Monday, December 21, 2009

A Merry Christmas for Nonfiction Writers

Every year my mother would give at least one BC, a Before Christmas present. Sometimes it was a pair of PJs to wear on Christmas Eve, or an extra present that needed to be given early in order to even out the gifts on Christmas morning. One year my BC was a shiny pair of Maryjanes that I wore to the midnight service like Cinderella with her glass slippers.

This year all nonfiction writers got a BC. ALA Young Adult Library Services announced the creation of a new award for young adult nonfiction. What a wonderful and much-needed opportunity to highlight high quality exciting true stories that otherwise might linger unnoticed by the general public. If you are like me and are not on the list this year you might wonder why it is a BC for all. It is a gift because shining a light on these titles will also compel publishers to pay more attention to the design and production of nonfiction, and that will benefit all of us. And someday you may be on the list and that will make for a very happy New Year indeed!

The first finalists are:

"Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream," by Tanya Lee Stone, published by Candlewick Press.

"Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith," by Deborah Heiligman, published by Henry Holt. (a personal favorite - the committee looked beyond the lack of visual design and took note of Heiligman's voice, writing and research.)

"Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice," by Phillip Hoose, published by Farrar Straus Giroux.

"The Great and Only Barnum: The Tremendous and Stupendous Life of the Showman P.T. Barnum," by Candace Fleming, published by Random House.

"Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland," by Sally M. Walker, published by Carolrhoda Books.

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