Walter Dean Myers, best-selling children's author, dies at 76

By Kyle Johnson,

Best-selling author of young adult fiction, Walter Dean Myers, passed away at the age of 76 after a brief illness on Tuesday.

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of erudite and beloved author Walter Dean Myers," HarperCollins Children's Books president and publisher Susan Katz said. "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."

Myers, who was born in West Virginia in 1937 wrote more than 100 books during his life, with a writing career that lasted 45 years. While still young, he would move to Harlem to live with his father's first wife.

That area would feature into many of his best-selling books, including Harlem, Monster and Darius & Twig. "Harlem is the first place called 'home' that I can remember," Myers wrote in his memoir Bad Boy.

He published his first book, Where Does the Day Go?, in 1968, which won an Council on Interracial Books for Children Award. On many of his picture books, Myers would collaborate with his son Christopher, who is an artist.

Many of Myers' books have won awards, including six Coretta Scott King Awards, a Michael L. Printz Award and two Newberry Honors. He is also a three-time National Book Award Finalist and was presented with the first ever Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement and also was honored with the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement.

"Walter Dean Myers was a compassionate, wonderful, and brilliant man," his literary agent Miriam Altshuler said. "He wrote about children who needed a voice and their stories told. His work will live on for generations to come."

Myers has two more books forthcoming, including On a Clear Day, set for a September release, and Juba!, out April 2015.

image courtesy of Fernando Leon/INFGoff.com

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