Walter Dean Myers (born August 12, 1937 – July 1, 2014) was an American writer of children's books best known for young adult literature. He wrote more than one hundred books including picture books and nonfiction. He won the Coretta Scott King Award for African-American authors five times.His 1988 novel Fallen Angels is one of the books most frequently challenged in the U.S. because of its adult language and its realistic depiction of the Vietnam War. He also sat on the Board of Advisors of the Society of Children's Book Writer's and Illustrators (SCBWI)
Myers was born in Martinsburg, West Virginia. When his mother died while giving birth to his little sister, Myers was given over as a child to Florence Dean, who was the first wife of George Myers (Walter's biological father), who raised him in Harlem, New York. Myers later took on "Dean" as his middle name in honor of his foster parents Florence and Herbert. Herbert was an African-American man and his wife was a part-German and part-Native American woman who taught English at the local high school. As a child, Walter's life centered on the neighborhood and the church. The neighborhood protected him and the church guided him. He was smart, but did not do that well in school. Suffering from a speech impediment, he cultivated the habit of writing poetry and short stories and acquired an early love of reading. Myers attended Public School 125 on Lasalle Street, before dropping out (although Stuyvesant High now claims him as a graduate) and joining the Army on his 17th birthday.
Myers wrote well in high school and one of his teachers recognized this; she also suspected he was going to drop out. She advised him to keep on writing no matter what happened. He did not exactly understand what that meant but years later, while working on a construction job in New York, he remembered her words. Myers would write at night, soon writing about his difficult teenage years. When asked what he valued most, he replied, "My books. They were my only real friends growing up."..
Quotes by Walter Dean Myers
To fight for one's country, to offer one's very life to promote the well being of the United States, is truly a noble undertaking. But so is the vigilance of the citizen who carefully examines our leaders to see if political problems are being solved by wars simply because this seems to be the easiest solution.
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