purpose, Marshall Cavendish, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-7614-5973-6.
In this stunning presentation of the life and career of one of the top modern architects, photographs are combined with architectural plans and drawings, to focus on the intriguing background stories of seven of Pei's most famous buildings.
Rubin, Susan Goldman. Wideness & Wonder: The Life and Art of Georgia O’Keefe, Chronicle Books, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-8118-6983-6.
O’Keefe’s passion for art, along with her unconventional behavior, elevated her to national attention at a time when there were few female painters, especially after she moved to New Mexico and began her unique paintings of skulls, flowers, and desert landscapes.
Schanzer, Rosalyn. Witches!: The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem. National Geographic Society, 2011. 978-1-42630-869-7.
Schanzer’s dramatic narrative voice, primary source evidence, and atmospheric scratchboard illustrations combine to shine a meticulously researched, reality-show spotlight on the Salem Witch Trials.
Scieszka, Casey. Illus by Steven Weinberg. To Timbuktu: Nine Countries, Two People, One True Story, Roaring Brook, 2011. ISBN: 978-1-59643-527-8.
Casey and Steven, two twenty-something students, travel together through China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Mali on Casey's Fulbright scholarship in an attempt to to learn about each other, themselves, and other cultures. This illustrated memoir is full of travel facts that will pique readers’ interest.
Seiple, Samantha. Ghosts on the Fog: The Untold Story of Alaska’s WWII Invasion, Scholastic, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-545-29654-0.
This gripping account of the invasion of the Aleutian islands during WWII includes both the Japanese and the American perspectives, in addition to the culpability of both countries in their treatment of the native people. This journalistic narrative includes extensive sources from formerly classified military history.
Sullivan, George. Tom Thumb : the Remarkable True Story of a Man in Miniature, Clarion Books, 2011. 9780547182032.
Sullivan portrays Tom Thumb as the first international superstar, documenting and recreating the late 1800s through primary sources, evocative book design, period illustrations, and numerous photographs.
Thomson, Ruth. Terezin: Voices from the Holocaust, Candlewick, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-7636-4963-0.
Haunting voices and illustrations portray the trials of the Jews housed at Terezin, used as a propaganda tool for the Nazis to disguise the genocide. This compelling collection by Thomson brings together original diaries and artwork from artists and writers imprisoned there.
VanHecke, Susan. Raggin’ Jazzin’ Rockin’: A History of American Musical Instrument Makers. Boyds Mills Press, 2011. ISBN: 978-1-59078-574-4.
This history of the creators of eight musical instruments, including the Martin and Fender guitars, Ludwig drums, and more, is accompanied by diagrams of the instruments, historical sidelights, and noted musicians.