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A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy
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2011 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults

The YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults, like the Morris Award, announces a shortlist of up to five titles about six weeks before the ALA Midwinter Meeting. At Midwinter, the winner is announced and the other titles on the shortlist are Honor titles.

The Committee releases its Vetted Nominations List. With the removal of non-fiction titles from BBYA (now BFYA), the nominations list serves as an additional source for nonfiction titles. Unlike the BBYA/BFYA list, nominated titles aren’t announced during the year; it’s only after Midwinter that the list is announced.

The Award went to Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing by Ann Angel (Amulet Books, 2010) (my review).

The Four Honor Books were

They Called Themselves the KKK: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group by Susan Campbell Bartoletti (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010) (my review);

Spies of Mississippi:  The True Story of the Spy Network that Tried to Destroy the Civil Rights Movement by Rick Bowers (National Geographic Society, 2010) (my review);

The Dark Game: True Spy Stories by Paul Janeczko (Candlewick Press, 2010); and

Every Bone Tells a Story: Hominin Discoveries, Deductions, and Debates by Jill Rubalcaba and Peter Robertshaw (Charlesbridge, 2010) (my review).

The 2011 official nomination list has an additional fifteen titles, including Watch This Space: Designing, Defending and Sharing Public Spaces by Hadley Dyer and Marc Ngui (Kids Can Press, 2010) (my review).

About Elizabeth Burns

Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is


  1. Jonathan Hunt says:

    Liz, don’t you think it’s odd that THE WAR TO END ALL WARS didn’t even make the nomination list?

  2. Jonathan, to be honest, I didn’t read THE WAR TO END ALL WARS.

    Do you think this title is an example of one that may have made the BBYA list, based on different criteria for BBYA versus the NonFiction Award? (Assuming the BBYA list was still around, of course).

  3. Mark Flowers says:

    As Jonathan knows , I had a particular distaste for War to End All Wars, but even putting that aside, I read all five of the nominees, and I thought they were uniformly excellent. Interestingly, I thought Janis was the weak link, but only by a bit. In any case, they were all head and shoulders above the Freedman in terms of 1) (most importantly) pure narrative skill, and 2) attention to scholarly detail. Janis and Every Bone even blew Freedman away in his usual strength of format and design, in my opinion.

  4. Mark, the design on JANIS was fabulous. And I like the way Every Bone told several stories but they built strongly on each other. Not having read WAR, I’m hesitant to say why it wasn’t on the nominated list.