We are featuring a new author in an Inspirations kit, Walter Dean Myers! Stop by Children’s Services starting Wednesday, August 25 and pick up a kit while supplies last.
Walter Dean Myers, who passed away in 2014, was an award-winning author primarily known for writing realistic fiction about African American teen boys. He also wrote history, poetry, fantasy and animal stories. Several of his books, like the poem Harlem, feature illustrations by his son Christopher Myers.
Your kit will include:
- A list of children’s books by Walter Dean Myers that are available at our library (more are available through hoopla and in the Young Adult collection)
- An article about his life, his books and some of the honors he received
- Art and writing activities inspired by the book Looking Like Me, including all the pieces to make a stand-up paper portrait and a poem
- Introductions to Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History and The Harlem Hellfighters with discussion questions and ideas for projects
Want to explore more?
- Walter Dean Myers’ book Jazz won the first-ever Odyssey Award (for best audiobook production). Listen to Jazz, other Odyssey Award-winning titles, or the author’s other audiobooks—hoopla has lots!
- Jazz includes a glossary of terms like “stride piano,” but it can be difficult to imagine what they all mean without examples. The National Museum of American History has a jazz education page for children that lets you listen to famous jazz musicians and illustrates some of the concepts.
- Mr. Myers was also the first author to receive the Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. Virginia Hamilton was noted for writing about contemporary African American children and teens, so having this in common makes him an appropriate first choice for the honor! It wasn’t his first lifetime achievement award, though—he also won the Margaret A. Edwards Award for his contributions to young adult literature. Check out books by Virginia Hamilton, Ashley Bryan, Patricia and Fredrick McKissack, Jerry Pinkney or Eloise Greenfield.
- Walter Dean Myers has also been honored by an award named after him! The Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature is also called “The Walter.” The award was initially given to books for teens, but for the past few years, the winners now also include books for younger readers. Try checking some of them out!