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.

Seal Licensing

Individuals who wish to buy small quantities of seals can find them in the ALA Online Store. nonfiction finalistPublishers wishing to buy bulk seals or license seal images can find more information by consulting YALSA's Award Seals Usage Guidelines and  ALA's Seals Sales & Permissions page.

If you'd like to license the winner, finalist, or nominee seal, please learn more here.

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

Official Nomination Lists

Previous Winners

Policies and Procedures

Committee Contacts


Teen Book Finder App & Database   

2022 Winner

“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
An intricately detailed narrative of the assassination of President Garfield, Jarrow uses historical documents, newspaper accounts, and diary entries to create an engaging chronology of events as part of her Medical Fiascoes series.


2022 Finalists

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

“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.
Colbert contextualizes the Tulsa Race Massacre which had its hundredth year anniversary this year to commemorate the harrowing events using her skillful writing for teen audiences. A well-researched accounting of the racial violence that cannot be forgotten.

The Cat I Never Named: A True Story of Love, War, and Survival
“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.
Yoo weaves an emotional story within a story of a movement that began after the death of Vincent Chin, a Chinese American at the hands of two white men. The book follows the chain of events and trial simultaneously capturing the country’s treatment of Asians and their efforts to overcome it.

How We Got To the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity's Greatest Adventure
“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 HarperCollins Publishing. 9780358223573.
For a new generation living in a post-9/11 era, Brown writes and illustrates the events of the terrorist attack immediately after not only at Ground Zero but the country and military operations abroad. With a style that befits the mood, the combination of words and art shines.

You Call This Democracy?: How to Fix Our Democracy and Deliver Power to the People
“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.
With her work buried and credit given to others, female codebreaker Elizebeth Smith Friedman’s life and accomplishments are given prime coverage. The book celebrates her intelligence, creativity, and tenacity during World War I and II and the legacy she leaves behind filled with intrigue, spying, and ciphers.

Members of the 2022 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award Committee are: Alicia Abdul (Chair), Ginny Edwards, Laura Graves Massey, Laura Hargrove, Yolanda Hood, Jeana Menger, Michael Rogalla, Janet Weber, and Rebecca Weber

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.


View the 2022 Excellence in Nonfiction Award Celebration Stream

Got a craving for more Nonfiction? View the 2022 Vetted Nominations List.

Members of the 2023 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award Committee are: B. Allison Gray (Chair), Elizabeth Bast, Molly Dettmann, Katy Henderson, Loren Hinton, Dana Hutchins, Pamela Kranenburg, Bethany Martin, Heather Richard.


Previous Winners

View a complete list of Nonfiction Award winners and finalists.

2021 Nonfiction Award

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