The YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction honors the best nonfiction book published for young adults (ages 12-18) during a Nov. 1 – Oct. 31 publishing year. The award winner will be announced at the ALA Midwinter Meeting Youth Media (YMA) Awards on Monday, Feb. 2, 2015. Join us for a live webcast of the YMA Awards press conference or follow I Love Libraries on Twitter or Facebook to be among the first to know the 2015 winners. The official hashtag for the 2015 Youth Media Awards is #ALAyma.
Steve Sheinkin has written screenplays, made films, edited and written textbooks, and now he writes full time, creating some of the most fascinating and fun to read nonfiction books for people of any age. These books include The Notorious Benedict Arnold : A True Story of Adventure, Heroism, and Treachery (winner of the 2012 YALSA Award for Excellent in Nonfiction award) and BOMB: The Race to Build -and Steal- The World’s Most Dangeous Weapon (winner of the 2013 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction award, as well as a National Book Award finalist, a Newbery honor book, and a Robert A. Siebert medalist) His book The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights is a finalist this year for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction.
Congratulations on being a YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction finalist! What was your reaction on hearing the news? Will you be attending ALA Midwinter in Chicago? Going to the YALSA Award program and presentation?
Thanks so much! Of course, it was very exciting to get the news that The Port Chicago 50 was a finalist. I always become pretty obsessed with the stories I’m researching, but this one feels especially personal, because of the friends I’ve made along the way, and because I’m so glad to be helping to keep this story alive. I won’t be at ALA in Chicago, but will be following developments closely.
How did you first hear about men who were the Port Chicago 50? Was it through Robert Allen’s book or some other way? (I read on your blog about Mr. Allen; thank you for introducing me to his work.)
I first heard of the story while researching a previous book, Bomb. My brother–in-law, Eric, told me about this wacky conspiracy theory – in short, that the first atomic test was not in New Mexico in 1945, as recorded in official history, but actually in a place called Port Chicago, California, a year earlier. It sounded crazy, so of course I was interested. I started researching, and quickly found out that the true story behind the disastrous explosion and subsequent civil rights showdown at Port Chicago was far better than any Internet theory. My research quickly led to Robert Allen’s work, and his willingness to share the interviews he did with participants back in the 1970s gave me priceless material to work with. Continue reading 2015 Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults: An Interview with finalist Steve Sheinkin