“This middle grade debut from Christmas details segregation’s generational impact through a warmhearted story of community, Black diasporic identity, and learning, all portrayed in kinetic contemporary art.” — Publishers Weekly

Johnnie Christmas is a #1 New York Times Best Selling graphic novelist. His 2022 middle grade graphic novel debut SWIM TEAM earned a spot on the National Book Awards longlist and a Harvey Awards nomination. His new middle-grade graphic novels for the HarperAlley imprint of HarperCollins is called Gamerville (July 2024).

Johnnie is a writer of the Image Comics sci-fi series TARTARUS and CREMA, a haunted romance published by Comixology. His book FIREBUG received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and it earned him a Joe Shuster Outstanding Cartoonist nomination. He’s perhaps best known for co-creating the series ANGEL CATBIRD with celebrated writer Margaret Atwood and adapting William Gibson’s lost screenplay for ALIEN 3 into a critically acclaimed graphic novel of the same name. His credits also include co-creating the pre-apocalyptic thriller SHELTERED. A graduate of the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, earning a BFA in Communication Design/Illustration.

Johnnie's Featured Titles


HarperAlley |
Graphic Novel

A video gamer’s championship aspirations are dashed when his parents send him to Camp Reset, where electronics are forbidden and you’re forced to socialize, eat healthy, and spend time outside. Gamerville is a timely and vulnerable exploration of the importance of human connection and what it means to run in a pack, brought to you by award-winning author Johnnie Christmas.

Max Lightning is howling at the moon—he’s finally qualified for Gamerville, a championship where players compete to be top dog in the multiplayer video game Lone Wolf of Calamity Bay. But his dreams of domination are doomed when his parents send him to Camp Reset. Gone are the long nights of downing energy drinks and getting copious amounts of screen time. They’ve been replaced with fresh air and group activities under the hot sun—a shock to the system for a lone wolf like Max. Can Max escape Camp Reset and level up at Gamerville, or has he finally played his last match?

Swim Team

HarperAlley |
Middle Grade Graphic Novel

“Combines wonderful characters and history to create a story that will make you want to dive right in!” JERRY CRAFT, author of the Newbery Medal–winning New Kid

A splashy, contemporary middle grade graphic novel from bestselling comics creator Johnnie Christmas!

Bree can’t wait for her first day at her new middle school, Enith Brigitha, home to the Mighty Manatees—until she’s stuck with the only elective that fits her schedule, the dreaded Swim 101. The thought of swimming makes Bree more than a little queasy, yet she’s forced to dive headfirst into one of her greatest fears. Lucky for her, Etta, an elderly occupant of her apartment building and former swim team captain, is willing to help.

With Etta’s training and a lot of hard work, Bree suddenly finds her swim-crazed community counting on her to turn the school’s failing team around. But that’s easier said than done, especially when their rival, the prestigious Holyoke Prep, has everything they need to leave the Mighty Manatees in their wake.

Can Bree defy the odds and guide her team to a state championship, or have the Manatees swum their last lap—for good?

Praise for SWIM TEAM:

Harvey Award Best Children’s or Young Adult Book Nominee

A revelation! You’ll root for Swim Team—the water is just right.” —JOHN JENNINGS, New York Times bestselling and Eisner Award–winning creator

Swim Team is a beautiful story about trying new things. Johnnie Christmas is a fantastic storyteller and artist.” —KAZU KIBUISHI, author of Amulet

“Full of charm, heart, and pulse-pounding races. A winner!” —GENE LUEN YANG, author of American Born Chinese and Dragon Hoops


Learn to Draw Characters in Motion

Johnnie demonstrates and talks through the process of illustrating characters


The Story that scared Me

How I used my fear of drowning to write my bestselling book Swim Team


From script to art

How I make Graphic Novels

Johnnie’s FAQ

Johnnie’s Press Kit

Honors, Awards & Recognition

Awards and Nominations
2023-2024 Black-Eyed Susan Book Award for Graphic Novel Grades 3-5
2024 M. Jerry Weiss Book Award nominee
2023 Coretta Scott King Award Honor Illustrator
2022 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature Longlist
2023 BCALA & SLJ Children & Young Adult Literary Award winner for Graphic Novel
2023 Barnes & Noble Children’s & YA Book Award Young Reader nominee
2023 Eisner Award for Best Publication for Kids nominee
2022 Harvey Award for Best Children’s or Young Adult Book nominee
2022-23 Yellowhammer Book Award Middle Grade winner
2023 National Council of Teachers of English’s Notable Children’s Book in the Language Arts Award
2023 Forest of Reading Silver Birch Fiction Award Honour Book #1
2022 Cybils Awards Finalist
2023 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award Honor
2023 Children’s Book Council Favorites Award for Children’s 6th-8th Grade
2023 Children’s Book Council Librarian Favorites Award for Children’s 6th-8th Grade
2023 Children’s Book Council Teacher Favorites Award for Children’s 6th-8th Grade
2023 California State Library First Partner’s Summer Book Club selection
2024 Sakura Medal Middle School Nominee

State Awards & Nominations
2023-24 Black-Eyed Susan Award Graphic Novels Grades 3-5
2023-2024 Vermont Golden Dome Book Award Grade 4-8 Kids Choice nominee
2024 North Carolina Children’s Junior Book Award
2024-25 Louisiana Readers’ Choice Grades 6-8 nominee
2024 New Mexico Land of Enchantment Book Award Lizard Award nominee
2024 Nutmeg Book Award Middle School for Grades 7-8 nominee
2024 Maud Hart Lovelace Division II nominee
2024 Rhode Island Children’s Book Award nominee
2023-24 Sunshine State Young Readers Award nominee
2024 Nēnē Award Graphic Novel Shortlist nominee (Hawai’i)
2023-24 Oregon Battle of the Books 3rd to 5th Grade Division selection

Best of Lists
Kirkus Reviews’  Best Middle Grade Books of 2022
CBC Books’ best Canadian books for kids and young adults of 2022
Booklist Editors’ Choice: Books for Youth 2022
New York Public Library’s Best Books of 2022
Chicago Public Library’s Best Fiction for Older Readers of 2022
King County Library’s Best Children’s Books of 2022
Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List 2023
Little Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List 2023
Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year 2023
Amazon’s Best Books of May

Scripp’s National Spelling Bee’s Book Shelf’s Book of the Month
FOLD Kids Book of the Month
Bookopolis Book Pick
The Week Junior Book of the Week
ADL Education Monthly Featured Book for April 2023
ABA Kids Indie Next List selection for May/June
Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

Starred reviews from:
★ Kirkus Reviews
★ Booklist
★ Publishers Weekly
★ School Library Journal

Media Kit

By clicking the link below you will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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