Cover image for My friend John
My friend John
Zolotow, Charlotte, 1915-2013.
Publication Information:
New York : Doubleday Book for Young Readers, 2000.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
John's best friend tells everything he knows about John, the secrets they share, their likes and dislikes, and the fun they have as friends.
Reading Level:
AD 160 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.4 0.5 107032.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.1 1 Quiz: 25126 Guided reading level: H.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



What makes someone a best friend?

John knows everything about me, and I know everything about him. So begins the heartwarming story of two young boys who together experience fun times, sad times, happy times, hard times, secret times, and all the in-between times only two best friends can share.

This picture book text, originally published in 1968, is now being republished with glorious new art.

Author Notes

Charlotte Zolotow was born Charlotte Gertrude Shapiro on June 26, 1915 in Norfolk, Virginia. She studied at the University of Wisconsin, where she took classes in art, writing and child psychology. She began her publishing career in New York, in the adult trade-book division of what is now known as HarperCollins, but eventually took a job in the children's division. As an editor, she presided over her own imprint, Charlotte Zolotow Books. She was named publisher emerita at HarperCollins in 1991.

Her first picture book, The Park Book, was published in 1944. During her lifetime, she wrote more than 90 children's books including Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present, My Grandson Lew, William's Doll, The Hating Book, and The Seashore Book. In 1998, the Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) at the Univeristy of Wisconsin - Madison's School of Education established the Charlotte Zolotow Award, which is an American literary award presented annually for outstanding picture book writing published in the United States in the preceding year. Zolotow died on November 19, 2013 at the age of 98.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 3^-7. Why are there so few picture books about friendships between contemporary boys? In this simple, moving story, the narrator describes his friendship with John, an ordinary boy like himself. Beautifully straightforward phrases express how the boys care for and enjoy each other in the way so many young best friends do. Each boy knows about the other's house ("where the secret places are") and family, talents, weaknesses, and even crushes. The boys' fears, triumphs, and vulnerabilities are also refreshingly ordinary: "John's the only one besides my family who knows I sleep with my light on at night. He can jump from the high diving board, but I know he's afraid of cats." The pencil-and-watercolor illustrations lovingly extend the shared fun and tenderness as the friends play and study in their wonderful leafy fort, hide and explore, and comfort each other (John rests an arm around the narrator, who holds a broken bird's nest: "He saw me cry once"). Young boys (and girls) forming their own important friendships will find themselves reflected in this gentle, accurate story. --Gillian Engberg

Publisher's Weekly Review

"I know everything about John and he knows everything about me," says the narrator, describing just what makes this friendship tick in this tale, originally published in 1968. Ages 5-8. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-A new edition of a title originally illustrated by Ben Shecter (HarperCollins, 1968; o.p.). The young narrator and his friend John know everything about one another: secret places, secret fears, and even which girl the other thinks is special. While one is good at math, the other is good at spelling. The narrator's mother is a better cook, but John's father tells funnier jokes. Harvey illustrates the brief text with large watercolor paintings bordered in white. What is especially interesting is the subplot she creates with her pictures. In addition to depicting the boys engaged in the activities described in the story, she shows how, over time, they bring home a fallen tree branch and use it to construct a pulley system to haul food, furniture, supplies, and even the dog up into their tree house. These pals are full of fun and mischief and young readers will enjoy their antics.-Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.