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Verlena L. Johnson

Creator of Transformative Children's Literature 

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Thank you for visiting my website.  I invite you to peruse my site and to learn more about me and my first book The Adventures of Kai and the Magical Machines.  I am interested in creating transformative children's literature that affirms, empowers and inspires children and promotes love and possibilities.  

The Adventures if Kai and the Magical Machines is available to purchase on Amazon (buy button below). For more information about the book (including images), please click on the "book" navigation tab (above). 

I would love to hear from you!   If you would like to connect, please click on the contact page or email me at

New Book Available


Book description


The Adventures of Kai and the Magical Machines is a tender story about the friendship between a little boy, Kai, and his grandfather Gerald, but it is also about the value of science, imagination and play.  The story begins with Kai’s fear that his grandfather, a retired aerospace engineer, will replace him with his newly built robot, Remi. However, Kai soon discovers that Remi can teach him a thing or two about love using magic, machines and sounds, both magnificent and musical.


From an Elementary School Teacher


In the powerful tradition of Ezra Jack Keats, the focus of this book is the story and not the race of the characters. As Verlena Johnson tells the story, one sees how relationships, imagination, and a bit of magical realism transform a young African-American boy. The Adventures of Kai and the Magical Machines is a beautiful literary opening to conversations about science, race, wondering, and creating with vision.


Kirti Baranwal, 2nd and 3rd grade teacher

From a Clinical Child Psycholgist


In The Adventures of Kai and the Magical Machines, Verlena Johnson has very cleverly woven together a fantastical, tender, and entertaining story about the love between a young boy and his grandfather, with a powerful message about the critical importance of positive and supportive role models.  The illustrations are bright, bold, and whimsical and include nods to famous African American scientists Benjamin Banneker and Mae Jemison, as well as vivid images of Kai’s personal hero Grandpa Gerard—a retired NASA aerospace engineer.  This book shifts the narrative about future possibilities for young children of color and those from diverse family constellations and introduces all children to the world of science in a way that engages, empowers, and excites! If you want an engaging and moving story about the power of love and possibilities for your child, then this is a ‘must read.’

Gary W. Harper, PhD, MPH

Clinical Child Psychologist

American Psychological Association Fellow


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