All Iowa Reads
Find out more about All Iowa Reads:
Adult Committee Chair:
Teen and Kids Committee Chair:
Established in 2003, the purpose of All Iowa Reads is to foster a sense of unity through reading. Iowans are encouraged to come together in their communities to read and talk about a single book title in the same calendar year. All Iowa Reads consists of three programs, each with one title chosen per year: adults, teens ages 12-18, and kids ages 8-12.
Libraries, book clubs, schools and other local organizations are encouraged to sponsor discussions of the titles. See the information below for current and past selections as well as materials including book reviews, discussion questions, author bios, and publicity materials to help libraries and groups prepare successful discussions.
2023 All Iowa Reads Selections
Adult Program Selection:
How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu
In 2030, a grieving archeologist arrives in the Arctic Circle to continue the work of his recently deceased daughter at the Batagaika Crater, where researchers are studying long-buried secrets now revealed in melting permafrost, including the perfectly preserved remains of a girl who appears to have died of an ancient virus.
Once unleashed, the Arctic plague will reshape life on Earth for generations to come, quickly traversing the globe, forcing humanity to devise a myriad of moving and inventive ways to embrace possibility in the face of tragedy. In a theme park designed for terminally ill children, a cynical employee falls in love with a mother desperate to hold on to her infected son. A heartbroken scientist searching for a cure finds a second chance at fatherhood when one of his test subjects—a pig—develops the capacity for human speech. A widowed painter and her teenage granddaughter embark on a cosmic quest to locate a new home planet.
From funerary skyscrapers to hotels for the dead to interstellar starships, Sequoia Nagamatsu takes readers on a wildly original and compassionate journey, spanning continents, centuries, and even celestial bodies to tell a story about the resilience of the human spirit, our infinite capacity to dream, and the connective threads that tie us all together in the universe.
Teen (ages 12-18) Program Selection:
Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley
Eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. She dreams of a fresh start at college, but when family tragedy strikes, Daunis puts her future on hold to look after her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the cute, charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team.
Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into an FBI investigation of a lethal new drug.
Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, drawing on her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to track down the source. But the search for truth is more complicated than Daunis imagined, exposing secrets and old scars. At the same time, she grows concerned with an investigation that seems more focused on punishing the offenders than protecting the victims.
Now, as the deceptions―and deaths―keep growing, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go for her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.
Kids (ages 8-12) Program Selection:
The Golden Hour by Niki Smith
Struggling with anxiety after witnessing a harrowing instance of gun violence, Manuel Soto copes through photography, using his cell-phone camera to find anchors that keep him grounded. His days are a lonely, latchkey monotony until he's teamed with his classmates, Sebastian and Caysha, for a group project.
Sebastian lives on a grass-fed cattle farm outside of town, and Manuel finds solace in the open fields and in the antics of the newborn calf Sebastian is hand-raising. As Manuel aids his new friends in their preparations for the local county fair, he learns to open up, confronts his deepest fears, and even finds first love.
All Iowa Reads is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the State Library of Iowa.