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The YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults (ages 12-18) during a November 1 – October 31 publishing year.

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Bomb : the race to build--  and steal-- the world's most dangerous weapon Juvenile Book Bomb : the race to build-- and steal-- the world's most dangerous weapon

Sheinkin, Steve.
J 623.4511 SHEINKI

In this suspenseful combination of science and history, Sheinkin masterfully exposes the international race to develop an atomic weapon and bring an end to World War II. This true-life spy thriller features an international cast of characters and will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Period photographs of key players and an abundance of primary sources bring this well-researched story to life. Sheinkin gives readers insight into what happened with all of the major players after the end of the war. A thought-provoking epilogue on the long term implications of atomic weaponry reminds readers that the results of scientific inquiry have long term implications for everyone.

2013 Winner



We've got a job : the 1963 Birmingham Children's March Juvenile Book We've got a job : the 1963 Birmingham Children's March

Levinson, Cynthia.
J 323.1196 LEVINSO

Focusing on the experiences of four young people who were at the center of a pivotal moment in the American civil rights movement, this is the story of 4,000 black children and teenagers who voluntarily went to jail between May 2 and May 11, 1963. In the end, the children succeeded where adults had failed, and one of the most racially violent cities in America was desegregated.

2013 Finalist



Titanic : voices from the disaster Teen Book Titanic : voices from the disaster

Hopkinson, Deborah.
TEEN 910.9163 HOPKINS

This moving, exciting history of the 1912 disaster reads like an action movie with cliffhangers at the end of each chapter. The additional material, ranging from the only surviving photos of the inside of the boat during its journey to diagrams and timelines to accounts of what happened to the survivors afterwards, is exhaustive and meticulously researched. Readers will find themselves hoping that this time, the boat doesn’t sink.

2013 Finalist



Moonbird : a year on the wind with the great survivor B95 Juvenile Book Moonbird : a year on the wind with the great survivor B95

Hoose, Phillip M., 1947-
J 598.0723 HOOSE

Moonbird is a fascinating look at the life of rufa red knots in general and B95, one long-lived and tough little bird in particular, and the worldwide efforts to understand and save this subspecies of bird from extinction. Through maps, photos, and descriptions of his journey, the reader will fly with B95 from near the bottom of the world to the top and back again.

2013 Finalist



Steve Jobs : the man who thought different : a biography Teen Book Steve Jobs : the man who thought different : a biography

Blumenthal, Karen.
TEEN BIO JOBS BLUMENT

Equally reviled and revered — often by the same people — Steve Jobs, the man who operated from his own “reality distortion field,” was an extraordinary “tweaker” who transcended the visionary to perfect the simple and transform the world as we know it. Skillfully crafted and meticulously researched, Blumenthal’s accessible biography presents an intimate and fully dimensional portrait of a complex American icon and the multiple trajectories of influence on our technological paradigms that define his enduring legacy.

2013 Finalist



The notorious Benedict Arnold : a true story of adventure, heroism, & treachery Juvenile Book The notorious Benedict Arnold : a true story of adventure, heroism, & treachery

Sheinkin, Steve.
J BIO ARNOLD SHEINKI

Treating history as mystery, Sheinkin takes readers through means, motive, and opportunity as he outlines Arnold’s path towards treason. This well researched (with liberal use of primary sources) cradle to grave biography emphasizes the political, social, and military issues within the Colonial army and how Arnold ambitiously maneuvered his own career through grit and determination.

2012 Winner



Music was it : young Leonard Bernstein Juvenile Book Music was it : young Leonard Bernstein

Rubin, Susan Goldman.
J BIO BERNSTE RUBIN

Rubin entices readers with her lively account of the challenging and passionate life of young Leonard Bernstein, beginning with his childhood in Boston and concluding with his brilliant conducting debut, at the age of twenty-five, at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic. A short epilogue relates the remainder of Bernstein's memorable life. A timeline, brief biographies of friends and colleagues, a discography, a bibliography, sources of quotations, photo credits and permissions, and an index add to the informative value of this fascinating glimpse into the formative years of a musical genius.

2012 Finalist



Wheels of change : how women rode the bicycle to freedom (with a few flat tires along the way) Juvenile Book Wheels of change : how women rode the bicycle to freedom (with a few flat tires along the way)

Macy, Sue.
J 796.6082 MACY

With the invention of the bicycle, women began by riding sidesaddle but quickly switched to riding astride sleek two-wheelers as they left their restraining corsets and petticoats in the dust with bloomers their preferred bicycling outfit. Adventurer or activist, young or old, African American or white, many women quickly adopted this new mode of transportation. As the period photographs, colorful advertisements, sidebars, and primary source material proclaim, bicycles empowered women to seek the freedom they’d long been denied.

2012 Finalist



Sugar changed the world : a story of magic, spice, slavery, freedom, and science Teen Book Sugar changed the world : a story of magic, spice, slavery, freedom, and science

Aronson, Marc.
TEEN 664.109 ARONSON

Blending facts with a fascinating personal narrative, this true tale of the sugar trail provides readers with an intimate and troubling portrait of the white grains that sweeten everything from their coffee to their bubblegum. The authors use both their own family histories and as many individual accounts as possible to demonstrate that sugar changed the course of commerce, government, slavery, invention and immigration. This complex and challenging history is supported by sharp black and white photos (with links to color images) and detailed source notes.

2012 Finalist



Bootleg : murder, moonshine, and the lawless years of prohibition Teen Book Bootleg : murder, moonshine, and the lawless years of prohibition

Blumenthal, Karen.
TEEN 363.4109 BLUMENT

This impeccably researched account of the history of the Temperance movement provides an interesting look at the societal issues and historical figures behind the passage of the 18th Amendment. Blumenthal also describes the unintended consequences of gangsters (including the famous Al Capone) committing alcohol-related crimes, as well as adults and children ignoring the law to bootleg and smuggle during the 13 years it was in effect. Black and white photos, archival materials, and a glossary enhance this engaging and readable work.

2012 Finalist



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