"Maureen and Francine Carter are twins and best friends. They participate in the same clubs, enjoy the same foods, and are partners on all their school projects. But just before the girls start sixth grade, Francine becomes Fran — a girl who wants to join the chorus, run for class president, and dress in fashionable outfits that set her apart from Maureen. A girl who seems happy to share only two classes with her sister! Maureen and Francine are growing apart and there's nothing Maureen can do to stop it. Are sisters really forever? Or will middle school change things for good?" —Goodreads.com
Twins is written by Varian Johnson, the author of several acclaimed novels for children and teens, including The Parker Inheritance, for which he won a Coretta Scott King Honor (and which will be one of our book club books!). The book was illustrated by Shannon Wright, an illustrator and cartoonist based in Virginia.
Publishers Weekly asked Johnson and Wright to interview each other about their collaboration on Twins!
Varian Johnson: Okay, I just have to ask... what made you want to take on this project? And when you got all 240-something pages of my script, were you wondering if you’d made a mistake?
Shannon Wright: Haha! Look, I’m always wondering if I made a mistake, just in general. In terms of what made me take on this project, it was mainly the summary. I mean, also the fact it was Scholastic, but it was mainly your summary that did it. It felt like the most me thing and I was just in love with everything about it. I kid you not, but maybe a week or two before, I got hit up to do another graphic novel. I read it, I thought about it, but after sitting with it some, the premise was too heavy for me. I was a little scared I had just thrown away my chance at doing a graphic novel, but then Twins came along. I knew it was going to be a lot of work, but I had been praying to be given the opportunity to tackle a story that didn’t purely revolve around Black trauma since that’s mainly what I was being sent and it was taking a huge toll on me. So when I read through your story, read about these girls and how it was about some Black kids just doing the most mundane things, I think I did a happy dance.
Johnson: And I’m so glad you said yes! When I first approached Scholastic about the project, I was pretty adamant that the only way I would want to move forward was if I partnered with a woman of color — with a strong preference for a Black woman. And then, when I started asking around, your name was always one of the handful suggested. (Shout out to author-illustrator Nilah Magruder for dropping your name first!) So then, of course I had to start checking out your social media and your editorial work... and I liked even more of what I saw. But what really nailed it for me and the rest of the team was when you sent us those sample pages — especially the cafeteria spread. I remember talking to my editor on the phone right after we saw it, and we were like, “Case closed! Shannon is it!”
Twins is on the new shelf at the library! Check it out!