Outstanding Non-Fiction Books for Young Adults

 

Every year, the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) selects the best non-fiction for young adults.  The following titles were winners in 2016 and 2017 and are available through the library.

Book cover of Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series
by Eliot Asinof
Recounts the fixing of the 1919 World Series, covering events from the first meetings between White Sox players and gamblers to the 1921 trial and its aftermath – (Baker & Taylor)
Book cover of T. Rex and the Crater of Doom T. Rex and the Crater of Doom
by Walter Alvarez
Geologist Alvarez presents the development of the impact theory of dinosaur extinction as the adventure/mystery it was.
Book cover of Art Attack: A Short Cultural History of the Avant-Garde Art Attack: A Short Cultural History of the Avant-Garde
by Marc Aronson
Discover everything you ever wanted to know about bohemians, hipsters, and the development of the world's most radical art.
The Joy of Music
by Leonard Bernstein
Bernstein describes all aspects of classical music.
Book cover of In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle
by Madeleine Blais
Learn about the year of heart, sweat, and muscle that transformed the Amherst Lady Hurricanes basketball team into state champions.
Book cover of The Secret Family: Twenty-four Hours Inside the Mysterious World of Our Minds and Bodies The Secret Family: Twenty-four Hours Inside the Mysterious World of Our Minds and Bodies
by David Bodanis
The unseen world around us and within our bodies is shown in vivid detail as we follow a typical family through their day.
Book cover of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West
by Dee Brown
There's another side of America's western expansion: the one seen through Native American eyes.
Book cover of The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls
by Kenneth Brumberg
The historical evolution of body perception has turned the value system of American girls inside out.
Civilisation: A Personal View
by Kenneth Clark
Clark explores history through the works, impulses, and beliefs of the great creative individuals of Western civilization.
Book cover of What to Listen For in Music What to Listen For in Music
by Aaron Copland
The composer provides a basic introduction to the mysteries of musical composition and music appreciation.
Book cover of The Search for King Arthur The Search for King Arthur
by David Day
Discover through magnificent illustrations and romantic retellings what is fact and what is legend about this fifth-century hero.
Book cover of Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
by Jared Diamond
Diamond contends that these three factors determined the course of world power throughout history.
Book cover of The Broken Cord The Broken Cord
by Michael Dorris
The persistent physical and emotional problems of his adopted son baffled the author until he learned the condition had a name: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
Book cover of The Measure of Our success: A Letter to My Children and Yours The Measure of Our success: A Letter to My Children and Yours
by Marion Wright Edelman
A child advocate shares her thoughts on values, raising families, and the future of our country.
Book cover of The Art of Living: The Classic Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness The Art of Living: The Classic Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness
by Epictetus
 A modern interpretation of the Stoic philosopher answers the timeless questions of how to be a good person and live a good life
Book cover of Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women
by Susan Faludi
This unflinching analysis examines the current status of American women.
Book cover of How to Look at Sculpture: Text and Photographs How to Look at Sculpture: Text and Photographs
by David Finn
To understand sculpture, you have to know what to look for.
Book cover of The Voices of AIDS: Twelve Unforgettable People Talk About How AIDS Has Changed Their Lives The Voices of AIDS: Twelve Unforgettable People Talk About How AIDS Has Changed Their Lives
by Michael Thomas Ford
Individuals whose AIDS experiences have been catalysts for making a difference share their poignant and personal stories.
Book cover of Next of Kin: What Chimpanzees Have Taught Me About Who We Are Next of Kin: What Chimpanzees Have Taught Me About Who We Are
by Roger Fouts
Describing his career of communicating with chimpanzees, Fouts explains evolutionary, genetic, and emotional bonds with our next of kin.
Book cover of Father Greg & the Homeboys: The Extraordinary Journey of Father Greg Boyle and His Work With the Latino Gangs of East L.A. Father Greg & the Homeboys: The Extraordinary Journey of Father Greg Boyle and His Work With the Latino Gangs of East L.A.
by Celeste Fremon
Conscience, parent, motivator, drill sergeant: Father Greg was all this and more to the gangbangers who called his barrio parish community home.
Book cover of On Wings of Joy: The Story of Ballet from the 16th Century to Today On Wings of Joy: The Story of Ballet from the 16th Century to Today
by Trudy Garfunkel
Fascinating history, dancers, choreographers, and stories: here is everything that has helped create this wonderful art form.
Book cover of The Mismeasure of Man The Mismeasure of Man
by Stephen Jay Gould
Gould's history of the attempt to quantify intelligence could be called the “misuse of science.”
Book cover of The Story of Art The Story of Art
by E. H. Gombrich
Everything from cave paintings to the experimental art of today is covered, in words and pictures, in this sixteenth edition of one of the most famous and popular art books ever published.
Book cover of Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet
by Katie Hafner
The origins of the world's first computer network are explained, with tales of the motivations, breakthroughs, and personalities that created it.
Book cover of Mythology Mythology
by Edith Hamilton
Gods and heroes, their clashes and adventures, come alive in this splendid retelling of the Greek, Roman, and Norse myths.
Book cover of Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes
by Stephen Hawking
Cosmology becomes understandable as the author discusses the origin, evolution, and fate of our universe.
Book cover of A Tribe Apart: A Journey into the Heart of American Adolescences A Tribe Apart: A Journey into the Heart of American Adolescences
