Walter Dean Myers

Hi everyone. As many of you have probably already heard, Walter Dean Myers, author of more than 100 books for children and a former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, died July 1st at the age of 76.

To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t really know what to say. I’m sad and surprised, and I think a lot of people probably are.

Walter Dean Myers at Book Expo America 2013

Walter Dean Myers at Book Expo America 2013

The thing with Walter Dean Myers is that it’s so hard to imagine him dying. It’s hard to imagine the book world without him. I mean god, he wrote more than 100 books. He’s one of those giants of literature that wrote really honest-to-God good books. And sure, he wasn’t on Twitter, and he wasn’t on YouTube, but he was still important and just this presence in the book world, you know? (He wrote this wonderful piece on diversity in children’s literature just in March.)

Walter Dean Myers was, and always will be, one of the best writers in recent memory. And I don’t even mean just a writer for a children, but a writer in general. His books suck you in and don’t let go. They’re original and striking, and they’re the kind of books that you remember.

I got to meet Walter Dean Myers at Book Expo America 2013, and I don’t even remember what I said. Because when I walked up to him and had him signing my book right in front of me, my legs felt shaky. He wrote the kind of books that inspired that feeling.

He’s one of those authors that could get kids to read, and who truly cared about readers. He didn’t just write books, he also pushed for greater equality in the book world itself. It’s very, very sad to see Walter Dean Myers go. But we’re also very, very lucky that he was here.

Rest in peace.

“Books took me to a place within myself that I have been constantly exploring ever since.” –Walter Dean Myers (August 12, 1937–July 1, 2014)

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