Librarian John Scott: Picks for Young Readers 9

Books Your Kids Won’t Want to Put Down

John Scott, the Lower School librarian at Friends School of Baltimore, is also the father of three. During his 14 years at Friends, John has served on committees for both the Newbery and Caldecott awards—the top honors in children’s literature—and he regularly brings in leading authors to speak with students.

“I especially follow [writers] from different perspectives so that I can broaden my knowledge,” John says.

When it comes to enticing his own teens to read for pleasure, John says, “I leave books scattered around the house, and sometimes they get picked up. But I try to model a love for reading more than anything more direct!”

His advice for other parents: “Model a love of reading, read aloud for as many years as you can, don’t force the issue and don’t judge what your kids are reading.”

In addition, he advises, “Let kids read and re-read, and go to the library regularly.”


1. Sasquatch and the Muckleshoot by Adam Gidwitz and Joseph Bruchac 

Featuring great writing and plenty of adventure.

2. Puddle by Richard Jackson, illustrated by Chris Raschka

A puddle is trampled on until something miraculous happens.

3. Geraldine by Elizabeth Lily

New town, new school, no friends. Being new is a tall problem!

Picture Books (not necessarily for the young!)

4. Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Powerful poetry captures African-American history with poignant illustrations.

5. You Are Light by Aaron Becker

A celebration of light that shines in us all

6. Nine Months by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Jason Chin 

Simple text and brilliant illustrations capture the anticipation of a new baby.

Read Alouds/Read Alongs

7. New Kid by Jerry Craft

Starting over at a new school, where diversity is low.

8. Secret Sisters of the Salty Sea by Lynne Rae Perkins

A summer vacation by the ocean sweetly enjoyed with gentle adventures.

9. Pay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary Schmidt

A master storyteller weaves loss, hope, family and cricket into one great story.