2021 Nonfiction Award Finalists Selection Process

With the recent release of the 2021 Nonfiction Award Finalists, we want to be transparent (while respecting confidentiality) about the award’s criteria and selection process. The process for the Nonfiction Award selection is a rigorous task.  The Nonfiction Award Committee is charged with recognizing the best in the field of nonfiction books. With that in mind, each meeting is conducted with a thorough review of the purpose and eligibility requirements, with a particular emphasis on excellent writing, research, presentation, and readability for young adults. All finalists are vetted through a year-long process following YALSA’s protocol.

For the past several years, YALSA has been utilizing an EDI (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) lens to transform the foundation upon which YALSA’s policies and procedures are built. As part of the year-round virtual work undertaken by the board, they recently identified the need to re-evaluate all volunteer groups’ charge, including all book awards’ and selection lists’ evaluation criteria for nominated titles according to YALSA’s EDI Statement and EDI Plan, which is embedded within YALSA’s current interim strategic plan. The YALSA Board’s interim strategic plan’s goal is that “100% of all programs, products, events, and education will support YALSA’s statement on EDI.”

YALSA Board at #alaac18: Book Awards and Lists in Light of #MeToo

The YALSA board will hold a discussion at #alaac18 about YALSA’s book awards and lists in light of #metoo. I have been a member of the Printz, Odyssey, and Alex Award committees and am bringing this topic to the YALSA board for discussion and possible action.

The #MeToo movement exploded in Fall 2017, when women and some men collectively began to speak out against abusers and harassers. The movement carried over to the young adult publishing world in February 2018 via an article in School Library Journal that led to hundreds of comments to the article indicating certain authors and publisher representatives as harassers or abusers.

YALSA and its board extend their compassion to those harmed by abusers and harassers and commends those for speaking up, while at the same time also extending support to those who were also harmed but remain silent.
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