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Walter Dean Myers. Born August 12, 1937 in West Virginia Raised in Harlem, New York City Currently lives in Jersey City, New Jersey. Early Life. Born in Martinsburg, West Virginia in 1937 Mother died when he was 2 yrs. old

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Walter Dean Myers


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    1. Walter Dean Myers Born August 12, 1937 in West Virginia Raised in Harlem, New York City Currently lives in Jersey City, New Jersey

    2. Early Life • Born in Martinsburg, West Virginia in 1937 • Mother died when he was 2 yrs. old • Moved to Harlem after being “adopted” by Florence and Herbert Dean at age three

    3. Family • At age 4 mother taught him to read • Father told “scary” stories • Grandfather told “God gonna get ya” kind of stories

    4. Family • Considered the Deans his “real” parents • Writes about surrogate parenting

    5. Starting School • With the ability to read • Head full of stories • Severe speech impediment • Became a behavior problem • 5th grade teacher told him to write and gave him decent books to read

    6. Harlem • Grew up in the 40s and 50s • Sunday morning Bible school • Afternoons at the park, activities at church • Famous Afro-Americans still lived there • Remembers his years in Harlem before adolescence as good years

    7. Adolescence • Placed in accelerated junior high school program • Stuyvesant High School • Teacher Bonnie Liebow • Spent more time out of school • Wrote stories and poems • Acquired first typewriter

    8. Young Adulthood • Thought family’s finances ruled out college • Fell into gang culture • Dropped out of high school twice • At 17 joined the army

    9. Life After the Army • “Starving artist” period back in Harlem • Job in post office • Married and divorced • Attended City College and a writer’s workshop at Columbia University • Worked at various jobs

    10. Beginning of a Career • 1968 Where Does the Day Go? wins first prize in Council on Interracial books for Children Contest • 1969 published by Parents’ Magazine • 1970 becomes senior editor for Bobbs-Merrill • In 1972 with The Dancers pays tribute to his foster parents and changes name • 1977 became full-time writer

    11. Variety of Genre • Poetry • Short Stories • Children’s Books • Young Adult Fiction • Historical Fiction • Non-Fiction

    12. Poetry • Began writing poems in Ms. Conway’s 5th grade class • Hasn’t stopped writing since

    13. Children’s Books • Picture books • Juvenile fiction

    14. Young Adult Fiction • Realistic urban novels • Mystery and adventure • Critically acclaimed works

    15. On Being a Young Adult Author • “The young adult and middle grade periods of my life were so vivid and, in looking back, so influential in how I would live the rest of my life, that I am drawn to [them] over and over again.” • “My ideas come largely from my own background.” • “I lived in Harlem, and I write about Harlem.”

    16. Themes • Friendships and peer relations • Family • Individual and social responsibility • Love • Growing up • Finding oneself

    17. Historical Fiction • Writes from his own background • Enjoys history

    18. Non-Fiction • Magazine pieces • Children’s books • Biographies • Historical

    19. Myers and Myers • Son Christopher illustrated several of his father’s books

    20. Books I Have Read • Malcolm X • The Glory Field • 145th Street Stories • Monster • Fallen Angels • Scorpions • Harlem • Blues Journey • Handbook for Boys

    21. Major Awards • ALA Best Books for Young Adults • ALA Margaret A. Edwards Award • for lifetime achievement • ALA Notable Books • ALAN Award • for outstanding contributions to the field of young adult literature • Caldecott Honor Book • Coretta Scott King Award • Michael L. Prinz Award • National Book Award Finalist • Newberry Honor Book • Parents’ Choice Award

    22. Myers Today • Helped establish The Walter Dean Myers Publishing Institute • part of the Langston Hughes Children’s Literature Festival • NBA’s "Read to Achieve" program • Lives with his wife Connie in Jersey City, NJ