Live Author Event - Janet Sumner Johnson ("The Recess Genius 2: Tons of Talent" and "The Winterton Deception 1: Final Word")

  • Posted on: 7 February 2024
  • By: TanyaMills

Headshot of author Janet Sumner Johnson          Cover of Johnson's new picture book, "The Recess Genius: Tons of Talent"

The Recess Genius is back! There are still tons of tricky problems on the playground, but the upcoming talent show might be just the solution to help with them all. The second book in the RECESS GENIUS series from the author of HELP WANTED: MUST LOVE BOOKS and the illustrator of HELLO WORLD! (Perfect for kids aged 4 to 7)

Regina Grey, the Recess Genius, can solve any problem. Brother problems and friend problems. Bug problems and pen problems.

But when no one signs up for the talent show? That problem requires some extra thought. And there are other issues that need Regina's special skill set and attention.

Still, sometimes one simple answer is all the solution you need for the show to go on. After all, the Recess Genius is very talented.

The second book in The Recess Genius picture book series from the author of HELP WANTED: MUST LOVE BOOKS and the illustrator of HELLO, WORLD! charms with funny, warm celebration of out-of-the-box thinking and an unforgettable heroine sure to solve any reading dilemma.


Cover of book 1 in her new middle grade series, "The Winterton Deception"

In this twisty middle grade mystery for fans of Knives Out, The Inheritance Game, and The Westing Game, thirteen-year-old twins Hope and Gordon enter a spelling bee in a last-ditch effort to save their family from financial ruin, only to find themselves in a cut-throat competition to uncover a fortune and dark secrets about the wealthy relations they've never known. (Perfect for kids aged 8 to 12)

Hope Smith can't stand rich people--the dictionary magnate family the Wintertons most of all. Not since she and her twin brother, Gordon, learned that their dad was one. So when Gordon enters the family into the Winterton's charity spelling bee, Hope wants nothing to do with it. But with their mom losing her job and the family facing eviction from the motel where they live, they desperately need the money, and it looks like Hope doesn't have much of a choice.

After winning the preliminary round, the Smiths are whisked to Winterton Chalet to compete in the official Winterton Bee against their long-lost relatives. Hope wants to get in and out, beat the snobbish family at their own game, and never see them again. But deceased matriarch Jane Winterton had other plans for this final family showdown. Before her death, she set up a clue hunt throughout the manor--an alternate way for Hope and Gordon to get the money that could change their lives.

Still, others are on the trail, too. With tensions at an all-time high, a fortune at stake, and long-simmering family secrets about to boil to the surface, anything could happen.

A tense, clever clue hunt unafraid to tackle the challenges and secrets often kept behind closed doors, Final Word is a gripping series starter sure to satisfy even the most voracious armchair detectives.

A Kirkus Reviews' Best Middle Grade Book of the Year
A Whitney Award Finalist


Review Quotes:
★ "A pleasing smash-up of middle-grade mysteries with several meaty loose ends and a surprising final reveal, the true mystery here is how you'll appease readers while they await the sequel." --Booklist, Starred Review

★ "[O]vertones of Agatha Christie. . . . Intelligent, intricately plotted, and ultimately moving." --Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

★ "In this nuanced first-person narrative, clever riddles, high-stakes competition, and fraught family drama keep the pages turning, while keenly rendered characters . . . discover the value of kindness, the harm of preconceived notions, and the folly of equating wealth with happiness." --Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"The enticing combination of spelling bee drama, treasure hunt puzzles, family secrets, and a stunning final twist will keep readers enthralled." --School Library Journal

"I couldn't turn the pages fast enough-- The Winterton Deception had me hooked!" --Jennifer A. Nielsen, #1 New York Times bestselling author



Janet Sumner Johnson is the author of both middle grade novels and picture books, including The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society and The Recess Genius series. Her debut picture book, Help Wanted: Must Love Books, was the winner of the 2021 CLEL Bell Picture Book Award and was nominated for the Colorado and Washington Children's Choice Book Awards. She lives in northern Utah with her husband, three kids, and a dog. When she isn't writing, she loves eating cookies, playing the piano, and singing along with the radio at the top of her lungs. As a kid, Janet dreamed of winning her school spelling bee. Alas, those dreams were dashed when she added a third c to the word accident. You can learn more about her and her books at




Event address: 
94 West Tabernacle Street
Children's Room
St. George, UT 84770-4087
The Recess Genius 2: Tons of Talent By Janet Sumner Johnson, Stacy Ebert (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Janet Sumner Johnson, Stacy Ebert (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781645951414
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Pixel+Ink - May 7th, 2024

The Winterton Deception 1: Final Word By Janet Sumner Johnson Cover Image
ISBN: 9781645951964
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Pixel+Ink - October 31st, 2023

The Recess Genius 1: Open for Business By Janet Sumner Johnson, Stacy Ebert (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Janet Sumner Johnson, Stacy Ebert (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781645951407
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Pixel+Ink - February 13th, 2024