Walter Dean Myers

National Ambassador for Young People's
Literature, Walter Dean Myers
As I started my pot of coffee this morning, I ran across a email that just brought joy to my heart.  Author Walter Dean Myers has been named the new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.  Myers who happens to be one of the most prolific young adult authors of our time is a five time winner of the Coretta Scott King Award and has received two Newberry Honors nods.  The National ambassador for Young People's Literature is named by the Librarian of Congress for a two-year term based on recommendations from a selection committee representing many segments of the book community.  Myers has selected the platform, "Reading is Not Optional" during his term.  

2011 Coretta Scott King Awards Breakfast
Myers is deserving of this honor.  He's my 'go to' author in my library.  When that bewildered student that normally avoids the library, reading books and me is sent to the library to select a book for SSR time.  I encourage them to try a Myers book, heck it's the largest collection of books by one author.  Once they read one, they always come back.   Myers books include a catalog of fiction, poetry, non-fiction and some picture books for children.   His core audience are mainly teen/young adult and include stories that describe the forgotten teen that lives in inner city America.   I describe him as a brave man.  One that will not shy away from the tough subjects that teens are experiencing today.  I am especially happy that he is an author that has penned some Street Lit books is finally recognized on a national level.      My favorites, "Monster" "Lockdown" and of recent "Dope Sick" are Street Lit. novels (some of you didn't realize that you were reading Street Lit, right?).  

2011 Coretta Scott King Awards Breakfast
As a librarian, what also draws me to Myers is his view of educating young people.  I met Myers at a book signing during one of the ALA Conventions of year's past.  After learning that I was from Chicago, he quizzed me heavily about what I knew about the Pullman Porters .  He found it interesting that my great-uncle served on the Chicago/New Orleans line.  I distinctly felt that he was working on another book that would tell a great story and cleverly educate young people about American history at the same time.   This is why he's such a great storyteller.

His views of the African-American community are also quite thought provoking as well.  In a recent New York Times interview, Myers said that more has to be done to emphasize the importance of reading affecting one's life.  This is why his platform of "Reading is Not an Option" is so important for today's children.    He also said, "You take a black man who doesn't have a job, but you say to him,  'Look, you can make a difference in your children's life, just by reading to him for 30 minutes a day."   Words well spoken and very true.   This is a honor for Myers that is well deserved.  Finally, I must commend the committee for the nomination.  This nomination recognizes that the library patrons are culturally diverse and represent different life experiences.  

The National Ambassador for Young People's Literature inauguration ceremony will be held on January 10, 2012 at the Library of Congress.

References
Children's Book Envoy Defines His Mission by Julie Bosman, January 2012
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/03/books/walter-dean-myers-ambassador-for-young-peoples-literature.html?_r=2&scp=2&sq=Myers&st=cse

9 comments:

  1. I know, I"m so happy for him because he is such a gentleman and good writer. Thanks for commenting!

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  2. It is about time over due! Chris Poole-Jones, Portland, Or

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  3. Amen Chris. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. He is a great author. About time he got his due.

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  5. I agree. Stop by the LMC when we return to work Rose and check out a book for your class. You know the kids enjoy it when you read to them.

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  6. Walter Dean Meyers is one of my favorite authors. His books are so realistic, riveting and poignant. I'm thrilled that he is being honored because he truly deserves it. K.P.-IL

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  7. The young males will read his books even when they claim that they do not like to read. He speaks in their voice and from their view which validates his messages. He deserves this honor.

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  8. You know what KC I really love his books the last book I read by Walter Dean Myers was "Lockdown" & let me tell you it was so good. I can't even put it down!

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