Walter Dean Myers, Award-Winning Young Adult Author, Passes Away At The Age Of 76

July 2, 2014  |  


AP Photo/Charles Sykes

Growing up, finding books for young people by black authors wasn’t as easy as it was to to find The Baby-Sitters Club, Goosebumps, and joints by S.E. Hinton and Judy Blume. But one author whose books received quite a bit of attention from my classmates back in the day was Walter Dean Myers. The author of books like Slam, MonsterMotown and Didi and many more works, has passed away at the age of 76 after battling a brief illness, this according to his publisher, HarperCollins. 

In a statement, Susan Katz, the president and publisher for HarperCollins Children’s Books, which has released quite a few works from Myers, issued a statement about the loss of the celebrated author: 

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of erudite and beloved author Walter Dean Myers. Walter’s many award-winning books do not shy away from the sometimes gritty truth of growing up. He wrote books for the reader he once was, books he wanted to read when he was a teen. He wrote with heart and he spoke to teens in a language they understood. For these reasons, and more, his work will live on for a long, long time.” 

Others deeply saddened by the loss of Myers include the many fans of his work. Many of those who grew up with his work (and are of diverse backgrounds) took to Twitter to laud his talents and mourn his death. 

“I am so very sad to hear the news about Walter Dean Myers. A literary icon, visionary and diversity advocate. He will be missed greatly.”

“Wow, Walter Dean Myers has passed on. Such a necessary voice for our young people, for us all…

“Slam and Monster. Those were my books. Still in my bedroom at home. Walter Dean Myers turned a lot of kids into readers.”

Myers’ work garnered Newberry Honor medals, National Book Award nominations, and quite a few lifetime achievement awards for the author. But most importantly, his work provided us with much needed protagonists of color in literature. He will be missed. 



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  • Hope Floats

    I remember reading Monster in middle school! Seems like all the greats are passing this year…RIP

  • Maranda

    I loved Slam so much I requested my library get more books by Walter Dean Myers. I am so grateful for his gift to me and others.

  • fuzzydred

    His words shaped my life as an adolescent. My favorite books by him were “The Young Landlords”, “Fast Sam, Cool Clyde, and Stuff” and “The Mouse Rap.” I turned my younger cousin onto reading when I gave him “Monster” as a gift. Even though I never had the chance to meet this literary giant, I feel like I lost a good friend.

  • A.J.

    This man was truly a legend. I just referenced him in my thesis this year. He came along at the right time, when Black voices were desperately needed in YA fiction. I’m so glad that we have his books as a legacy, and he will definitely be missed.

  • Sarah

    I have been teaching for a summer program in Chicago for a few years now, and the scholars (ages 13-15) LOVE his novels. Last year, we read Monster, and they couldn’t wait until reading time.

  • Shak75

    I am such a fan of this man’s work. So grateful he shared his gift with us.

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