YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction

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The YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction, established in 2010, is an annual literary award presented by the Young Adult Library Services Association of the American Library Association that "honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults (ages 12-18)".[1] It was first given in 2010.[2] The award is announced at ALA's Midwinter Meeting.[3]


Winners and finalists[edit]

Award for Excellence in Nonfiction winners and finalists[4]
Year Author Title Result
2010 Deborah Heiligman Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith Winner
Tanya Lee Stone Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream Finalist
Phillip Hoose Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice
Candace Fleming The Great and Only Barnum: The Tremendous, Stupendous Life of Showman P. T. Barnum
Sally M. Walker Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland
2011 Ann Angel Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing Winner
Jill Rubalcaba and Peter Robertshaw Every Bone Tells a Story: Hominin Discoveries, Deductions, and Debates Finalist
Rick Bowers Spies of Mississippi: The True Story of the Spy Network that Tried to Destroy the Civil Rights Movement
Paul Janeczko The Dark Game: True Spy Stories
Susan Campbell Bartoletti They Called Themselves the KKK: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group
2012 Steve Sheinkin The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism, by Treachery Winner
Karen Blumenthal Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition Finalist
Susan Goldman Rubin Music Was IT: Young Leonard Bernstein
Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom and Science
Sue Macy Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way)
2013 Steve Sheinkin Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon Winner
Phillip Hoose Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 Finalist
Karen Blumenthal Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different
Deborah Hopkinson Titanic: Voices from the Disaster
Cynthia Levinson We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March
2014 Neal Bascomb The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World's Most Notorious Nazi Winner
Tanya Lee Stone Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles, America's First Black Paratroopers Finalist
Chip Kidd Go: A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design
Martin W. Sandler Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War II
James L. Swanson The President Has Been Shot! The Assassination of John F. Kennedy
2015 Maya Van Wagenen Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek Winner
Emily Arnold McCully Ida M. Tarbell: The Woman Who Challenged Big Business -- and Won! Finalist
Shane Burcaw Laughing at My Nightmare
Candace Fleming The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia
Steve Sheinkin The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights
2016 Steve Sheinkin Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War Winner
Margarita Engle Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir Finalist
M.T. Anderson Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad
Nancy Plain This Strange Wilderness: The Life and Art of John James Audubon
2017 John Lewis and Andrew Aydin with Nate Powell (Illus.) March: Book Three Winner
Karen Blumenthal Hillary Rodham Clinton: A Woman Living History Finalist
Kenneth C. Davis In the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives
Pamela S. Turner with Gareth Hinds (Illus.) Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune
Linda Barrett Osborne This Land Is Our Land: A History of American Immigration
2018 Deborah Heiligman Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers Winner
Mary Beth Leatherdale and Lisa Charleyboy #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women Finalist
Marc Aronson and Marina Tamar Budhos Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism
Dashka Slater The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives
Martin W. Sandler The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found
2019 Don Brown The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees Winner
Elizabeth Partridge Boots on the Ground: America's War in Vietnam Finalist
Jarrett Krosoczka Hey, Kiddo: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt With Family Addiction
Sonia Sotomayor The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor
John Hendrix The Faithful Spy
2020 Rex Ogle Free Lunch Winner [5]
Albert Marrin A Light in the Darkness: Janusz Korczak, His Orphans, and the Holocaust Finalist
Elizabeth Wein A Thousand Sisters: The Heroic Airwomen of the Soviet Union in World War II
Lynn Curlee The Great Nijinsky: God of Dance
Deborah Heiligman Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of The Children's Ship
2021 Candace Fleming The Rise & Fall of Charles Lindbergh Winner [6]
Christina Soontornvat All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team Finalist
Amra Sabic-El-Rayess with Laura L. Sullivan The Cat I Never Named: A True Story of Love, War, and Survival
John Rocco How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity's Greatest Adventure
Elizabeth Rusch You Call This Democracy?: How to Fix Our Democracy and Deliver Power to the People
2022 Gail Jarrow Ambushed!: The Assassination Plot Against President Garfield Winner
Brandy Colbert Black Birds in the Sky: The Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Finalist
Paula Yoo From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement
Don Brown In the Shadow of the Fallen Towers: The Seconds, Minutes, Hours, Days, Weeks, Months and Years After the 9/11 Attacks
Amy Butler The Woman All Spies Fear: Code Breaker Elizebeth Smith Friedman and Her Hidden Life



  • 1968: Today’s Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution, and Change, edited by Marc Aronson
  • Americanized: Rebel without a Green Card, by Sara Saedi. -
  • ATTUCKS! Oscar Robertson and the Team that Awakened a City, by Phillip Hoose
  • Back From the Brink, Nancy Castaldo
  • Becoming Kareem: Growing Up on and Off the Court, by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  • Blacklisted, by Larry Dane Brimner
  • Bonnie and Clyde: the Making of a Legend, by Karen Blumenthal
  • Coco Chanel, by Susan Rubin
  • Crash: The Great Depression and the Rise and Fall of America, by Marc Favreau - Little Brown Books
  • D-Day: The World War II Invasion That Changed History, by Deborah Hopkinson
  • Deep Dark Blue: A Memoir of Survival, by Polo Tate.
  • Eleanor Roosevelt: Fighter for Justice, by Ilene Cooper
  • Facing Frederick: the Life of Frederick Douglass, A Monumental American Man, by Tonya Bolden
  • Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky, by David Bowles
  • Google It! A History of Google, by Anna Crowley Redding.
  • Life Inside My Mind: 31 Authors Share Their Personal Struggles, by Jessica Burkhart
  • Life on Surtsey: Iceland’s Upstart Island, by Loree Griffin Burns.
  • Mary Shelley: The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein’s Creator, by Catherine Reef
  • Match Forward, Girl: From Young Warrior to Little Rock Nine, by Melba Pattillo Beals
  • More Deadly than War: The Hidden History of the Spanish Flu and the First World War, by Kenneth C. Davis
  • My Family Divided: One Girl’s Journey of Home, Loss, and Hope, by Diane Guerrero
  • Nevertheless, We Persisted, edited by Amy Klobuchar
  • Notorious RBG: Life and Time of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, by Irin Carmon
  • Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide, by Isabel Quintero.
  • Spooked!, by Gail Jarrow
  • The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements, by Sam Kean
  • The Girl Who Drew Butterflies, by Joyce Sidman.
  • The Grand Escape: the Greatest Prison Breakout of the 20th Century, by Neal Bascomb
  • The Hyena Scientist, by Sy Montgomery.
  • The Wilhelm Gustloff Story, by Michael Capek
  • Things We Haven’t Said, edited by Erin Moulton
  • Unpunished Murder: Massacre at Colfax and the Quest for Justice, by Lawrence Goldstone
  • Votes for Women! American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballot, by Winifred Conkling
  • Walking is a Way of Knowing, by Madhuri Ramesh


