Today's a big day in book-world: the ALA's Youth Media Awards are announced today at 7:45 AM Pacific Time - it's more than possible that you're reading this after the award winners have already been announced! Be sure to check out the link for a list of all the awards being presented today - the big ones are, of course, the Printz and Newbery awards, but 17 other awards are announced today as well, including the YALSA award for excellence in nonfiction for young adults. This review marks the completion of my goal to read and review all five of the nominees in that award, so I'm definitely excited to see which of these worthy titles win!
Every Bone Tells a Story looks at four significant discoveries of ancient bodies, and what these bodies can tell us about how Earth and humans have evolved over millions of years.
Each discovery is given its own chapter, and each chapter is divided into the same four sections: Discovery, Deductions, Debates and Further Reading. Additionally, there's also a page or so of speculation opening the chapter, presenting a possible account of how the person died.
The text is simple and straight forward, making this title accessible to a wide range of readers. Perhaps my favorite part of the book were the debates section of each discovery, just for the wide range of debates presented. Sometimes they're academic and scientific debates - did neanderthals and early humans co-exist enough to inter-breed? When did true language develop? But in the case of Kennewick man, serious ethical debates arose about the possibility of his identity as a Native American, and a little bit of the history of European settlers desecrating the remains of Native Americans and the ongoing struggle many Native tribes are facing to ensure the bones of their ancestors are treated with the proper respect.
My other reviews for YALSA nonfiction nominees:
- Janis Joplin Rise Up Singing by Ann Angel
- They Called Themselves the K.K.K. by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
- Spies of Mississippi by Rick Bowers
- The Dark Game by Paul B. Janeczko
2010 was an excellent year for nonfiction. I'm so happy I got involved with Nonfiction Monday as it has really encouraged me to seek out nonfiction and gives me a constant source of new nonfiction recommendations.
As for award predictions...I'm usually terrible at these, but I'll take a stab this time. It's going to be either Every Bone Tells a Story or They Called Themselves the K.K.K., but I think my favorite book of this list is The Dark Game. However since my favorites rarely actually win the big awards, we'll see what happens.
Nonfiction enthusiasts should also be on the lookout for the announcement of the Sibert medal, which is for informational books for audiences birth through 14.This week's Nonfiction Monday is hosted by Tales from the Rushmore Kid. Be sure to stop by to check out the other great nonfiction highlighted this week!