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YALSA’s 2014 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge Begins!

yalsa morris nonfiction sealsIt’s official: there are now seven weeks until ALA’s Youth Media Awards, where the winners of the William C. Morris Award, the Award for Excellence in Nonfiction, and all of YALSA’s other book awards will be announced– so it’s time to start our Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge! We’re hoping the challenge will encourage you to read as many of these outstanding titles as possible.

Challenge objective Read all of the finalists for the William C. Morris Award for debut YA authors, all of the finalists for YALSA’s Award for Excellence in Nonfiction, or both between now and the Youth Media Awards on January 27.

Challenge rewards Beyond experiencing the best of the best that new YA authors and YA nonfiction have to offer, everyone who finishes the challenge may use what they read toward our 2014 Hub Reading Challenge. The Hub Reading Challenge includes prizes, so by participating in the Morris/Nonfiction challenge, you’re getting a head start on reading some of the best books published this year and you’re giving yourself an advantage in trying to win those prizes.

Challenge guidelines

  • The challenge begins at 8:00AM Eastern Time on December 9 and ends at 7:45AM Eastern Time on January 27.
  • Participants may count the reading they have done since the finalists for each award was announced last week (December 4th for the Morris and December 5th for the Nonfiction Award, to be exact). If you read one of the finalists before the announcement of the shortlist for that award, you must re-read it for it to count.
  • Participants may read either all of the finalists for the Morris Award, all of the finalists for the Nonfiction Award, or both. The challenge cannot be completed simply by picking five titles between the two lists; participants must read the entire list of finalists for one or both awards.
  • Just about everyone who doesn’t work for ALA is eligible to participate. That means non-ALA/YALSA members are eligible. Teens are eligible! Non-US residents/citizens are eligible! (More eligibility questions? Leave a comment or email us.)

How to participate

  • Ready to start reading? Great! Comment here announcing your intention to participate. If you’re going to be tracking what you read on your blog, Goodreads, LibraryThing, YouTube or some other site, include a link to your blog/shelf/channel/profile in your comment. If you’re not tracking your reading online, keep a list some other way.
  • Still undecided? It’s okay to take your time. You may register for the challenge by leaving a comment here and starting your reading any time during the challenge period.
  • Every Sunday, we’ll publish a check-in post. Leave a comment letting us know what you’ve read since the last check-in post. If you’ve reviewed those titles somewhere online, include links to those reviews! Otherwise, let us know what you thought of the books in the comments. We are eager to hear your thoughts.
  • If you’ve finished the challenge since the last check-in post, fill out the embedded form with your name and contact information. Please fill out the form only once.

If you have any questions or problems, let us know in the comments or via email. And if you want to talk about the challenge on Twitter, use the hashtag #hubchallenge. Happy reading!

-Allison Tran, currently reading The Nazi Hunters by Neal Bascomb

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Allison Tran

Past Member Manager for YALSA's The Hub. Passionate about information literacy, social media, and connecting readers with books they'll love.


  1. Jenn H. Jenn H.

    Planning to give it a shot. Starting today with Sex and Violence.

  2. Read all the titles from both lists last year for the challenge, so planning on doing the same again! I’m excited because this year I haven’t read any of them yet so no re-reads! I’m starting with “In the Shadow of Blackbirds” and “Courage Has No Color”. I’ll be keeping track on my blog and with this goodreads shelf .

  3. Sara Ray Sara Ray

    YAY! So excited! I think I’m going to do the non-fiction challenge again (even though I’m not too thrilled about the graphic design book since I haven’t received my copy yet). I loved the Morris titles but with a couple of other reading requirements underway, non-fiction may be easier and I can save the Morris books for the next challenge.

    Happy reading everyone!

  4. I’m in. Last year I only read the nonfiction list. This year I am challenging myself to read both lists. This truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

    I’ll be tracking my progress on my blog:

  5. Count me in! I’ll post updates on my blog: Writing ‘Bout Reading

    I’ve also created a 2014 Morris/Nonfiction Challenge book list on LibraryThing: AngelaCinVA’s books

  6. I’m in! Just started “In the Shadow of Blackbirds” the other day.

  7. Charles Charles

    Intent announced! Will be good to get a leg up on the Hub challenge this year. Goodreads shelf pending. Happy reading everyone!

  8. Maybe this year with the extra bump from these I can finish the Hub Reading Challenge! Can’t wait to get started

    • Will be using my Twitter to track @teenlibrarian1

  9. Stephanie DeVincentis Stephanie DeVincentis

    I’m so excited to read theMorris Nominees! I’ll probably catch a few of the NFAs too.

  10. Sheila Reid Sheila Reid

    Count me in!

  11. LeeAnn LeeAnn

    I’m in, too!

  12. This is my first YALSA challenge, I’m excited to give it a shot!!

    • Here is the link to my blog!

  13. Jenna Jenna

    Starting today and can’t wait!

  14. Rebecca King Rebecca King

    I’m in, want to get a jump start on the Hub Challenge this year! FYI, your link above goes to the 2012 lists for the Morris and Nonfiction awards.

  15. Liesl Liesl

    So I’m confused. Your links take you to two different set of lists. I clicked on the ones in the challenge guidelines but I have a feeling those are last year’s finalists. I finally saw two other links in the challenge objective that were different lists. I’ve never done this challenge before so want to make sure I’m reading the right books.

    • Allison Tran Allison Tran

      Well, that’s embarrassing! Thanks for catching it- the links have been fixed. Happy reading!

  16. Pam Pam

    I’ve been looking forward to this (and the larger challenge in the coming months) for ages! All my library reserves have already started to roll in!

  17. Elizabeth Elizabeth

    I’m in for both! Starting with Belle Epoque and Courage Has No Color!

