Iowa High School Book Award (9th-12th)

Purpose of the Iowa High School Book Award

  • To encourage to read more and better books

  • To provide an avenue for positive dialogue between teachers, parents, and students about books and authors

  • To give recognition to those who write books for young adults.

  • To provide students an opportunity to choose a book to receive the award

  • To offer an avenue for students to suggest books for the yearly reading list

The purpose of the Iowa High School Book Award is

  • To promote leisure reading among Iowa high school students

  • To provide Iowa high school students with a diversified, quality reading list

2019-2020 Iowa High School Book Award Nominees

IHSBA slide 2018-19


Iowa High School Book Awards Nominees 2020-2021

2020-2021 Book Trailers ThingLink (created by Christine Watson, Urbandale High School)

Supplies Ordering Form

Voting Specifications

Deadline for Voting: Extended to NOVEMBER 20, 2020

2019-2020 IHSBA Voting Form

Nature of award: Engraved plaque

Frequency and/or number of awards given: 1 each year

Funding from sale of posters, bookmarks and label supplies for award books.

Voting Process for Selecting Winner

Voting Process

  1. In the spring, 9th through 12th grade students across Iowa take part in the nomination of books for the Iowa High School Book Award. The nominations may come exclusively from these students so that it is ensured that these are the favorites of students in this age group. Nominations are not allowed from authors or publishers.

  2. After the suggestions are submitted, these books are reviewed by the committee and volunteer readers and the list is narrowed. During the summer, the adult readers read and rate the titles. The committee members finalize the list a year ahead of time.

  3. Students should read at least two titles to be eligible to vote. It is acceptable for students to read these themselves or have heard them read aloud.

  4. Students may vote for only one title and may not vote for any title they have not read or heard read.

  5. Voting will be conducted on ballots produced by each attendance center. Each participating school will send the results by web ballot unless another method is designated by the IHSBA chair. There will be a voting template available created by the IHSBA chair for those attendance centers who wish to use them. Students can then suggest titles for upcoming IHSBA reading lists at this same time.

Process for notification

  • Notification is sent immediately after winner is announced. Winner is contacted through publisher or agent, or through personal contact. Iowa High School Book Award chair notifies winner.

Requirements of winners, if any, with details as to compliance follow-up procedures

  • None, although if thank you letters are received from winners, they are included on the IHSBA website.

IHSBA Selection and Nomination Criteria

Selection Criteria

Book Criteria

  • Book must be of appropriate in content of high literary quality and appropriate students grades 9 - 12. The list should be well-balanced with a wide range of interests and reading levels represented.

  • Book should be written in English and currently in print. Only one title per author will be on the final list.

  • Fiction or nonfiction is accepted, providing the nonfiction books have a definite storyline (nonfiction titles should be kept to a minimum). Series books are accepted if they can stand alone. Graphic novels are accepted.

  • The book’s original publishing date should be within the four years previous to the year of nomination (example, if nominated for the 2015 list, it should have been published from 2011-2015). Books should have received a positive review from at least one major selection periodical.

  • The total number of books on the final list will be flexible between 15-25 titles.

  • Excluded: Texts, readers, Newbery Medal winners (but Honor Books accepted), books that have previously appeared on an IASL State Book Award list.

Previous Winners


Nicola Yoon


Nicola Yoon


Chris Kyle


Rick Yancey


Rainbow Rowell

Previous Award Winning Books by Year, University of Northern Iowa Rod Library

Contact Information

Committee Members

Kim Carlson, IHSBA Chair

Jennifer Gassman - IHSBA Co-Chair

Diane Fight

Kristi Harper