Varian Johnson writes the type of books that kids just cannot put down. Two of his most notable novels include “The Parker Inheritance” and “Playing The Cards You’re Dealt.” But for Varian, the connection goes beyond the story itself. The unspoken relationship to the author of the books we read is important to Varian, especially as a Black man.
In my conversation with Varian, he shares his own early experience reading the works of bestselling author Walter Dean Myers, how he came to be a writer himself, and his perspective on creating characters that resonate with a wide range of young readers. Varian also tells us about the types of school visits he really likes and the tools he uses to hook and enlighten his audience.
As a comic lover and the creator of the wildly popular “Twins” graphic novel, Varian created a reading challenge centered on comics with diverse main characters and authors. His reading list for Drawn in Color: A Varian Johnson Reading Challenge features award-winning authors like Jerry Craft and Christina Soontornvat.