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Alison Gowans
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Aug. 23, 2023 – The 2023-2024 Iowa Children's Choice books have been announced, and the library has them available at both the Downtown and Ladd locations. Each spring, 3rd through 6th grade students across Iowa take part in the nomination of books for the Iowa Children's Choice Award, which is put on by the Iowa Association of School Librarians. Students around Iowa will get the chance to vote for their favorite, and a winner will be announced on April 29, 2024. 

Come into the library to check these books out, or put them on hold in our catalog by clicking on their covers below.

"A Place to Hang the Moon" by Kate Albus

In World War II England, orphaned siblings William, Edmund, and Anna are evacuated from London to live in the countryside, where they bounce from home to home in search of someone willing to adopt them permanently.

"Amari and the Night Brothers" by B. B. Alston

Thirteen-year-old Amari, a poor Black girl from the projects, gets an invitation from her missing brother to join the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs and join in the fight against an evil magician.

"Willodeen" by Katherine Applegate and Charles Santoso

Willodeen adores creatures of all kinds, but her favorites are the most unlovable beasts in the land—strange beasts known as “screechers.” The villagers of Perchance call them pests, even monsters, but Willodeen believes the animals serve a vital role in the complicated web of nature.

"Just Harriet" by Elana K. Arnold

Harriet just finished third grade. She has a perfect cat. She doesn’t always tell the truth. She is very happy to be spending summer vacation away from home, her parents, and all the wonderful things she had been planning all year. Okay, maybe that last one isn’t entirely the truth.

"Sunshine" by Marion Dane Bauer

Abruptly spending a week in a northern Minnesota forest with the mother he has never met, a boy with a faithful imaginary dog learns to camp, canoe, and endure the elements while wondering if his mother will ever return home.

"Where We Used to Roam" by Jenn Bishop

Emma struggles to find her place while her older brother Austin fights to overcome opioid addiction after surgery for a football injury. When their parents decide to send Austin to rehab and Emma to stay with family friends for the summer, Emma seizes the chance to get away.

"Rez Dogs" by Joseph Bruchac

Malian loves spending time with her grandparents at their home on a Wabanaki reservation. She’s there for a visit when, suddenly, all travel shuts down due to COVID-19. Everyone is worried about the pandemic, but Malian knows how to keep her family safe.

"365 Days to Alaska" by Cathy Carr

When eleven-year-old Rigel Harman’s parents divorce, she and her sisters must move from the Alaskan wilderness to suburban Connecticut, and while she yearns to return in a year, she eventually realizes she must move forward.

"What Lives in the Woods" by Lindsay Currie

Ginny is unhappy when her family moves from Chicago to upstate Michigan for the summer. Her father has a job restoring a 1930s mansion, but there are rumors about Woodmoor and the forest next to it—rumors about strange mutant creatures.

"When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie" by Erin Soderberg Downing

After a tough year, Lucy, Freddy, and Herb Peach are ready for vacation. Lucy wants to read. Freddy wants to work on his art. Herb wants to swim. Then their dad announces that the Peaches are going to spend the summer traveling the country selling pies.

"Maya and the Robot" by Eve L. Ewing and Christine Almeda

Introverted Maya has trouble making new friends and, for the first time since kindergarten, her best friends are placed in a different class. Luckily, a forgotten homemade robot comes to life just when the aspiring fifth-grade scientist needs a friend—and a science fair project.

"Once Upon a Tim" by Stuart Gibbs and Stacy Curtis

With no knightly experience but plenty of pluck and an impressive vocabulary, a twelve-year-old peasant, hoping to improve his station in life, volunteers to help a cowardly prince and his not-verypowerful wizard rescue a princess from an evil, foul-smelling monster.

"The Lion of Mars" by Jennifer L. Holm

When a mysterious virus breaks out among the grown-ups in the U.S. settlement on Mars, Bell and his friends must work together to save not just their home, but all the other international settlements on the planet.

"The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas" by Kimberly Willis Holt

Rylee befriends Joe and learns that his father was a first responder on 9/11. The two unlikely friends soon embark on a project to find Zachary Beaver and hopefully reconnect him with Rylee’s father almost thirty years later. Companion to When Zachary Beaver Came to Town.

"A Soft Place to Land" by Janae Marks

Joy dreams of writing music for the movies, but first she must survive a move into a small apartment when her father loses his job. The thin walls and shared bedrooms lead to tense arguments between Mom and Dad. Hardest of all, Joy doesn’t have her music to escape through anymore.

"Clarice the Brave" by Lisa McMann

Clarice is a young ship mouse grieving the loss of her mother when a mutiny forces her onto a small, leaky boat with a dangerous cat. Worse, she is separated from her younger brother, Charles Sebastian, who is trapped aboard the great ship.

"Better with Butter" by Victoria Piontek

Twelve-year-old Marvel, a girl with an anxiety disorder, is afraid of absolutely everything until she finds an unlikely friend—an emotional support animal—in the form of an adorable fainting goat named Butter.

"The Comeback: A Figure Skating Novel" by E. L. Shen

Maxine dreams of being a figure skating champion, but a talented new girl at the arena and a racist classmate at school test her resolve. With everything she knows on uneven ice, will Maxine crash under the pressure? Or can she power her way to a comeback?

"Barakah Beats" by Maleeha Siddiqui

Nimra has spent her whole life in Islamic school, but now it’s time for “real school.” She’s nervous, but if Jenna is there, she can take on anything. When Jenna starts giving hijab-wearing Nimra the cold shoulder, Nimra joins the school’s boy band. Only music isn’t allowed in Islam.

"The Elephant in the Room" by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Missing her mother who has returned to Turkey to resolve an immigration problem, sixth-grader Sila welcomes a very large distraction in her life when she helps a surprising new friend rescue a circus elephant.

"Dear Student" by Elly Swartz

When Autumn becomes the secret voice of the advice column in her middle school newspaper, she is faced with a dilemma—can she give fair advice to everyone, including her friends, while keeping her identity a secret?