American children’s and young adult author Walter Dean Myers died Tuesday following a brief illness, his publisher announced Wednesday. He was 76.
Susan Katz, president and publisher of HarperCollins Children's Books, said: "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."
Born in Martinsburg, W.Va., and raised in Harlem, Myers lived in Jersey City, N.J., at the time of his death. He is survived by his wife, Constance, and sons, Christopher and Michael.
In a career spanning five decades, Myers wrote more than 100 books for children all ages. His works include six Newbery Honor Books and three National Book Award finalists. He won the first-ever Michael L. Printz Award for young adult literature and the first Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Some of his most beloved stories include “Monster,” “Fallen Angels” and “Bad Boy.” His Coretta Scott King Award-winning novel, "Fallen Angels," about the Vietnam War, was named one of the top 10 American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults of all time, according to Ebony.
“Myers inspired generations of readers, including a 12-year-old me when I read ‘Fallen Angels,’ and then a 22-year-old me when I read ‘Monster,’” John Green, author of the bestselling “The Fault in Our Stars,” said on Twitter Wednesday. “It's hard to imagine YA literature without him.”
The following are some of Myers’ personal quotes, courtesy of Brainy Quote:
“I know what falling off the cliff means. I know from being considered a very bright kid to being considered like a moron and dropping out of school.”
“I like people who take responsibility for their lives.”
“As a writer, I absorb stories, allow them to churn within my own head and heart - often for years - until I find a way of telling them that fits both my time and temperament.”
“I talk to myself out loud at times, and feel embarrassed when people overhear me.”
“We need to tell young people that America was built by men and women of all colors and that the future of this country is dependent on the participation of all of our citizens.”
“I'll never live to write all the stories I have in my head.”
“I think it's difficult for young people to acknowledge being smart, to knowledge being a reader. I see kids who are embarrassed to read books. They're embarrassed to have people see them doing it.”
Good Reads provided some memorably quotes from “Monster”:
“The best time to cry is at night, when the lights are out and someone is being beaten up and screaming for help.”
“Sometimes I feel like I have walked into the middle of a movie. Maybe I can make my own movie. The film will be the story of my life. No, not my life, but of this experience. I'll call it what the lady who is the prosecutor called me. MONSTER.”
“They take away your shoelaces and your belt so you can’t kill yourself no matter how bad it is. I guess making you live is part of the punishment.”
“We lie to ourselves here. Maybe we are here because we lie to ourselves.”
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