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Walter Dean Myers

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.


Bad Boy: A Memoir by Walter Dean Myers
Amazon Says: In a memoir that is gripping, funny, and ultimately unforgettable, New York Times bestselling author Walter Dean Myers travels back to his roots in the magical world of Harlem more...
Amazon Says: In a memoir that is gripping, funny, and ultimately unforgettable, New York Times bestselling author Walter Dean Myers travels back to his roots in the magical world of Harlem during the 1940s and 1950s. Here is the story of one of the most distinguished writers of young people's literature today.As a boy, Myers was quick-tempered and physically strong, always ready for a fight. He also read voraciously—he would check out books from the library and carry them home, hidden in brown paper bags in order to avoid other boys' teasing. He aspired to be a writer. But while growing up in a poor family in Harlem, his hope for a successful future diminished as he came to realize fully the class and racial struggles that surrounded him. He began to doubt himself and the values that he had always relied on, attending high school less and less, turning to the streets and to his books for comfort.Supports the Common Core State Standards. less...
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Amazon Says: Into the summer heat of New York’s Spanish Harlem strides Carmen, a chica who is as hot as the sizzling city streets. When she first meets José, she falls for him hard. He more...
Amazon Says: Into the summer heat of New York’s Spanish Harlem strides Carmen, a chica who is as hot as the sizzling city streets. When she first meets José, she falls for him hard. He’s not like the gansta types she knows—tipo duros who are tough, who think they are players. But José has a quick temper, and he likes to get his own way. And nobody gets in Carmen’s way.  When Escamillo rolls into town, everyone takes notice of the Latino Jay-Z—a quadruple-threat singer/rapper/producer/businessman. But he only notices one person—Carmen. And Carmen has given up on José—he’s not going to get her out of her tough neighborhood, el barrio, and into the action. Escamillo will. But José won’t let that happen. Passion, love, and betrayal explode into tragedy in this modern retelling of an enduring love story.  "...this concentrated dose of high drama is full of sharp repartee and would make a lively classroom read-aloud." - Publisher's Weekly less...
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Blues Journey by Walter Dean Myers
Amazon Says: The opening verse of this latest father/son collaboration probes the very essence of a form--and a feeling; it asks the question that anyone who has sought solace in music can more...
Amazon Says: The opening verse of this latest father/son collaboration probes the very essence of a form--and a feeling; it asks the question that anyone who has sought solace in music can relate to. The pair's first composition wandered through a Harlem collage, depicting "a call, a song, the mood indigo, a language of darkness." This new duet is the blues: verbally and visually, it explores the idiom while exemplifying it. A call and response accompanies each painting. As the journey progresses, the lyrics and art look at loss through the lenses of slavery, poverty, lynching, love spurned, fear of dying and of living. An author's note provides a lucid description of the history, elements, and importance of the blues. less...
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Monster by Walter Dean Myers
Amazon Says: This New York Times bestselling novel and National Book Award nominee from acclaimed author Walter Dean Myers tells the story of Steve Harmon, a teenage boy in juvenile detent more...
Amazon Says: This New York Times bestselling novel and National Book Award nominee from acclaimed author Walter Dean Myers tells the story of Steve Harmon, a teenage boy in juvenile detention and on trial. Presented as a screenplay of Steve's own imagination, and peppered with journal entries, the book shows how one single decision can change our whole lives.Fade In: Interior: Early Morning In Cell Block D, Manhattan Detention Center.Steve (Voice-Over)Sometimes I feel like I have walked into the middle of a movie. Maybe I can make my own movie. The film will be the story of my life. No, not my life, but of this experience. I'll call it what the lady prosecutor called me ... Monster.Supports the Common Core State Standards less...
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Looking Like Me by Walter Dean Myers
Amazon Says: When you look in a mirror, who do you see? A boy? A girl? A son? A daughter? A runner? A dancer? Whoever and whatever you see– just put out your fist and give yourself an more...
Amazon Says: When you look in a mirror, who do you see? A boy? A girl? A son? A daughter? A runner? A dancer? Whoever and whatever you see– just put out your fist and give yourself an "I am" BAM! This jumping, jazzy, joyful picture book by the award-winning team of Walter Dean and Christoper Myers celebrates every child, and every thing that child can be. less...
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Riot by Walter Dean Myers
