Congratulations to Austin SCBWI member Varian Johnson, whose new middle-grade graphic novel Twins, illustrated by Shannon Wright, releases Oct. 6th from Graphix/Scholastic! The novel has already been named a Junior Library Guild Selection and received starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist, and School Library Journal.
The story follows Maureen and Francine Carter, who are twins—and best friends. They do everything together, until sixth grade, when Francine becomes Fran. Fran seems to be someone new: she wants to dress fashionably, run for class president, and join the school chorus, and Maureen begins to wonder, are sisters really forever?
Varian, who is the award-winning author of several novels, including The Parker Inheritance and The Great Greene Heist, drew from his own experiences to write this story. He himself is an identical twin, and just like Maureen and Francine, Varian and his brother shared classes and participated in all the same activities until middle school started. But, as Varian writes on his website, “Twins was also inspired by my daughters. My kiddos, especially my oldest, loves graphic novels. However, we struggled to find comics that featured Black girls like her. We struggled to find graphic novels where she could see herself on the page. And this is how Twins morphed from being a book for me into being a book for all readers. Black kids deserve to see themselves as the stars of the story, and it’s just as important for other readers to see Black kids as the stars of the story as well.”
Varian, along with illustrator Shannon Wright, will be launching the graphic novel at a virtual release party hosted by BookPeople on Oct. 6 at 6:00pm.