  • Brockenbrough, Martha. Alexander Hamilton, Revolutionary.
  • Green, Katie. Lighter Than My Shadow.
  • Hennessey, Jonathan and art by Jack McGowan. The Comic Book Story of Video Games: The Incredible History of the Electronic Gaming Revolution.
  • Jensen, Kelly, ed. Here We Are: 44 Voices Write, Draw and Speak About Feminism for the Real World.
  • Levinson, Cynthia and Sanford Levinson. Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws that Affect Us Today.
  • Losure, Mary. Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal’d.
  • Sheinkin, Steve. Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team.
  • Solomon, Andrew. Far From the Tree: How Children and Their Parents Learn to Accept One Another...Our Differences Unite Us (Young Adult Edition).
  • Walden, Tillie. Spinning.
  • Weatherford, Carole Boston and illustrated by Eric Velasquez. Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library.


  • Bascomb, Neal. Sabotage: The Mission to Destroy Hitler’s Atomic Bomb.
  • Freedman, Russell. Vietnam: A History of the War.
  • Marrin, Albert. Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience during World War II.
  • Miller, Sarah. The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century.
  • Rubin, Susan Goldman. Brown v. Board of Education: A Fight for Simple Justice.
  • Stelson, Caren. Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story.
  • Sweet, Melissa. Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White.
  • Wallace, Rich and Sandra Neil Wallace. Blood Brother: Jonathan Daniels and His Sacrifice for Civil Rights.
  • Woelfle, Gretchen. Answering the Cry for Freedom: Stories of African Americans and the American Revolution.








  • Chuck Close Face Book by Chuck Close
  • The Amazing Harry Kellar: Great American Magician by Gail Jarrow
  • Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery
  • Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure by Jim Murphy and Alison Blank
  • The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity by Elizabeth Rusch
  • Impossible Rescue: The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure by Martin W. Sandler
  • Blizzard of Glass: The Halifax Explosion of 1917 by Sally M. Walker
  • Their Skeletons Speak: Kennewick Man and the Paleoamerican World by Sally M. Walker
  • Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London by Andrea Warren




  • Frederick Douglass: A Noble Life by David A. Adler
  • FDR's Alphabet Soup: New Deal America by Tonya Bolden
  • Lost Boy, Lost Girl: Escaping Civil War in the Sudan by John Bul Dau
  • Watch This Space: Designing, Defending and Sharing Public Spaces by Hadley Dyer
  • Sir Charlie Chaplin: the Funniest Man in the World by Sid Fleischmann
  • The Rise and Fall of Senator Joe McCarthy by James Giblin
  • Sex: A Book for Teens: An Uncensored Guide to Your Body, Sex, and Safety by Nikol Hasler
  • Teen Cyberbullying Investigated: Where Do Your Rights End and Consequences Begin? by Tom Jacobs
  • We Are Not Beasts of Burden: Cesar Chavez and the Delano Grape Strike by Stuart Kallen
  • Get Real: What Kind of World Are You Buying? by Mara Rockliff
  • The Smart Aleck's Guide to American History by Adam Selzer
  • The Good, the Bad and the Barbie: A Doll's History and Her Impact on Us by Tanya Lee Stone
  • Frozen Secrets: Antarctica Revealed by Sally M. Walker
  • The Brave Escape of Edith Wharton: A Biography by Connie Wooldridge
  • Simeon's Story: An Eyewitness Account of the Kidnapping of Emmett Till by Simeon Wright and Herb Boyd




  1. ^ YALSA. "YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults". Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  2. ^ "2010 Nonfiction Award". Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  3. ^ "YALSA Book Awards". Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  4. ^ "Previous Winners". Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  5. ^ "2020 Youth Media Award Winners". American Libraries Magazine. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  6. ^ "2021 Nonfiction Award". Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). December 16, 2021. Retrieved February 10, 2022.
  7. ^ "2019 Nonfiction Award Nominations". Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). February 8, 2019. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  8. ^ "2018 Nonfiction Award Nominations". Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). February 20, 2018. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  9. ^ "2017 Nonfiction Award Nominations". Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). January 25, 2017. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  10. ^ "2016 Nonfiction Award Nominations". Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). December 7, 2015. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  11. ^ "2015 Nonfiction Award Nominations". Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). February 5, 2015. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  12. ^ "2014 Nonfiction Award Nominations". Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). February 18, 2014. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
  13. ^ "2013 Nonfiction Award Nominations". Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  14. ^ "2012 Nonfiction Award Nominations". Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  15. ^ "2011 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award Nominations". Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  16. ^ "2010 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award Nominations". Retrieved March 30, 2013.