The first of the National Book Awards longlists was released today. The nominees for young people’s literature include a range of authors from debuts to multiple award winners. Most are novels, but also included are one nonfiction title and a graphic novel.
All the titles have been reviewed by the pre-pub media with most receiving multiple stars.
Each year the judging panel includes a librarian. Teri Lesesne fills that position this year. She teaches Library Science at Sam Houston State University, is the author of Reading Ladders:Leading Students from Where They Are to Where We’d Like Them to Be and blogs as “The Goddess of YA Literature.”
Also on the panel are authors John Joseph Adams (two-time winner of the Hugo Award and series editor of Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy), Laura McNeal (her novel Dark Water was a finalist for the 2010 National Book Award), G. Neri (he won the 2011 Coretta Scott King Honor Award for his graphic novel Yummy), and Eliot Schrefer (two-time finalist for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature for Endangered and Threatened).
The five finalists will be announced on Oct. 14. The winner will be announced on Nov. 18.
Tomorrow, the longlist for Poetry will be announced, followed by Nonfiction on Wednesday, and the final list, for Fiction on Thursday
The 2015 National Book Award Young People’s Literature Longlist
Becky Albertalli, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray)
Starred by Booklist, Bulletin of Ctr for Child Bks, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, it also got an A from Entertainment Weekly., saying, “Adults who read this coming-out/coming-of-age novel will probably wish it had been around when they were kids … Worthy of Fault in Our Stars-level obsession.”
Deliciously funny, recommend this to all those adults who have been filling the hold shelves with YA titles by Johh Green, Sarah Dessen, and David Levithan.
M.T. Anderson, Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad (Candlewick Press)
Starred by Booklist, Kirkus, School Library Journal
This M.T. Anderson title has been on YA must-read piles ever since galleys were released. Already a NBA winner for Octavian Nothing, Anderson here turns his storytelling gifts to narrative non-fiction. Well researched with fascinating details that manage to not bog down the story. YA
Ali Benjamin, The Thing About Jellyfish (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Starred by Booklist, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal
Seventh-grader Suzy is trying to cope with the sudden death of an old friend. Her shock and grief are palpable as she wades through overwhelming feelings and still navigate the uncertain, unkind world of Middle School. Ages 12 and up.
Rae Carson, Walk on Earth a Stranger (HarperCollins /Greenwillow),
Starred by Booklist and Publishers Weekly
The first in a new trilogy from the author of The Girl of Fire and Thorns, sets the stage for an eminently readable historical/fantasy with sweeping narrative, unexpected plot twists and empathetic characters.
Gary Paulsen, This Side of Wild: Mutts, Mares, and Laughing Dinosaurs (S&S)
Those who thought that Puppies, Dogs, and Blue Northers: Reflections on Being Raised by a Pack of Sled Dogs was Paulsen’s best book will be delighted that he brings his raconteur style back to the campfire.
Laura Ruby, Bone Gap (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray)
Starred by Booklist, Kirkus , Publishers Weekly with the audio starred by Audio File
Laura Ruby is already well-known to YA and children’s librarians, but this is her break out book, a narrative tour-de-force that draws readers into a very different but familiar fantasy world.
Ilyasah Shabazz, with Kekla Magoon, X: A Novel (Candlewick Press)
Starred by Booklist, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal and Horn Book. Reviewed in the New York Times.
With A Rock in the River an award-winning debut novel, Kekla Magoon provided an inside glimpse into the Civil Rights movement. Her historical fiction Fire in the Street reveals the lives of those who were Black Panthers. Teaming with Shabazz Malcolm X’s daughter (Growing up X) the authors look at how the young Malcolm Little became Malcolm X.
Steve Sheinkin, Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War (Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press)
Starred by Booklist, Horn Book, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal
Sheinkin has won multiple awards for his compelling informational books including The Bomb and Port Chicago (both were finalists for this award). Here, he takes on the transformation of one man during one of the most turbulent times in United States History, the war in Vietnam.
Neal Shusterman, Challenger Deep (HarperCollins)
Starred by Booklist, Bulletin of Ctr for Child Bks, Horn Book, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal
Shusterman has a gift for tackling big issues through story (Unwind). Here he creates a compelling novel that explores a 14-year-old schizophrenic’s decent into terrifying illness.
Noelle Stevenson, Nimona (HarperTeen/HarperCollins Children’s Books)
Starred by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal
This mash-up sets fairytale archetypes on their ears, featuring a bloodthirsty shape-shifter Nimona and her anti-hero boss. Founded as a web comic, the first three chapters are available on-line.