Category Description: Junior/Senior High Nonfiction

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 they used to read in school to help with homework–today’s authors understand how important a great nonfiction piece of writing is to both students and teachers, both for the learning opportunities in school and outside 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–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, authors have the ultimate responsibility of bringing 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 Junior High/Senior High Nonfiction category is the best of the best in nonfiction. At least 50% should be narrative nonfiction–something that “reads like a story.”. It might include informational graphics, pop out boxes, an index, good citations, and more.  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!

We’ve broken YA into two age categories and are awarding Junior High and Senior High separately. How do I decide which category to nominate in?

  • Junior High Nonfiction: Intended for readers in 6th-8th grade
  • Senior High Nonfiction: Intended for readers in 9th-12th grade

— Stepanie Charlefour, Category Chair