Novels may get all the glory, but we know that truth is stranger than fiction any day of the week. We’re currently in a golden age of nonfiction. Forget the dry stuff we read in school to help with our homework–today’s 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.
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 Middle Grade/Young Adult Nonfiction category is the best of the best in nonfiction. At least 50% should be 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 might include informational graphics, pop out boxes, an index, good citation 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 fifth through twelfth grades, we would love for you to nominate them for Young Adult Nonfiction!
This year, we’re awarding Upper Middle Grade and YA separately.
How do I decide which category to nominate in?
Upper Middle Grade Nonfiction
Intended for readers in 5th-7th grade
Young Adult Nonfiction
Intended for readers in 8th-12th grade