Walter Dean Myers, beloved and deeply respected children’s book author, died on July 1, 2014, following a brief illness. He was 76 years old. The School Library Journal released his obituary on July 2nd.
Just about anyone that has read children’s or young adult literature in the last forty-five years will have read or at least heard of Walter Dean Myers and seen some of the over 100 books that he has written. This impressive body of work includes two Newbery Honor Books, three National Book Award Finalists, and six Coretta Scott King Award/Honor-winning books. He was also the winner of the first-ever Michael L. Printz Award, the first recipient of the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement, and a recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults. In 2010, Walter was the United States nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award, and in 2012 he was appointed the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, serving a two-year tenure in the position. Also in 2012, Walter was recognized as an inaugural NYC Literary Honoree, an honor given by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, for his substantial lifetime accomplishments and contribution to children’s literature.
If you have not read anything from Myers, I would suggest using this loss as a motivation to get reading. His work is deep and sometimes heart wrenching, telling the stories of young people that need a voice and need to be heard. Here is a small sampling of his books which you might want to start with.