All Iowa Reads Selection Process & Requirements

All Iowa Reads titles are selected by two committees of volunteers; one committee selects the title for adults and the other selects the titles for kids and teens. Members of the committees read widely, seeking books with broad appeal. In a series of meetings, members discuss possibilities that meet the criteria listed below. The list is narrowed to approximately five titles which are read by all members. Members provide their honest impressions independent of outside influence, and the final selection is made by consensus.

Criteria for the Adult All Iowa Reads Title

The adult All Iowa Reads title must:

  • Raise universal social issues relevant to Iowans
  • Lend itself to sustained, spirited, and in-depth discussion
  • Be available by January 1 of the selection year in a variety of accessible formats
  • Strike a balance between literary merit and broad appeal
  • Have an Iowa or Midwest connection

The All Iowa Reads committee strives to make a selection from an inclusive group of titles which reflect a diverse readership. The committee continually reevaluates selection criteria and updates as needed.

Criteria for the Kids All Iowa Reads and Teen All Iowa Reads Titles

The All Iowa Reads titles for kids and teens will each:

  • Raise universal social issues relevant to Iowans
  • Be inclusive and reflect a diverse readership
  • Strike a balance between literary merit and youth appeal for middle grade fiction (ages 8-12, Kids All Iowa Reads) or young adult fiction (ages 12-18, Teen All Iowa Reads)
  • Lend themselves to sustained, spirited, in-depth discussion
  • Be available January 1 or the selection year in the following formats:
    • Paperback
    • Downloadable eBook format that is available for purchase and circulation by public libraries.

It is desirable, but not required, that the title:

  • Have an Iowa or Midwest connection
  • Is a recent publication (paperback edition released within the past three years) that has not been widely read
  • Is available in unabridged audio format

Click the link below to see current and past winners and shortlists for the All Iowa Reads program:

Winners and Shortlists