One of the reasons I love working with teens and kids is that their books are so awesome. There are so many amazing authors in YA right now, from John Green to Holly Black to Stephanie Perkins. I could spend all day, every day reading amazing YA lit and still not even make a dent in my to-read pile. That's not even mentioning the great kidslit out there, including Rebecca Stead and Catherynn Valente. ' Just thinking about all the books and authors I want to read makes me giddy.

So, in terms of reading, I'm a pretty busy lady. As you all know, librarians don't really get to sit around reading every day, so I have to squeeze in what I can during lunches, after work, and on my commute (don't worry, that's an audiobook happening there). With all of the pressure to keep up with popular authors and series, I sometimes forget about all the books over in ol' Dewey. I mean, I know they're cool (probably. maybe? definitely.), but nonfiction just seems less appealing when I'm plucking my next book to read off my stack of library tomes. I know that connecting to all types of books - nonfiction included - is just as important as connecting to readers and community members when serving teens successfully.

Because of my aversion to the facts, I was pretty excited to take advantage of the YALSA Nonfiction Reading Challenge. The idea of gamifying my reading appealed to me, and the Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction committee already did the legwork of picking out some of the best books of the year. Thanks, guys!

I plunged right in and started reading the nonfiction titles, which range from a biography about Steve Jobs to a book about the Birmingham children's marches. All of the topics wouldn't have appealed to me without the challenge, but once I started reading each book, I was enthralled. Hearing the full story of Jobs' rise, and fall, and rise again! at Apple gave me a better understanding of the tech news I like to read. Learning about shorebirds made me realize even more the impact of disappearing environments. The Titanic, which I've never really given one whit about, enthralled me as I read about people who spent hours in icy water.

Reading five books for the challenge was pretty much the easiest way I've diversified my reading this year. Just having an idea of some of the awesome nonfiction titles out there has made me more eager to go over to that side of the library, and I've already been able to recommend several of the titles to patrons!

If you haven't joined the challenge yet, don't worry! The Best of the Best Challenge from the Hub will be coming up soon, and it will include the Morris Award, the Nonfiction Award, and more. I would recommend that anyone who is looking to spice up reading their and connect to titles (and teens) they might not otherwise take a chance on - check it out!

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