Myers, Walter Dean

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Myers, Walter Dean. (b. 1937), poet, editor, and novelist. A versatile and prolific writer, Walter Dean Myers (also Walter M. Myers) has published short fiction, essays, and poetry in such disparate periodicals as the Liberator, Negro Digest, McCall's, Essence, Espionage, and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. He was a regular contributor to men's magazines until, as he says, "they gave themselves up to pornography." In 1968, he wrote his first children's book as an entry to a contest sponsored by the Council on Interracial Books for Children. He won, Where Does the Day Go? was published by Parent's Magazine Press, and thus began his career as a writer of children's and young adult literature. To date, Myers has published nearly sixty books, many of which have earned awards and citations such as the American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults, the Newbery Honor Book, the Boston Globe>/Horn Book Honor Book, and the Coretta Scott King Award. In 1994, Walter Dean Myers was honored by the American Library Association and School Library Journal with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Myers writes fantasy with black characters (The Golden Serpent, 1980, and The Legend of Tarik, 1981). He retells his father's and grandfather's ghost stories and legends (The Black Pearl and the Ghost, 1980, and Mr. Monkey and the Gotcha Bird, 1984). His adventure tales take black adolescents to Peruvian jungles and Hong Kong temples (The Nicholas Factor, 1983, and The Hidden Shrine, 1985). His nonfiction is often innovative in form and subject matter. In Sweet Illusions (1987), Myers examines pregnancy through the stories of fourteen teenage mothers, fathers, and their friends and relatives. Each chapter ends with blank pages for readers to complete the ending. His biography of Malcolm X(1994) uses actual photographs and inserts from newspapers, interviews, and magazines to create an inspirational and provocative book. Myers pairs poems and commentary to turn-of-the-century...
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