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The 2018 National Book Awards Longlist: Young People’s 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

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