Fall Book Picks at SCAN

It’s back to school season for many in our community — what better time to pick up a new book and encourage your own reading habit? We’re sharing a few of our staff favorites this fall, and we hope you’ll share the books on your list this season, too!


  • A few years ago, SCAN’s CASA volunteers read Three Little Words, the New York Times bestselling memoir by Ashley Rhodes-Courter. This fall they’re reading Three More Words, filled with new stories of Rhodes-Courter’s life as an adult after foster care, including marriage, building a family of her own and her uplifting voice as she continues to make peace with her past.
  • Kwame Alexandria is a poet, educator and New York Times bestselling author. His acclaimed book for young readers, The Crossover, is a powerful combination of poetry, the thrill of sports and the challenge of family life that will captivate kids and adults alike. It received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American Literature for Children as well as the Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor. A must-read!
  • We’ve mentioned Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt before as part of our “Books that Build Resiliency for Young Adults” series. Schmidt’s use of unusual characters, celebration of creativity and focus on survival and resiliency makes this a great pick for young adults (and the adults who love them!) especially as youth adjust to new schedules, new communities and new challenges this school year.
  • Our national partner Darkness to Light recommends the books Girlology and Guyology as helpful tools when working with children to teach them about their bodies. They especially like the books’ “unique approach: a forum for exploring questions and issues about sexual development and maturity in a fun, engaging and cringe-free way.”

What about YOU? What’s on your reading list for this fall?

Summer Book Picks from SCAN

We’re reading some great books this summer at SCAN! Here are some of our current picks:


  • Our CASA volunteers just finished reading Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc as part of their quarterly book club for in-service hours. LeBlanc chronicles the lives of two teenage girls in this New York Times bestseller, giving a glimpse of the tragedy they endure through homelessness, betrayal, the heartbreaking separation of prison, and, throughout it all, the damage of poverty.
  • Parenting with Presence: Practices for Raising Conscious, Confident, Caring Kids by Susan Stiffelman, MFT, was recommended by SCAN’s Parent Education Program Manager. An easy, non-academic read, the book covers concepts through the author’s own experience working with families. Stiffelman expresses the challenges many families face, and provides insight on why certain behaviors are happening, ways to help parents build awareness about these behaviors and small changes families can make that can make a big difference.
  • Know a tween/teen reader? Check out Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories, R.J. Palacio’s sequel to the wildly popular Wonder. These stories are an extra peek at main character Auggie before he started at Beecher Prep and during his first year there. Readers get to see other perspecties of Auggie and his life through Julian, the bully; Christopher, Auggie’s oldest friend; and Charlotte, Auggie’s new friend. Wonder is a book in SCAN’s Young Adult Stories that Build Resiliency series; discussion questions and other resources can be found here.

What are YOU reading this summer? We’d love to hear!

Give Great Books (and Build Resiliency) for the Young Adults in Your Life

YoungAdultBooksWhen we first launched our Kids Need Connections child abuse prevention campaign in 2014, our “Children’s Stories That Build Resiliency” was a huge hit.  We have presented at various conferences and given several workshops throughout Virginia highlighting not only the 15 stories but also resiliency theory and how to build resiliency in children.

We were asked to consider coming up with a list of young adult stories that build resiliency so that we could reach an even wider audience of children, youth and the adults who connect with them, so we did.  We have only chosen 6 from the thousands of titles that are out there, but we think that you will find they address a wide array of topics, family dynamics and social issues all with the end goal of creating more resilient children and youth.

Our list is available here, along with questions that you should use as discussion points as you connect with the tweens and teens in your life.  The thoughtful questions can provoke great conversation and better prepare youth to handle life’s obstacles and develop empathy skills.  These stories–along with your listening skills–provide them with a safe environment to talk through how they might handle themselves in similar situations, and how they can relate to the strong male and female characters of these stories.

The titles would make great stocking stuffers and Holiday presents for the young adults on your list.  Just be sure to give them the questions that go along with them – that is where the true gift lies.

– Tracy Leonard, Public Education Manager