Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Excellence in Nonfiction

Yesterday, YALSA announced the shortlist of the Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults.

This is why blogging has been slow these past few weeks-- I've been busily reading and re-reading the nominees over and over again to help whittle down the list to these 5. I'm so excited about the 5 books we chose-- they are all excellent.

1. Titanic: Voices From the Disaster Deborah Hopkinson

This book may have ruined all other Titanic books for me. Seriously. I was listening to the audio version of The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic by Allan Wolf. It's a WONDERFUL book and the audio is fantastic, but... about halfway though I realized all I really wanted to do was reread the Hopkinson book. So I did.

2. Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World's Most Dangerous Weapon Steve Sheinkin

Sheinkin has a gift for making history really come alive. This one follows several different storylines in the US and Europe as scientists and spies try to make an atom bomb, keep the other guys from doing it, and/or just stealing their research.

3. Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 Phillip Hoose

Red Knot Rufas are small birds that migrate every year from the Canadian Arctic to Tierra del Fuego. And back. B95 is one bird that's done the journey so many times, that he's flown enough miles to get to the moon. More than following this one bird, Hoose describes bird conservation and tracking efforts and the complicated inter-tangled issues at play. Now, based on that plot description, I'd be like "eh" but he does it in a way that's utterly fascinating. Plus, really wonderful maps.

4. Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different by Karen Blumenthal

Using a commencement address as a framing device, Blumenthal paints great warts and all biography of on of Steve Jobs. I learned so many interesting things about Jobs (when he was a young man he was on a weird diet and thought that because of this he didn't need to shower. Anyone who smelled him disagreed) and about Apple (a great explanation of why the ad campaign was Think Different instead of Think Differently. And the letters they'd get from irate English teachers.) Plus, the photographs of a young Steve Jobs makes me feel much better about the fact that Ashton Kutcher is playing him in the biopic.

5. We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March Cynthia Levinson

In 1963 over 4000 children were arrested marching for their civil rights. They woke up in the morning, packed what they'd need for jail, and march, knowing they wouldn't be sleeping at home that night. Levinson follows a few of these children (some teens, some much younger) from different walks of life, how they got involved with the movement, their experiences and what happened next. It's inspiring and eye-opening.

The winner will be announced at the Youth Media Awards at the end of January. And NO! We haven't decided who's won yet! Stop asking!

And... seems I'm talking about committee stuff and I don't think I've mentioned this on the internets yet, when this committee wraps up in January, my next assignment begins. I'm the incoming chair of for Outstanding Books for the College Bound. I'm very excited for a million reasons, not least of which is that it's a huge change of reading material for the next year!

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1 comment:

Katie said...

Yay, I'm so proud of you all!

(Also, re: new committee, !!!!)