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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Morris and Nonfiction finalists usher in the 2018 awards season!

It’s that time of year when the air is crisp and the breeze will send notes of pine and firewood past your nose. It’s also that time of year when all of the best-of-the-year lists and YALSA award nominations come out! In the past few days the 2018 Morris Award and Nonfiction Award finalists were announced. As usual, there were a few surprises with books we didn’t already have on our “official” nomination list (or the secret longlist we keep from y’all).

I’m particularly excited about these Morris finalists, so let’s start there. First, all of the finalist authors are women! Four of the five authors are women of color! In the press release, committee chair Sarah Julsonnet said, “The selected titles tackle heavy topics such as mental health, racism, violence, and privilege as well as relationships with friends and family and how they shape a person.” We’ve already reviewed The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas as well as S.K. Ali’s Saints and MisfitsDear Martin by Nic Stone and Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman had been on our radar lately so their Morris recognition means we’ll definitely be taking a look at them. Devils Within is a brand new title to me and the premise sounds very heavy; death and white supremacists are not exactly the topics I’m looking for at this time of the year but we’re definitely adding it to our list for consideration.

Dear MartinDevils WithinThe Hate U Give cover imagesaints and misfitsStarfish

Last year’s Nonfiction Award finalists definitely reflected the political mood of 2016, but this year’s finalists span a wider range of subjects. The 2018 Nonfiction Award finalists this year are:

#NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women edited by Mary Beth Leatherdale and Lisa Charleyboy
Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos
The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater
Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman
The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found by Martin W. Sandler

#NotYourPrincessEyes of the WorldThe 57 BusVincent and TheoThe Whydah

I reviewed Vincent and Theo last month, which is particularly striking for what it does with voice and narrative structure. As for its Printz chances, I’m starting to think that the adventurous style might be too divisive to achieve the consensus it will need to make it all the way. #NotYourPrincess, Eyes of the World, and The 57 Bus were already on our (secret) longlist–personally, I can’t believe that I haven’t gotten to The 57 Bus yet because it’s been on my to-read pile for a while now. Finally, we’ll be adding The Whydah to our list. It includes some first-hand accounts; when done well, that can be great and who doesn’t love pirates?

This is the time of year when awards season starts to feel real for me so I’m excited and I can’t wait for all the other lists! How about you? Did your favorites make the cut? Which of the new-to-us titles should we rush to read first?


*That is, it’s like this if you live in a cold-weather place; I don’t know what December smells like in warm weather. Sorry warm-weather readers!

About Joy Piedmont

Joy Piedmont is a librarian and technology integrator at LREI - Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School. Prior to becoming a librarian, Joy reviewed and reported for Entertainment Weekly’s PopWatch. She reviews for SLJ and is the President of the Hudson Valley Library Association. When she’s not reading or writing about YA literature, she’s compulsively consuming culture of all kinds, learning to fly (on a trapeze), and taking naps with her cat, Oliver. Find her on Twitter @InquiringJoy, email her at joy dot piedmont at gmail dot com, or follow her on Tumblr. Her opinions do not reflect the attitudes or opinions of SLJ, LREI, HVLA or any other initialisms with which she is affiliated.


  1. I know that the Goodreads Best of 2017 isn’t the same type of award, but The Hate U Give won for its Debut Author and YA Fiction. It is definitely getting a lot of love this year, with good cause.

    I am reading as a judge for Round 1 of the Cybils in the Junior/Senior High category. When I read Whydah, I turned to my husband and exclaimed, “Finally a nonfiction book that is really interesting and very well-written.” It is about a slave ship turned pirate ship and about its exploits during the period it was used for pirating. Then it sunk off of Cape Cod. For 300 years people knew generally where it went down but it wasn’t found until 1985. Since that time they have been bringing up treasures from the ship, enough to fill a whole museum. It has led to a new understanding of the way that pirates lived during their lives at sea. Fascinating.

    I was the one who nominated the book, Eyes of the World, for consideration for the SH levels of the Cybils. It is about the first photojournalists, Robert and Gerta, who covered the Spanish Civil War. I not only learned information about the way these two helped the world know about the conflict through their photos, but I also learned a bunch about the Spanish Civil War in general. The book is pretty long and heavy (in weight) and I doubt it will be of much interest to most teens except those doing reports on one of the topics.

    I really got “into” Vincent and Theo but I am aware that a lot of people think it was too long or didn’t like that it was written in present tense. I, for one, am a fan and wasn’t put off my the length or anything else. I am always fascinated by authors who are able to find new and interesting information about topics, in this case Vincent Van Gogh, making it new and fresh.

    Cybils will not review The Bus 57 this year because it passed the October 15th publication deadline for submissions. It will therefore have to wait until next year for consideration.

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