Walter Dean Myers

The field of children’s books has lost one of its major voices this month. Walter Dean Myers has died at 76. A three-time National Book Award finalist, 5-time Coretta Scott King award winner for fiction, and two-time Newbery honor awardee for his books Somewhere in the darkness and Scorpions, Mr. Myers wrote about young African-American people who dealt with difficulties in their schools, homes, and neighborhoods. He captured his characters with such authenticity and compassion that his older books resonate still with today’s youth. His book, Monster and his memoir
Bad Boy stand out as two books I would want on my shelves always.
I heard Mr. Myers speak a few years ago in Pittsburgh in company with his son, Christopher, also a writer. The good-humored teasing between them made their affection for each other palpable. The affection for them by the audience was also evident.
It’s a challenge for older writers to capture the voice and emotions of a teenager, yet Walter Dean Myers’ characterizations never sounded forced, but always genuine. Although his books survive him, he will be intensely missed.

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About Sally Hobart Alexander

Blinded at the age of twenty-six, I left California and elementary school teaching for life in Pittsburgh, Pa. There, I met my husband, got a Masters' degree in social work, had two kids, now 35 and 32, and became a writer. Surprisingly, the writing career led me full-circle to teaching, and I teach in Chatham University's M.F.A. program and lead two writing critique groups. Always, since the age of 26, I have traveled, not in the stereotypic darkness attributed to blindness, but a mist. My blog then, "traveling through the mist" will deal with issues in my culturally different life as a blind writer, teacher, speaker, and human being.
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One Response to Walter Dean Myers

  1. I have known Sally for over thirty years. She is so independent and achieves so much that I truly forget she is blind. She is…well, just Sally. I admire and love her so much.

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