Walter Dean Myers (1937-2014)

YA and children’s author Walter Dean Myers, 76, died July 1, 2014. Myers wrote mostly mainstream YA, but he wrote some work of genre interest, including ghost story “Things That Go Gleep in the Night” (1993) and YA fantasies Shadow of the Red Moon (1995, illustrated by his son Christopher Meyers) and Dope Sick (2009).

Myers is perhaps best known for Fallen Angels (1988), a YA controversial for its depiction of the Vietnam War and its adult language, and for Monster (1999), which won the first ever Michael L. Printz Award for the best book of the year for teens. He published more than 100 titles, including YA novels, picture books, and non-fiction. In 1994 he won the Margaret Edwards Award for his teen writing, and in January 2012 he was named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress.

Walter Milton Myers was born August 12, 1937 in Martinsburg WV. His mother died in 1940, and he moved with the Dean family to New York, later taking their surname as his middle name in recognition of their care for him. He served in the US Army from 1955-58, and worked various jobs, including editorial positions, before becoming a full-time writer in 1977.