Adventures in Reading

A curated selection of books for student readers at every age

The new school year is here, and it is time to get back into the regular school routine. That not only includes preparing for being in the classroom, but also getting ready to stimulate young minds with reading outside the classroom.

This year, the Phoenix Public Library is celebrating 125 years in service, and one great way to celebrate alongside with them is to check out some of the best books they have to offer. We checked in with the team at the Ironwood Library in Ahwatukee, which has hundreds of choices when it comes to books for all different ages. Lee Payne, Library Manager, gives us a closer look at some of their favorite suggestions for top books for different age groups. From preschool through high school, here is a fun look at some of the top options for the reader in your life. 


Bear Came Along by Richard T. Morris (LeUyen Pham, Illus.)

This book is an amusing and beautiful story full of meaning and wonder. Readers get to ride along a river with Bear and his friends, during which they are all reminded that we are all on the same river and it is the little things that bring us together. The story itself becomes more colorful along the journey, making this a perfect fit for ages four to eight. Bear Came Along, a 2020 Caldecott Honor Book, builds suspense with every page read aloud, filling the audience with joy as they meet each new character that joins Bear. This book is a great option for ages four to eight.

Elementary School:

Today I Will Fly! An Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems

Best known for his Caldecott Honor Books featuring Pigeon and Kuffle Bunny, Mo Willems is great at creating engaging worlds on paper. This book not only allows kids to learn how to read but it’s done in a humorous and enjoyable way. Written entirely in dialog between the two main characters, Gerald the Elephant, and Piggie the Pig, who debate if Piggie can fly. Piggie learns that with a little help, he can do just about anything. This is a book that will keep kids and grown-ups wanting to read it over and over again. This book is geared towards a little older than the preschool crowd, really good for ages five to eight.

Middle School:

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (Patricia Castelao, Illus.)

This beautiful and heartwarming tale is narrated by Ivan, a gorilla at the Atlanta Zoo. Ivan, who previously lived in a cage at a circus in the mall, gives readers his observations of human behavior, what life was like working in a circus, and tells us about his small group of other animal friends that change his life forever. One of the most interesting parts of this whole story is that is based off the real Ivan, who really did live in a mall for 27 years before going to a zoo. This book is a great for kids ages eight to twelve.

High School:

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

This book is set in the future, the year 2380, and the Aurora Academy is training the next squad of heroes that will save the world. The star pupil of the school, Tyler, finds himself breaking the rules to rescue a lost girl named Aurora who he finds on an abandoned spaceship. Written from multiple points of view with unique voices, this trilogy has a bit of everything, conspiracies, battles, heists, romances, narrow escapes, and so much more. Great for any teen looking for a good adventure.

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