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2017 Judge: Varian Johnson
Varian Johnson is the author of six novels, including the Jackson Greene middle-grade caper series. The first novel in the series, The Great Greene Heist, was named an ALA Notable Children’s Book Selection and Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year among other accolades. In addition to middle grade, Varian writes novels and short stories for YA audiences. Varian holds an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and is one of the founders of The Brown Bookshelf, a website that celebrates established and up-and-coming African-American authors and illustrators.
Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Varian worked as a bridge engineer, designing structures all across the country. The way he sees it, he still designs bridges, just more metaphorical than literal.
Varian was born in South Carolina, and now lives outside of Austin, TX with his family. When he’s not writing, he’s usually chasing his kids around the house, trying not to step on their Lego bricks.
Photo credit: Kenneth B. Gail
About Battle Commander
The Battle Commander is the nom de guerre for children’s literature enthusiasts Monica Edinger and Roxanne Hsu Feldman, fourth grade teacher and middle school librarian at the Dalton School in New York City and Jonathan Hunt, the County Schools Librarian at the San Diego County Office of Education. All three have served on the Newbery Committee as well as other book selection and award committees. They are also published authors of books, articles, and reviews in publications such as the New York Times, School Library Journal, and the Horn Book Magazine. You can find Monica at educating alice and on twitter as @medinger. Roxanne is at Fairrosa Cyber Library and on twitter as @fairrosa. Jonathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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