  18. Grace DKL Grace DKL

    I’ve decided to give both a go! Right now I’m starting Belle Epoque, and I’m excited for The Nazi Hunters.

  19. Donna Donna

    I’m in, I’ll almost definitely finish the Morris Challenge, I’ve got all of the titles on hold – had to go through four library systems to find them all – but at least I have the luxury of being able to use four systems. I will do the non-fiction challenge if I can squeeze it in. I loved doing the Hub Challenge last year and am extremely excited that I will have an edge up on it this year!

  20. I need a reading challenge to motivate me through the cold winter days! Looking for good non-fiction to incorporate for common core! (!!)

  21. Starting this week! Got the books reserved at the public library, since my library only has two of the titles. :)

  22. Julie Trapp Julie Trapp

    Had a bonus on the first 2 days – no school due to weather – so got a good start.

  23. Heather Murfee Heather Murfee

    I’m excited to take this challenge for the first time! Courage Has No Color is the first on my list!

  24. Jennifer Annis Jennifer Annis

    I plan to give it a shot!

  25. Anna Taloma Anna Taloma

    I’m going to try for the William C. Morris Award. :)

  26. I’m in!! The plan is to complete all books for both lists. I’m starting with Sex & Violence.

  27. Amy Amy

    I’ll be doing the Morris finalists, for sure! I’m already almost done with In the Shadow of Blackbirds, which is a re-read for me, but totally worth it because I LOVE this book. I’ll be keeping track on my library’s blog, which is here: Either search for my name or for the phrase “hub challenge”.

  28. Brenda Schwarz Brenda Schwarz

    I am in and am excited to read new books I haven’t read before

  29. Laura Lehner Laura Lehner

    Starting late, but I’m in!

  30. Sharon Amastae Sharon Amastae

    I was able to locate almost all the books at my public library, so I’m in!

  31. Micah Micah

    Going to see what I can do. Off from school for a little bit so we shall see.

  32. Just finished BELLE EPOQUE, a Morris Award Finalist, and while I delighted in the setting and first half, the characters broke out of their historical mold and became too modern I lost some interest. Even so, I still rooted for them and some teens may enjoy it. Goodreads review here:

  33. Erica Christianson Erica Christianson

    Participated in the Morris Challenge last year and enjoyed stretching my reading list. So, I’m in again for this year. I’m also going to push myself further and go all in by also participating in the Nonfiction Challenge!

    My Morris List:
    My NF List:

  34. Susan Martinez Susan Martinez

    I’m starting the Morris list with Charm & Strange. Let’s see if I can read all 5 in a month…

  35. Sarah Sarah

    I’ll give it a shot, though I don’t expect to actually finish either, since I’ve already read one of the Morris finalists (and re-reads are very rare for me) and my library doesn’t own one of the others. And, my library does not own one of the Nonfiction titles either. But we’ll see how it goes.

  36. Lisa Hardey Lisa Hardey

    I want to give the William C. Morris nominations a shot!

  37. Carli Spina Carli Spina

    I’m going to give it a go! I plan to start with the fiction books and see if I have time for both lists.

  38. Julie Julie

    Back to school. Had almost 2 weeks to read. Thank goodness for intercounty library loans – needed that for 4 of the books.
    Finished: Sex & Violence (4/5)
    Dr.Bird’s Advice (3.5/5) – 2nd time reading this one
    In the Shadow of Blackbirds (3.5/5) not my comfort zone
    Courage has no Color (3/5)
    Have started the other 2 fiction books.

  39. I’m starting late but I’m jumping in. I can’t wait for The Hub challenge as well.

  40. Leesa Leesa

    I’ve made progress on both lists so far. I’m writing comments on my Goodreads page here .

    Read from Morris: In the Shadow of Blackbirds, Belle Epoque, Charm & Strange.
    Reading from Morris: Sex & Violence
    Read from non-fiction: The President Has Been Shot.
    Reading from non-fiction: The Nazi Hunters, Courage Has No Color.

    Fell short last year, hope to succeed this year! Thanks for providing this challenge. It brings books to my reading shelf that I would not otherwise find.

  41. Bonnie Davies Bonnie Davies

    I’m excited to participate in the challenge! Finished: Charm & Strange; Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets; Belle Epoque. Almost done with Sex & Violence. These books are great!

  42. Julie Julie

    Charm & Strange – 4.5/5 – not until page 106 did I get it. Great!
    The Nazi Hunters – 4/5 – I usually don’t like history, this was very interesting
    The Pres Has Been Shot – 3/5 – lived thru it, don’t need to read any more

    Thank goodness for interlibrary loans. Have 3 books of challenge left to read. I’ll make it. This will be my forum as I do not do Goodreads or any social media where my name is public. Sorry!

  43. Although I’ve been participating in the Challenge since it began on December 9th, I’m just now getting around to officially signing up!!

    I’m posting reviews on my Goodreads page.

  44. Officially signing up so late! But I’ve finished all 5 of the Morris titles as of today, so I will likewise check-in on the latest post.

    Link above is my shelf on Goodreads. Reviews are forthcoming!

  45. Julie Julie

    One book to go – I will make both lists.
    This weekend finished the last fiction book. “Belle Epoque” was the best of them all. Quite a different subject matter, but it was a great book.
    ALso finished “Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During WW II”. It was okay. Did learn things I didn’t already know.
    Now if I can just find “Go”, I will be done.

  46. Julie Julie

    I made it – had to go to a book store on both weekend days and read “Go” since library didn’t get it to me on time. A quick read, but as an adult I learned a lot. Graphic design is presented so anyone can understand it. Will look at visual images differently now. Good projects at the end. Looking forward to Hub Challenge next month.

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