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Someday My Printz Will Come
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Whither the nonfiction, bloggers?

Orin Zebest / CC BY 2.0

We’ve done a lot of writing about contendas this year, but you may have noticed that non-fiction has been absent so far. As a matter of fact, our own Mark Flowers emailed wondering “whither the nonfiction, bloggers?” And just as we were turning his question right back on him in the form of an invitation to do a guest post, he wrote a thoughtful and astonishingly complete post about awesome nonfiction reads for The Hub.

We definitely depend on you guys for NF recommendations; Karyn and I both have our baggage, afterall, and need people to pick up our slack/keep us honest. Mark’s got a great line up there, and there’s some stuff I’m really looking forward to tracking down. Steve Sheinkin’s Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon and Catherine Reef’s The Bronte Sisters sound fascinating (how’s that for a unique pairing?). Oooh, and Marching to the Mountaintop by Anne Bausum has a description that’s caught my eye a couple of times. Perhaps next time I’ll remember when I’m actually at a library?

What about you guys? What stellar nonfiction have you been reading?

About Sarah Couri

Sarah Couri is a librarian at Grace Church School's High School Division, and has served on a number of YALSA committees, including Quick Picks, Great Graphic Novels, and (most pertinently!) the 2011 Printz Committee. Her opinions do not reflect the attitudes or opinions of SLJ, GCS, YALSA, or any other institutions with which she is affiliated. Find her on Twitter @scouri or e-mail her at scouri35 at gmail dot com.


  1. Some Printz possibilities that I’ve read (and there are many on Mark’s list I haven’t yet) are Marc Aronson’s Master of Deceit, Cynthia Levinson’s We’ve Got a Job, Sy Montgomery’s Temple Grandin, and Philip Hoose’s Moonbird.

  2. I have to confess – I don’t order nonfiction for my library, so I almost never read reviews and only hear about contenders when other people generate some buzz. I put a few things from Mark’s list on hold to take a look at. I’ll totally pick up the Bronte book when it comes out!

  3. I can’t seem to get it into my head that NEVER FALL DOWN by Patricia McCormick is…technically fiction? I’m going to mention it here anyway! I haven’t read it, but the gravitas of the subject is inescapable, and being a sort of crossover between historical fiction and biography might make it a contender for a Printz Honor.

  4. If Marc Aronson’s Master of Deceit is representative of this year’s nonfiction field–wow! The research that went into that book is evident, and it is all woven into a whole that gave me–somewhat jaded reader of adult non-fiction that I am– electric chills. I’ve rec’d this book a bunch of times. It is timely, readable, and beautifully designed. (I don’t now if or how that matters to the Printz. It matters to me.) I only hope this lands on a lot of library shelves.

  5. Mark Flowers says

    btw – if anyone has way too much time on their hands, you can get even *more* of my thoughts on this year’s nonfiction in this post (and its follow ups):

    • Karyn Silverman says

      Thanks Mark! And what a great question you pose, about the curricular nonfiction. I too ignore it without a thought. I think your mom’s point about fewer NF readers setting a higher bar is pretty on target– the unintentional bias thing strikes again.

      And perhaps the volunteer form should have a short essay question about reading tastes, habits, and speed. We might end up with better balanced committees and less professional committee burnout if we could use that data in placement.

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