Young Adult Nonfiction is experiencing a boon in great books. It is true that there is definitely more interest in great nonfiction, especially if you have a child in school, and that school district uses common core. Not known for being as glamorous as the fiction categories, for this librarian, great nonfiction is as much of a treat as any fiction book on any good day. Parents from previous generations may remember nonfiction as being that dry boring stuff they had to reading school—so much so, they rather go to the dentist office than sit down and read it. That is so not the case now! We are fortunate that authors understand how important a great nonfiction piece of writing is to both the students and teachers, both for the learning opportunities in school, but for outside the school walls.
A great nonfiction can sweep readers away to far off lands, different time periods and have you walk the shoes of someone else’s life as easily as fiction–only for in our case, these people, lands and events really took place. Young adult readers do not need to be lectured, they want the information presented to them so they can make informed decisions for themselves. Because of this, the authors have the ultimate responsibility of bringing the truth alive to these discerning readers–do not try to sugar coat, lie or belittle or you will lose them instantly. Young adult nonfiction readers will not and should not shy away from controversial topics, they rely on accurate and up-to-date information to help them form opinions on what matters most to them. While some topics are not easily discussed, we need these resources so they have a safe place to turn to for the information they seek.
What we are looking for in Young Adult Nonfiction category is the best of the best in narrative nonfiction. Narrative nonfiction reads so much like a story that you have to stop and consider whatever or not you are truly reading a story because it blends information in such a way that it reads like a story. It will include informational graphics, pop out boxes, an index and other informational clues where appropriate to add valuable information. While how-to nonfiction and textbooks are fantastic in some cases, for CYBILS purposes, that is not what we are looking for so please do not nominate them. If you have read or written an engaging narrative nonfiction book for those in seventh through twelfth grades, we would love for you to nominate them for Young Adult Nonfiction!
— Stephanie Charlefour