I have a new book coming out!

It’s called TWINS! It’s about…well, twins! It’s also my first graphic novel, illustrated by Shannon Wright. You can read more about the book, including what inspired the book and what nice people are saying about the book (cough, cough, FOUR STARRED REVIEWS) on my TWINS page.

Thanks to Covid-19, I won’t be traveling in person for the book, but I will be doing A LOT of virtual events. They’re all listed on my calendar page.

As always, thanks for the support! I hope you all are staying safe! And if you’re of age, remember to vote on November 3!

New Books!

I’m busy, busy, busy—trying to get as much writing done as I can in anticipation for a busy Fall 2020. But I did want to drop in to show off two new books—one already released, the other coming later this year (thus the busy Fall 2020).


What Were The Negro Leagues?

written by Varian Johnson

illustrated by Stephen Marchesi

Available where all books are sold


And…introducing my first graphic novel!


TWINS Graphic Novel Cover



written by Varian Johnson

illustrated by Shannon Wright

Coming Oct 6, 2020

Pre-Order Now!!

Around and about in August

After a busy spring, things kept rolling in the summer. Here are just a few photos of recent events! Check out my calendar to see where I’ll be this fall.

Chicago Public School Department of Literary: School Libraries Transform



ExpandED Schools’ MS ExTRA Literacy Institute (New York)




Mississippi Book Festival

(Varian Johnson, Charlotte Jones Voiklis, Merrill Wyatt, Clara Martin, Veera Hiranandani, and Kate Beasely)


Thanks to Scholastic UK, The Parker Inheritance is making its way across the pond to the UK. And here’s the cover! Very posh, if I do say so myself.


Coming in 2018: The Parker Inheritance

Nerdy Book Club was gracious enough to host my cover reveal for my new middle grade, The Parker Inheritance. Please click-though to read more about my inspiration for the book!

Book Description:

The Westing Game meets The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 in a stirring mystery of past and present, as two kids search for a place in their families, their city, and their country with the help of each other.

The letter waits in a book, in a box, in an attic, in an old house in Lambert, South Carolina. It’s waiting for Candice Miller.

When Candice finds the letter, she isn’t sure she should read it. It’s addressed to her grandmother, after all, who left Lambert in a cloud of shame. But the letter describes a young woman named Siobhan Washington. An injustice that happened decades ago. A mystery enfolding the letter-writer. And the fortune that awaits the person who solves the puzzle.

Grandma tried and failed. But now Candice has another chance.

So with the help of Brandon Jones, the quiet boy across the street, she begins to decipher the clues in the letter. The challenge will lead them deep into Lambert’s history, full of ugly deeds, forgotten heroes, and one great love; and deeper into their own families, with their own unspoken secrets. Can they find the fortune and fulfill the letter’s promise before the answers slip into the past yet again?

Spring in Photos

This was a great spring! Here are some photos from my various visits earlier this year. I’m actively booking events for 2016-2017, so please contact me if you’re interested!

Jeff Anderson, Linda Urban, and me at the TCTELA Conference



On tour for TO CATCH A CHEAT

On tour for TO CATCH A CHEAT

School Visits with Katy ISD

School Visits with Katy ISD

School Visits with Katy ISD

Hong Kong International Young Readers Festival

Hong Kong International Young Readers Festival

Writing Workshop for the Hong Kong International Young Readers Festival

NTTBF Educator Day with Karin Perry, Christina Diaz Gonzalez, Marie Lu, and Jonathan Maberry

In Conversation with James Dashner at NTTBF

Books and Tours and Trips, Oh My!

Okay, I’ll get to all the stuff in the title in a second. But first, a recap of 2015…
2015 was a weird, strange, amazing year. Thanks in much part to The Great Greene Heist, I was all over the place—Minneapolis, Phoenix, Chicago, North Texas, Houston, Los Angeles, etc. I participated in a number of national conferences and visited some great schools. A personal highlight was giving a keynote at the National SCBWI conference this summer.

I was in the big room, y’all. The big room.

A whole bunch of people and little old me at the 44th SCBWI Summer Conference (Photo by Paul O. Zelinsky)
I also sold a book–a stand-alone middle grade. It’s supposed to come out in 2017…if I finish it in time.
2016 looks to be even more awesome.

As stated in the title of this post, there will be more books, trips and travel this year. I’ll be kicking off the year with a book launch on Jan 23rd for To Catch A Cheat, the second Jackson Greene book. The book has already received a starred review from Kirkus. (You can still pre-order a signed copy from BookPeople.)

I’ll be going on tour to support the book in February. Dates and locations are still being confirmed, but the tour schedule includes:

Tuesday, February 2 @ 6:00 PM
Books Build Conversations (w/ Stephanie Seales and Sara Hines)
Falmouth Public Library (w/ Eight Cousins Books)
Falmouth, MA

Wednesday, February 3
School visits w/ Eight Cousins (Falmouth, MA)

Thursday, February 4 
School visits w/ Odyssey Books (South Hadley, MA)

Thursday, February 4 @ 6:00 PM
Author Event at Odyssey Books (South Hadley, MA)

Friday, February 5 
Visits w/ Anderson’s Bookshop (Chicago, IL)
Saturday, February 6 @ 2:00 PM
Event at Anderson’s Bookshop – La Grange

La Grange, IL

Monday, February 8

School visit with RJ Julia (Madison, CT)

Tuesday, February 9
School visit with Parnassus Books (Nashville, TN)

Wednesday, February 10
School visits with Children’s Book Wold (Haverford, PA)

Thursday, February 11
Scholastic Summer Challenge school visit at Lake Nona Middle School (Orlando, FL)

Friday, February 12
Visits with Watchung Books (Montclair, NJ)

This will be my first official book tour. I’m super excited, but it’ll be hard to be away from the girls for so long. (Especially considering that I’ll be participating in a week of visits in Hong Kong later this spring–my first international book trip!)

In addition, I’ve got another book coming out on April 26th. Here’s the cover for my Spirit Animals book, The Return:

Don’t Meilin and Jhi look fierce?

And that’s just through April. So all in all, there’s a lot going on in 2016. Hope to see you on the road!