Walter Dean Myers
|Walter Dean Myers|
August 12, 1937 |
Martinsburg, West Virginia, USA
|Genres||Young adult novels, nonfiction, poetry|
|Notable award(s)||Margaret Edwards Award
Michael L. Printz Award
Walter Dean Myers (born Walter Milton Myers, August 12, 1937) is an African American writer of children's books best known for young adult literature. He has written over fifty books including picture books and nonfiction. He has won the Coretta Scott King Award for African American authors five times. One of his novels, Fallen Angels, is one of the books most frequently challenged in the U.S. because of its adult language and its realistic depiction of the Vietnam War. He currently sits on the Board of Advisors of the Society of Children's Book Writer's and Illustrators (SCBWI)
As of January 2012, Myers is the Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, a two-year position created to raise national awareness of the importance of lifelong literacy and education.
Myers won the annual Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association (ALA) in 1994, recognizing his "significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature". Four books were specifically cited: Hoops (1983), Motown and Didi (1985), Fallen Angels (1988), and Scorpions (1988). He was a two-time runner-up for the annual Newbery Medal, recognizing the previous year's "most distinguished contribution to American literature for children", in 1989 for The Scorpion and in 1993 for Somewhere in the Darkness. The ALA split the Newbery several years later, establishing the Michael L. Printz Award for young-adult literature.[a] Myers was the inaugural winner for Monster (HarperCollins, 1999), thus designated the year's "best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit".
Myers first published book was a contest winner: Where Does the Day Go?, written by Myers and illustrated by Leo Carty (Parents Magazine Press, 1969). It won a Council on Interracial Books for Children Award, 1968.
ALA list of banned books 
Fallen Angels. New York: Scholastic, 1988. Challenged in Ohio schools (1990) because of profane language.
Fast Sam, Cool Clyde and Stuff. New York: Viking, 1975. Challenged by school administrator (1983) in Ohio.
Hoops. New York: Delacorte Press, 1981. Challenged in Colorado (1989) school libraries.
Personal life 
Myers was born in Martinsburg, West Virginia. When[when?] his mother died while giving birth to his little sister, Myers was given over as a child to Florence Dean, who was the first wife of George Myers (Walter's biological father), who raised him in Harlem, New York. Myers later took on "Dean" as his middle name in honor of his foster parents Florence and Herbert. Herbert was an African American man and his wife was a part German and part Native American woman who taught English at the local high school. As a child, Myers's life centered around the neighborhood and the church. The neighborhood protected him and the church guided him. Walter was smart, but didn't do that well in school. Suffering with a speech impediment, he cultivated a habit of writing poetry and short stories and acquired an early love of reading. Myers attended Public School 125 on Lasalle Street before dropping out of high school (although Stuyvesant High now claims him as a graduate) and joined the army on his 17th birthday. Walter wrote well in high school and one of his teachers recognized this; she also suspected he was going to drop out. She advised him to keep on writing no matter what happened. He didn't exactly understand what that meant but years later, while working on a construction job in New York, he remembered her words.  Myers would write at night, soon writing about his difficult teenage years. When asked what he valued most, he replied, "My books. They were my only real friends growing up."
- The Life of a Harlem Man, illustrated by Gene Riarti (Parents Magazine Press, 1968)
- Where Does a Day Go?, illustrated by Leo Carty (Parents Magazine Press, 1969)
- The Dancers, illustrated by Anne Rockwell (Parents Magazine Press, 1972)
- The Dragon Takes a Wife, illustrated by Ann Grifalconi (Bobbs-Merrill, 1972)
- Fly, Jimmy, Fly!, illustrated by Moneta Barnett (Putnam, 1974)
- Fast Sam, Cool Clyde, and Stuff (Viking, 1975)
- The World of Work : a Guide to Choosing a Career (Bobbs-Merrill, 1975)
- Social Welfare (Franklin Watts, 1976)
- Victory for Jamie (Scholastic, 1977)
- Mojo and the Russians (Viking, 1977)
- Brainstorm, illustrated with photographs by Chuck Freedman (Franklin Watts, 1977)
- It Ain't All for Nothin' (V, 1978)
- The Young Landlords (Viking, 1979) – A group of kids take over an apartment building and struggle to maintain it
- The Golden Serpent, illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen (Viking, 1980)
- The Black Pearl and the Ghost; or, One Mystery after Another, illustrated by Robert Quackenbush (Viking, 1980) Mindless Behavior
- The Legend of Tarik (Viking, 1981)
- Hoops (Delacorte, 1981) – A promising basketball player tries not to end up like his former pro-playing coach
- Won't Know Till I Get There (Viking, 1982) – A 14-year-old boy, his newly adopted brother, and his friends are forced to work in a retirement home
- Tales of a Dead King (William Morrow and Company, 1983)
- The Nicholas Factor (Viking, 1983)
- Motown and Didi: A Love Story (Viking, 1984) – A young couple's romance, and their struggle living in Harlem
- Mr. Monkey and the Gotcha Bird, illustrated by Leslie Morrill (Delacorte, 1984)
- The Outside Shot (Delacorte, 1984) – A talented Harlem basketball player goes to college to play
- Crystal (1987) – The life of a girl who becomes a model.
