Walter Dean Myers

Walter Dean Myers

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by Myrna Dee Marler
     
 

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Walter Dean Myers, acclaimed author of African American books for children and young adults, published his first book, "Where Does the Day Go?" in 1969. He is most widely known for his coming-of-age novels including the Newbery Honor books Scorpions (1989) and Somewhere in the Darkness (1993). A prolific author of both fiction and nonfiction, novels and historical…  See more details below

Overview

Walter Dean Myers, acclaimed author of African American books for children and young adults, published his first book, "Where Does the Day Go?" in 1969. He is most widely known for his coming-of-age novels including the Newbery Honor books Scorpions (1989) and Somewhere in the Darkness (1993). A prolific author of both fiction and nonfiction, novels and historical works examined here include Fallen Angels, The Glory Field, Monster, and Shooters. Myers has written over 70 books, the most recent also illustrated by his son Christopher. He volunteers at local schools to encourage students in their reading and writing.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
Walter Dean Myers is a prolific and talented writer of children's fiction. Most of his stories are set in Harlem, New York City, and all of his main characters are African-American. This book is designed as a study guide for students reading Mr. Myers' novels, but it starts with a brief biography of him, followed by a brief history of African-Americans' struggle to be free of slavery and attain equal rights with other Americans. Once the author begins explaining plotlines and character development, the book moves right along. Obviously, this is not a book one reads all at once. Rather, it should be used in conjunction with reading Mr. Myers' books. Ms. Marler begins with Mr. Myer's first young adult novel, Fast Sam, Cool Clyde and Stuff, published in 1975, and ends with Shooter, published in 2004. Most of his main characters have some connection to sports, in particular basketball. Each novel's characters, plot and theme are described, and the novels are grouped by similar themes. The author's descriptions of these novels are so compelling, I checked out three of Mr. Myers' books from the local library. This is an interesting book to read and a very helpful study guide, but do read some of Mr. Myers' novels themselves. Part of the "Teen Reads: Student Companions to Young Adult Literature" series. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up

Marler analyzes the life and works of the accomplished author. The first two chapters are devoted to a brief biography and the historical and cultural influences on Myers's writing. The remainder of the volume looks at his books, including comparisons of plots and characters as well as thematic development within each novel. An entire chapter is devoted to Fallen Angels . The last two sections discuss Monster and Shooter . Throughout the book, Marler emphasizes the importance of Myers's writings and their significance to teens facing socioeconomic challenges. The lack of any internal photos or graphics gives the book a scholarly appearance. Indeed, the writing is dry and best suited for students doing research papers rather than those seeking leisure reading. Denise Jordan's Walter Dean Myers (Enslow, 1999) has many photographs of the writer throughout his life and Myers's own Bad Boy: A Memoir (HarperCollins, 2001) is full of lively anecdotes. Amy Sickels's Walter Dean Myers (Chelsea House, 2008) is also more accessible, but contains less analysis of his works.-Linda L. Plevak, Northeast Lakeview College, Universal City, TX

From the Publisher
"Marler analyzes the life and works of the accomplished author. The first two chapters are devoted to a brief biography and the historical and cultural influences on Myers's writing. The remainder of the volume looks at his books, including comparisons of plots and characters as well as thematic development within each novel… Throughout the book, Marler emphasizes the importance of Myer's writings and their significance to teens facing socioeconomic challenges." - School Library Journal

"Marler offers personal stories from Myers's life that served as inspiration for his books and may also serve to inspire his young readers. She describes his life growing up with the Harlem family that adopted him as a toddler, the influence of his English teachers, the role that basketball played in keeping him from the temptations of the street, the impact of the Vietnam War, which claimed his brother's life, and his career as a children's book author. Marler addresses the history of African Americans as a way of contextualizing his life and illuminating his historical fiction and nonfiction for young readers. Also in this volume are a series foreward, a preface, a bibliography, and an index." - MultiCultural Review

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780313055720
Publisher:
Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
Publication date:
05/30/2008
Series:
Teen Reads: Student Companions to Young Adult Literature Series
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
387 KB

Meet the Author

Myrna Dee Marler is an associate professor of English at Brigham Young University, Hawaii campus.

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