by Patricia Hersch
An intimate three-year journey through contemporary adolescence with eight “typical” teens reveals a separate culture spawned not from personal choice, but rather from adult alienation and abandonment.
Book cover of Hiroshima Hiroshima
by John Hersey
Six Hiroshima survivors reflect on the aftermath of the first atomic bomb.
Book cover of No Matter How Loud I Shout: A Year in the Life of Juvenile Court No Matter How Loud I Shout: A Year in the Life of Juvenile Court
by Edward Humes
Humes paints a tragic and heartbreaking portrait of the chaos characterizing America's juvenile justice system where, as one inmate writes, “my screams have no voice, no matter how loud I shout.”
Book cover of A Country Year: Living the Questions A Country Year: Living the Questions
by Sue Hubbell
A former wife and librarian observes her natural surroundings during a year spent as a beekeeper on a beautiful Ozark farm.
Book cover of Say It Loud! The Story of Rap Music Say It Loud! The Story of Rap Music
by K. Maurice Jones
From a village in West Africa to a street in Brooklyn, to MTV, rappers make the Scene.
Book cover of The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea
by Sebastian Junger
Haunting premonitions didn't save seven fisherman from the ferocious and deadly power of the sea.
Book cover of Where She Danced Where She Danced
by Elizabeth Kendall
The contributions of major innovators and the conditions of their times are the basis for this history of modern American dance.
Book cover of The Other Side of the River: A Story of Two Towns, a Death, and America's Dilemma The Other Side of the River: A Story of Two Towns, a Death, and America's Dilemma
by Alex Kotlowitz
Geographically, only a river separates two closely neighboring towns, but the murder mystery surrounding the death of a young black man exposes a deeply rooted racial divide.
Book cover of Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools
by Jonathan Kozol
Kozol's stinging indictment of America's public school system advocates an equal distribution of per pupil funding to right the gross inequities in our current system.
Book cover of Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster
by John Krakauer
His dream expedition to Everest became a nightmare when human error and a sudden storm combined to claim the lives of some of the world's best mountain climbers.
Book cover of Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
by Scott McCloud
A comic book asks and answers the question of whether or not comics are a literary form.
Book cover of In Suspect Terrain In Suspect Terrain
by John McPhee
Traveling along I-80 with geologist Anita Harris, McPhee describes the geologic features that reveal the history of the Appalachians.
Book cover of Stomping the Blues Stomping the Blues
by Albert Murray
An aficionado gives the lowdown on what it is and its origins.
Book cover of The Joy of Sects: A Spirited Guide to the World's Religious Traditions The Joy of Sects: A Spirited Guide to the World's Religious Traditions
by Peter Occhiogrosso
This lively, easy to understand guidebook is for everyone from the faithful believer to the curious doubter.
Book cover of ABC of Architecture ABC of Architecture
by James F. O'Gorman
Function, structure, and beauty are the interdependent basics — the ABC — of architecture.
Book cover of Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and its Consequences Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and its Consequences
by John Allen Paulos
Paulos illustrates the importance of understanding and the consequences of misunderstanding mathematical concepts in everyday life.
Book cover of The Telling of the World: Native American Stories and Art The Telling of the World: Native American Stories and Art
by W. S. Penn, editor
Traditional and contemporary legends, stories, and art from many tribes explain our world and its lifeforms.
Book cover of Invention by Design: How Engineers Get From Thought to Thing Invention by Design: How Engineers Get From Thought to Thing
by Henry Petroski
Using examples from paper clips to monumental bridges, Petroski shows how engineers work.
Book cover of Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls
by Mary Pipher
Pipher looks at societal “girl poisoning” and the emotional and psychological havoc it wreaks on the lives of young women.
Book cover of The Most Beautiful House in the World The Most Beautiful House in the World
by Witold Rybczynski
The author's dream of building a boat evolves into the building of a home, a process he uses to explain complex architectural ideas.
Book cover of A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam
by Neil Sheehan
A soldier exposes the corruption undermining the American war effort in Vietnam.
Book cover of The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood
by Simon, David and Edward Burns
Crack owns this corner and infects the lives of all those within reach.
Book cover of Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time
by Dava Sobel
A self-taught eighteenth-century English clockmaker succeeded where the scientific community failed.
Book cover of The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in Art History From Prehistoric to Post-Modern The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in Art History From Prehistoric to Post-Modern
by Carol Strickland and John Boswell
From cave paintings to conceptual art, art history is demystified.
Book cover of African Exodus: The Origins of Modern Humanity African Exodus: The Origins of Modern Humanity
by Christopher Stringer and Robin McKie
The authors support the theory of a single origin of modern humanity with paleoanthropological, archaeological, and DNA evidence.
Book cover of The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher
by Lewis Thomas
These essays offer an optimistic scientist's view of a wide variety of subjects.
Book cover of Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965 Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965
by Juan Williams
From Brown v. the Board of Education to the Voting Rights Act, Williams outlines the social and political gains of African Americans.
Book cover of Favorite Folktales from Around the World Favorite Folktales from Around the World
by Jane Yolen, editor
This collection of international folktales provides an understanding of the roots of diverse cultures.