Nonfiction Award

nonfiction awardAbout the Nonfiction Award

YALSA's Award for Excellence in Nonfiction honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults (ages 12-18) during a Nov. 1 – Oct. 31 publishing year. The winner is announced annually at the ALA Youth Media Awards, with a shortlist of up to five titles named the first week of December.


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Visit YALSA's Teen Book Finder Database, a one-stop shop for finding selected lists and award winners. Users can search this free resource by award, list name, year, author, genre and more, as well as print customizable lists.

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Current Winner & Finalists

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View the 2021 Vetted Nominations List.

Register for our free events! 

  • Monday, February 15th at 4 pm PT/ 5 pm MT/ 6pm CT/ 7pm ET  Features the winner and finalists.  Register now.

  • Wednesay, February 24th at 4 pm PT/ 5 pm MT/ 6pm CT/ 7pm ET speed-dating style event with authors on the 2021 vetted list of nominated titles.  Register now.

 

2021 Winner

The Rise & Fall of Charles Lindbergh, written by Candace Fleming and published by Schwartz and Wade, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House. 9780525646549
Charles Lindberg is one of the most complicated icons in American history. Celebrated aviator, dogged scientist, heartbroken father, Nazi sympathizer, unapologetic eugenicist, Candance Fleming shows all the facets of a deeply flawed American hero.  In a well-researched, engaging narrative, Fleming brings Lindberg to life, warts and all.

2021 Finalists

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team, written by Christina Soontornvat and published by Candlewick Press. 9781536209457
On June 23, 2018, twelve young soccer players and their coach became trapped by flood waters in a northern Thailand cave. Clear maps, diagrams, photography and first hand interviews capture every detail of the rescue of all thirteen, an effort made by hundreds of volunteers. Their rescue seemed impossible but, as Christina Soontornvat shows in this page-turning book, miracles sometimes happen. 
 

The Cat I Never Named: A True Story of Love, War, and Survival
The Cat I Never Named: A True Story of Love, War, and Survival, written by Amra Sabic-El-Rayess with Laura L. Sullivan and published by Bloomsbury YA. 9781547604531
In 1992 Amra's life is forever changed when Serbian troops seize her hometown of Bihać, Bosnia. Her family and other Muslims face hate, violence, and unimaginable horrors of war.  A enlightening memoir of a Muslim teen trying to survive through the Bosnian genocide and the stray cat that protected her family throughout all her ordeals.
 

How We Got To the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity's Greatest Adventure
How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity's Greatest Adventure, written and illustrated by John Rocco and published by  Crown Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House. 9780525647416
This extensively researched and illustrated account demonstrates the magnitude of ingenuity and creativity involved in the years' long effort to reach the moon. John Rocco's exquisite illustrations and diagrams pair perfectly with his clear text to illuminate "the grit, determination, and hard work to achieve the goal - also the problem-solving, the organization, the science, and the sheer cleverness of it all." 
 

You Call This Democracy?: How to Fix Our Democracy and Deliver Power to the People
You Call This Democracy?: How to Fix Our Democracy and Deliver Power to the People, written by Elizabeth Rusch and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, a division of  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 9780358387428
From gerrymandering and the electoral college to voter suppression and unequal representation, Elizbeth Rusch breaks down some of the most important problems facing our country's representative democracy. This nonpartisan guide to civic engagement offers ample suggestions for how teens can become involved in political reform.
 

Members of the 2021 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award Committee are: Chair Adrienne Gillespie, Beaverton School District,  Portland, Oregon; Danielle Rae Dreger-Babbitt, Sno-Isle Regional Library, Mill Creek Library, Mill Creek, Washington; Jennifer Longee, Durham Academy, Durham, North Carolina; Jill Bellomy, Highland Park Middle School,  Dallas, Texas; Lisa Goldstein, Brooklyn Public Library, New York; Katie Richert, Bloomingdale Public Library, Bloomingdale, Illinois; Joel Shoemaker, Illinois Prairie District Public Library, Metamora, Illinois; Kerry Townsend, Columbia Public Schools , Columbia, Missouri; and Dr. Terrell A. Young, Bringham Young University, Provo, Utah. 

Looking for more Nonfiction?  View the list of nominated titles from previous years.  The vetted list of nominated titles for 2021 will be added after the winner has been announced in January.

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.

Previous Winners

View a complete list of Nonfiction Award winners and finalists.

2020 Nonfiction Award

2019 Nonfiction Award

2018 Nonfiction Award

2017 Nonfiction Award

2016 Nonfiction Award

2015 Nonfiction Award

2014 Nonfiction Award

2013 Nonfiction Award

2012 Nonfiction Award

2011 Nonfiction Award

2010 Nonfiction Award