Amazon Says: During a long, hot July in 1863, the worst race riots the United States has ever seen erupt in New York City. Earlier that year, desperate for more Union soldiers, President A more...
Amazon Says: During a long, hot July in 1863, the worst race riots the United States has ever seen erupt in New York City. Earlier that year, desperate for more Union soldiers, President Abraham Lincoln instituted a draft–a draft that would allow the wealthy to escape serving in the army by paying a $300 waiver, more than a year’s income for the recent immigrant Irish. And on July 11, as the first drawing takes place in Lower Manhattan, the city of New York explodes in rage and fire. Stores are looted, buildings set on fire, and black Americans are attacked, beaten, and murdered. The police cannot hold out against the rioters, and finally, battle-hardened soldiers are ordered back from the fields of Gettysburg to put down the insurrection, which they do–brutally. Fifteen-year-old Claire, the beloved daughter of a black father and Irish mother, finds herself torn between the two warring sides. Faced with the breakdown of the city–the home–she has loved, Claire must discover the strength and resilience to address the new world in which she finds herself, and to begin the hard journey of remaking herself and her identity. less...
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Amazon Says: Celebrate America's freedom dream with National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Walter Dean Myers and Caldecott Honor artist Christopher Myers!Over t more...
Amazon Says: Celebrate America's freedom dream with National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Walter Dean Myers and Caldecott Honor artist Christopher Myers!Over the centuries, from a blank canvas of mountains, plains, and canyons, the American landscape has been richly carved by revolution, progress, and possibility. Yet its story is still being written—by its diverse people who are united by the freedom in their hearts. With graceful, lyrical prose and evocative paintings, Newbery Honor author Walter Dean Myers and Coretta Scott King Honor artist Christopher Myers, the father-son team who created Harlem, pay tribute to the spirit and soul that is America. less...
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Jazz by Walter Dean Myers
Amazon Says: Children's book about jazz more...
Amazon Says: Children's book about jazz less...
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Amazon Says: The thing was that me and Rise were blood brothers, but sometimes I really didn't know him. . . . And so Jesse fills his sketchbook with drawings and portraits of his blood b more...
Amazon Says: The thing was that me and Rise were blood brothers, but sometimes I really didn't know him. . . . And so Jesse fills his sketchbook with drawings and portraits of his blood brother, Rise, and his comic strip, Spodi Roti and Wise, as he makes sense of the complexities of friendship, loyalty, and loss in a neighborhood where drive–bys, vicious gangs, and abusive cops are everyday realities. Printz Award winner Walter Dean Myers delivers an unforgettable novel about life's hardest lessons, illustrated by Caldecott Honor artist Christopher Myers. less...
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Blues Journey by Walter Dean Myers
Amazon Says: The opening verse of this latest father/son collaboration probes the very essence of a form--and a feeling; it asks the question that anyone who has sought solace in music can more...
Amazon Says: The opening verse of this latest father/son collaboration probes the very essence of a form--and a feeling; it asks the question that anyone who has sought solace in music can relate to. The pair's first composition wandered through a Harlem collage, depicting "a call, a song, the mood indigo, a language of darkness." This new duet is the blues: verbally and visually, it explores the idiom while exemplifying it. A call and response accompanies each painting. As the journey progresses, the lyrics and art look at loss through the lenses of slavery, poverty, lynching, love spurned, fear of dying and of living. An author's note provides a lucid description of the history, elements, and importance of the blues. less...
Amazon

Kick by Walter Dean Myers
Amazon Says: For the very first time in his decades-long career writing for teens, acclaimed and beloved author Walter Dean Myers writes with a teen, Ross Workman.Kevin Johnson is thirteen more...
Amazon Says: For the very first time in his decades-long career writing for teens, acclaimed and beloved author Walter Dean Myers writes with a teen, Ross Workman.Kevin Johnson is thirteen years old. And heading for juvie. He's a good kid, a great friend, and a star striker for his Highland, New Jersey, soccer team. His team is competing for the State Cup, and he wants to prove he has more than just star-player potential. Kevin's never been in any serious trouble . . . until the night he ends up in jail. Enter Sergeant Brown, a cop assigned to be Kevin's mentor. If Kevin and Brown can learn to trust each other, they might be able to turn things around before it's too late. less...
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