Excellence in Nonfiction

Excellence in Nonfiction

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) Award for Excellence in Nonfiction honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults (ages 12-18).

Award Web Site: YALSA's Award for Excellence in Nonfiction

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Author: Deborah Heiligman
2018 Excellence in Nonfiction - Winner

The bond between brothers was never stronger. Drawing on their lifelong correspondence, Heiligman plumbs their journey from an ascetic upbringing in a Protestant parsonage to the auction houses of Europe as Theo develops business acumen, all the while supporting volatile Vincent’s groundbreaking artistic endeavors both materially and emotionally. Their devotion to each other was so profound that there could have been no Vincent van Gogh without Theo. 

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Author: Marc Aronson
2018 Excellence in Nonfiction - Honor

Meet Robert Capo and Gerda Taro, young refugees and fearless pioneers of photojournalism, who documented the savagery of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s. In capturing a struggle against fascism that presaged World War II, their body of work reflects the evolution of photography as a journalistic medium. Aronson and Budhos use the two as a springboard to an expansive look at a forgotten conflict whose political and philosophical ramifications captured the attention of the world. 

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2018 Excellence in Nonfiction - Honor

Edited by Mary Beth Leatherdale and Lisa Charleyboy and published by Annick Press

The editors present a stereotype-busting, zine-like collection of personal essays, illustrations, and photos from and about the marginalized experiences of indigenous young women. This energetic showcase of contemporary lives demonstrates the strength and vitality of living heritages through a rich, visually stunning riot of art and memoir.

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Author: Dashka Slater
2018 Excellence in Nonfiction - Honor

In the news: an agender teen falls asleep on an Oakland city bus. A black teen sets their skirt on fire. Two young lives, forever entwined because of proximity in a moment, eventually spark an entire community’s shift towards restorative justice.

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Author: Martin Sandler
2018 Excellence in Nonfiction - Honor

Cinematic portrayals of the high seas can’t touch the rollicking realities of life aboard the Eighteenth century ship, The Whydah. This transporting look at the peculiar society of the piratical brotherhood, peppered with first-hand accounts, has much to tell us about successful maritime strategies for maintaining a reign of terror, the Whydah’s wreck and the house-to-house search it inspired, and the truths that artifacts recovered from its discovery off Cape Cod revealed about the golden age of piracy in the American colonies.

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Author: John Lewis
2017 Excellence in Nonfiction - Winner

Welcome to the stunning conclusion of the award-winning and best-selling MARCH trilogy. Congressman John Lewis, an American icon and one of the key figures of the civil rights movement, joins co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell to bring the lessons of history to vivid life for a new generation, urgently relevant for today's world.

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Author: Kenneth C. Davis
2017 Excellence in Nonfiction - Honor

An examination of American slavery through the true stories of five enslaved people who were considered the property of some of our best-known presidents.

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Author: Karen Blumenthal
2017 Excellence in Nonfiction - Honor

. Critically acclaimed author Karen Blumenthal gives us a sharp and intimate look at the life of Hillary Rodham Clinton, American politics, and what the future holds in store. Illustrated throughout with black and white photographs, this is the must-have biography on a woman who has always known her public responsibility, who continues to push boundaries, and who isn't afraid to stand up for what she believes in.

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Author: Pamela S. Turner
2017 Excellence in Nonfiction - Honor

Minamoto Yoshitsune should not have been a samurai. But his story is legend in this real-life saga.

This epic warrior tale reads like a novel, but this is the true story of the greatest samurai in Japanese history.

When Yoshitsune was just a baby, his father went to war with a rival samurai family and lost. His father was killed, his mother captured, and his surviving half-brother banished. Yoshitsune was sent away to live in a monastery. Skinny, small, and unskilled in the warrior arts, he nevertheless escaped and learned the ways of the samurai. When the time came for the Minamoto clan to rise up against their enemies, Yoshitsune answered the call. His daring feats and impossible bravery earned him immortality.

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Author: Linda Barrett Osborne
2017 Excellence in Nonfiction - Honor

Explores the way government policy and popular responses to immigrant groups have evolved throughout U.S. history, from 1800 to today.

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Author: Steve Sheinkin
2016 Excellence in Nonfiction - Winner
The story of Daniel Ellsberg and his decision to steal and publish secret documents about America's involvement in the Vietnam War
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Author: Margarita Engle
2016 Excellence in Nonfiction - Honor
Margarita is a girl from two worlds. Her heart lies in Cuba, her mother's tropical island country, a place so lush with vibrant life that it seems like a fairy tale kingdom. But most of the time she lives in Los Angeles, lonely in the noisy city and dreaming of the summers when she can take a plane through the enchanted air to her beloved island. Words and images are her constant companions, friendly and comforting when the children at school are not.
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Author: Tim Grove
2016 Excellence in Nonfiction - Honor
In 1924 the U.S. Army sent eight young men on a bold attempt to be the first to circumnavigate the globe by flight. Men from five other countries--Great Britain, France, Portugal, Italy, and Argentina--had the same goal, and so the quest became a race. Who would win
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Author: M.T. Anderson
2016 Excellence in Nonfiction - Honor
An account of the Siege of Leningrad reveals the role played by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich and his Leningrad Symphony in rallying and commemorating their fellow citizens.
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Author: Nancy Plain
2016 Excellence in Nonfiction - Honor
Describes how the writer and naturalist set about recording in both word and image the birds of North America, and details the legacy his work has left behind.