2016 YALSA nonfiction shortlist highlights Clinton, Lewis

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march-book-three-john-lewisNeed your YA nonfic fix? Then you might want to pick up one of the five titles shortlisted for the Young Adult Library Services Association’s (YALSA) annual nonfiction award. The books shortlisted for YALSA’s Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction award are Hillary Rodham Clinton: A Woman Living History by Karen Blumenthal; In The Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives by Kenneth C. Davis; March: Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell; Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela S. Turner; and This Land is Our Land: A History of American Immigration by Linda Barrett Osborne.

Active in politics from a young age, Hillary Clinton has maintained her commitment to public service while serving as First Lady of Arkansas and of the U.S, and as New York Senator and U.S. Secretary of State. Blumenthal presents an honest, well-rounded account that does not shy away from the aspects of Clinton’s life clouded by scandal and controversy, nor from the struggle of living in the public eye in Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In In The Shadow of Liberty, Davis looks at the relationship between five enslaved persons and the former presidents who considered them property. Utilizing personal narratives, census data, images, and other primary source material, this book explains a heartbreaking chapter in American history that is both fascinating and deeply disturbing.

Depicting the Civil Rights movement from fall of 1963 through the signing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, March: Book Three follows John Lewis of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and fellow activists as they carry out a series of nonviolent protests to overcome local barriers and exercise their right to vote. March: Book Three recently won the National Book Award for best young adult literature, making it a front-runner for the YALSA award.

Bushido, or samurai culture, has been widely explored in film and literature; in Samurai Rising, Turner highlights the tale of the “ultimate samurai,” Minamoto Yoshitsune, combining historical research with contemporary observations to make a compelling chronicle of Yoshitsune’s journey from child exile to immortal hero of legend.

In This Land is Our Land, immigrants arriving in the U.S. have, more often than not, been met with suspicion, anger, and prejudice. Opponents of immigration argue that immigrants take jobs away from U.S. citizens, don’t deserve to be here, and should be sent back to where they came from—a prevalent attitude that has target groups including Hispanics, the Irish, and Asians.

YALSA’s Award for Excellence in Nonfiction honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults. The winner will be announced at the American Library Association’s midwinter institute in Atlanta at the end of January.

All five books are available now.

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Nicole Brinkley

Nicole is the editor of YA Interrobang. She has short hair and loves dragons. The rest changes without notice. Follow her on Twitter at @nebrinkley or Tumblr at nebrinkley. Like her work? Leave her a tip.

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