RIP Walter Dean Myers: 1937 - 2014
Literature has lost a great author today with the passing of Walter Dean Myers.
He was the first author to win the Printz award (for "Monster"), established in 2000 to recognize young adult literature of exceptional literary merit. He co-wrote "Kick" with 13-year-old Ross Workman after receiving a letter from the young man asking for writing advice. Myers was appointed by the Library of Congress as Ambassador for Young People's Literature for 2012-2013. Myers said at the time in an interview with Publishers Weekly:
“We all know we should eat right and we should exercise, but reading is treated as if it’s this wonderful adjunct. ‘Reading takes you to faraway places,’ ” Myers said. “We’re still thinking in terms of enticing kids to read with a sports book or a book about war. We’re suggesting that they’re missing something if they don’t read but, actually, we’re condemning kids to a lesser life. If you had a sick patient, you would not try to entice them to take their medicine. You would tell them, ‘Take this or you’re going to die.’ We need to tell kids flat out: reading is not optional.”
Myers won the Margaret A. Edwards Award in 1994 for his lasting contribution for young people's literature, but the decades since that award have proven Myers's relevance and powers as an author again and again. He wrote over 100 books for readers of various ages, some of which are linked below, and he will be greatly missed.