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18th of November 2018


The 2018 National Book Awards Longlist: Young People’s Literature

This week, The New Yorker will be announcing the longlists for the 2018 National Book Awards. This morning, we present the ten contenders in the category of Young People’s Literature. Check back this afternoon for Translated Literature.

The book “Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam,” by Elizabeth Partridge, chronicles one of the most controversial periods in American history through the lives of eight people—six American soldiers, a nurse, and a Vietnamese refugee. Partridge intersperses these personal stories with chapters about the political scene in the United States, crafting a portrait of the human toll of war.

“Boots on the Ground” is the only work of nonfiction longlisted for this year’s National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, but several fiction contenders feature young protagonists narrating some of the great injustices of history. There is “What the Night Sings,” by the illustrator Vesper Stamper, about a teen-age survivor of the Holocaust, “A Very Large Expanse of Sea,” by Tahereh Mafi, about a young Muslim girl growing up and facing prejudice in the aftermath of 9/11, and “The Journey of Little Charlie,” by Christopher Paul Curtis, about a white sharecropper’s son reckoning with the implications of slavery. This year’s selections address weighty topics like addiction, sexual assault, war, and incarceration. Previously, M. T. Anderson won a National Book Award, and Elizabeth Partridge was a finalist. For the other nine authors, this is a first.

The full list is below.

Elizabeth Acevedo, “The Poet X”HarperTeen / HarperCollins Publishers

M. T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin, “The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge”Candlewick Press

Bryan Bliss, “We’ll Fly Away”Greenwillow Books / HarperCollins Publishers

Leslie Connor, “The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle”Katherine Tegen Books / HarperCollins Publishers

Christopher Paul Curtis, “The Journey of Little Charlie”Scholastic Press / Scholastic, Inc.

Jarrett J. Krosoczka, “Hey, Kiddo”Graphix / Scholastic, Inc.

Tahereh Mafi, “A Very Large Expanse of Sea”HarperTeen / HarperCollins Publishers

Joy McCullough, “Blood Water Paint”Dutton Children’s Books / Penguin Random House

Elizabeth Partridge, “Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam”Viking Children’s Books / Penguin Random House

Vesper Stamper, “What the Night Sings”Knopf Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House

The judges for the category this year are Robin Benway, whose book “Far From the Tree” won the 2017 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature; Lamar Giles, the author of “Fake ID” and a founding member of the nonprofit organization We Need Diverse Books; Grace Worcester Greene, who has spent her career working at libraries with and for young people; Valerie Koehler, the owner of the Blue Willow Bookshop, in west Houston; and Mitali Perkins, the author of numerous books, most recently “You Bring the Distant Near.”

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