I’ve been out and about the last few weeks talking to writers, teachers, librarians and students. Almost all of you have asked what makes good young adult nonfiction. I think it’s the narrative thread or the passion and voice of the narrator as s/he tells a STORY that just happens to be real. I’ll be speaking more about that this coming weekend when I talk with Minnesota teachers and librarians. (I love the part where I get to tell my audiences that I wrote about Janis Joplin in Janis Joplin Rise Up Singing from the perspective of a teen with a fan crush. She was my flawed hero and my cautionary tale.) But I also wrote about Amy Tan from the perspective of connecting mothers and daughters and I wrote about the great YA novelist and one of the most censored authors, Robert Cormier, from the perspective of what it’s like to grow up with a gentle dad who tells earthshattering stories. Each narrative perspective is different and it drives the story arc. If you want to learn more about this, you might be interested in The Children’s Literature Network website.
But I imagine you’re all going to want to know about more great nonfiction books than I could possibly provide in a short session so I’m listing a few links here for them and for you. Happy reading!
Popular Teen Nonfiction from Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/teennonfictionpage=1
And don’t forget to look up books that carry the YALSA Excellence in nonfiction award. (I humbly admit the cover of Janis Joplin, Rise Up Singing wears a good sticker.)
YALSA Award-winning Nonfiction 2012: http://www.ala.org/yalsa/nonfiction-award#current (You can also be re-directed to previous award winners)
Of course you can browse bookstore lists. But these are two places that provide a thoroughly great start on nonfiction titles for your shelves. Happy reading!!