- Fallen Angels (1988) – Young men in the army during the Vietnam war
- Scorpions (1990) – a 12-year-old is asked to lead his brother's gang
- The Mouse Rap (1990) – A 14-year-old is determined to find the loot from a 1930s bank heist.
- Now Is Your Time! The African-American Struggle for Freedom (1992)
- The Righteous Revenge of Artemis Bonner (1994) – a 12-year-old boy goes after a man that murdered his uncle.
- Darnell Rock Reporting (1994) – A 13-year old boy joins the school newspaper.
- ''The Glory Field'' (1994) – A family's account of their struggle in America from the 18th century to the 1990s.
- Shadow of the Red Moon (1995)
- Slam (1998) – A young black teen with an attitude problem deals with life on and off the basketball court.
- Monster (1999) A 16-year-old black boy is charged with murder.
- We Were Heroes: The Journal of Scott Pendleton Collins – A World War II Soldier, Normandy, France, 1944 (1999)
- 145th Street: Short Stories (2001)
- Greatest: Muhammad Ali (2001)
- Bad Boy; A Memoir (2002) (a part of the Amistad Series) – Myers' life as a young boy growing up in 1940s Harlem
- Handbook for Boys: A Novel (2003)
- Somewhere in the Darkness (2003) – A young boy travels to Arkansas with a father he didn't grow up with
- Thanks & Giving: All year long (2004)
- Shooter (2004) – two friends of a school shooter give an account of him to the police
- The Beast (2003) – A 17-year-old boy comes back to his home in Harlem from his boarding school to find that the girl he loves is using drugs.
- Autobiography of My Dead Brother (1998) – A 14-year-old boy copes with life in Harlem by drawing
- Street Love (2006) – A poetic novel of a romance in Harlem
- What They Found: Love on 145th Street (2007)
- Harlem Summer (2007)
- Game (2008)
- Sunrise Over Fallujah (2008) – A sequel to Fallen Angels, taking place in the Iraq War.
- Dopesick (2009) – A teenager kills a policeman, and must contemplate his future
- Riot (2009) A fictional account of the New York Draft Riots in 1863, during the Civil War, by the 15-year-old daughter of a black man and an Irish immigrant.
- Amiri & Odette (2009) Myers takes classic Swan Lake ballet and recasts it into hip-hop verse.
- Lockdown (2010)
- Kick (2011) Written with Ross Workman
- The Cruisers (2011)
- The Cruisers Checkmate (2012)
- The Cruisers Book 3 A Star is Born (2012)
- We Were Heroes: The Journal of Scott Pendleton Collins, a World War II Soldier (2011)
See also 
- The Newbery and Printz awards split the fields of U.S. books for "children" and for "young adults" respectively. But the Newbery, inaugurated in 1922 for children's literature broadly defined, was and remains restricted to writers who are U.S. citizens or residents. The Printz Award is open to all writers of U.S. editions, which covers many books that originate elsewhere, and writers from Britain and Australia won five of the first ten.
- "Coretta Scott King Book Award Recipients: Current and Past". Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT). ALA. 2012. Retrieved March 8, 2013.
- Corbett, Sue (January 3, 2012). "Walter Dean Myers Named National Ambassador for Young People's Literature". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
- "1994 Margaret A. Edwards Award Winner". Young Adult Library Services Association. Retrieved October 23, 2010.
- "2000 Winner". Young Adult Library Services Association. Retrieved October 23, 2010.
- "2010 National Book Award Finalist, Young People's Literature: Walter Dean Myers". National Book Foundation. Retrieved October 23, 2010.
- Marilyn Fischer, et al. "Learning About Walter Dean Myers". Kay E. Vandergrift's Special Interest Page. Rutgers School of Communication and Information. Retrieved May 26, 2011..
- "Meet the Author: Walter Dean Myers". Houghton Mifflin Reading. Retrieved October 23, 2010.
- Novak, Terry (January 24, 2002). "Walter Dean Myers". The Literary Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 23, 2010.
- Official website
- Houghton-Miffin: Meet Walter Dean Myers
- Public School Insights interview with Walter Dean Myers Posted January 31, 2009. Dean discusses his book "Dope Sick" and its themes of personal responsibility and redemption published in 2009 by romero.