Meet the Experts Behind the ‘50 Best Books for 9- and 10-Year-Olds’ List

by the Brightly Editors

Each book on our list of the 50 Best Books for 9- and 10-Year-Olds was carefully selected by a group of children’s literature experts. You can learn more about these skilled bookworms below.

  • Margaret Brennan Neville

    Margaret Brennan Neville has worked at the King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake City for over 23 years. She has spent countless hours working with readers of all ages and professions. Margaret is a former sixth grade teacher and is very active in the Salt Lake City reading/school community, serving on local boards, leading book groups, and helping readers find the perfect book.

    Margaret’s mother would tell you that she ruined her eyes reading in bed with a flashlight. Mrs. Brennan remembers coming into Margaret’s room late at night to take away The Wizard of Oz,  Call of the Wild, the Bronte sisters, and Tolkien.

  • Lynn Rutan

    Lynn was a middle school librarian for more than 20 years, became a library consultant in 2007, and now speaks and writes on children’s and young adult literature. She reviews teen books for Booklist magazine and with her longtime colleague, Cindy Dobrez, writes Bookends, the Booklist Online Youth Blog where they review three books a week. Lynn has been active with the YALSA and ALSC divisions of the American Library Association and has served on several selection and award committees including Best Books for Young Adults, Popular Paperbacks, the 2008 Michael L. Printz Award, the 2012 John Newbery Award, and the Margaret A. Edwards Award.

    As a kid, Lynn remembers staying up late to read Magical Mimics in Oz by Jack Snow and her father’s entire Bookhouse set, which she adored and read over and over again.

  • Jill Santopolo

    Jill Santopolo is the Editorial Director of Philomel Books and the author of the Sparkle Spa series, the Alec Flint mysteries, the Follow Your Heart books, and the forthcoming novel The Light We Lost. She is also on the faculty of The New School’s MFA program in Writing for Children.

    The first book Jill remembers staying up late to read as a kid is Harriet the Spy. You can find Jill online at and on Twitter @jillsantopolo. 

  • Melissa Taylor

    As a child, Melissa Taylor escaped into books, with Little House on the Prairie and Nancy Drew being her go-to favorites. Now reading books is her job. She’s a parent, former teacher, blogger (Imagination Soup), and freelance writer who loves reading and recommending books to kids.

    The Borrowers by Mary Norton kept Melissa up late.