We Need Diverse Books announces
The 2018 Walter Dean Myers Awards and Honor Books for Outstanding Children’s Literature
Teen and Younger Readers Categories
January 11, 2018
The We Need Diverse Books Walter Awards Judging Committee has selected the winners and honorees for the third annual Walter Dean Myers Awards for Outstanding Children’s Literature. This year’s awards comprise of two categories: Teen (ages 13-18) and Younger Readers (ages 9-13). One winner in both categories and three Honor Books have been named.
2018 Walter Award, Teen Category
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
2018 Walter Honors, Teen Category
You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins
Disappeared by Francisco X. Stork
2018 Walter Award, Younger Readers Category
Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Eric Velasquez
2018 Walter Honor, Younger Readers Category
Forest World by Margarita Engle
The Walter Awards Ceremony will be held Friday, March 16, 2018, in the James Madison Memorial Building of the Library of Congress. The newest National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Jacqueline Woodson, will serve as the Ceremony’s Emcee and Guest Speaker.
The Ceremony will be preceded by a symposium on diversity in children’s literature, co-hosted by the Library of Congress. The symposium, titled “Seen and Heard: The Power of Books,” will be moderated by Newbery Medalist and bestselling author Linda Sue Park.
WNDB will be donating a minimum of 2000 copies of each of the 2018 Walter Award-winning titles, Long Way Down and Schomburg, to schools with limited budgets across the United States.
The Walter Dean Myers Award, also known as “The Walter,” is named for prolific children’s and young adult author Walter Dean Myers (1937-2014). Myers was the third National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, appointed in 2012 by the Library of Congress. He was a champion of diversity in children’s books. The Walter Awards honor Myers’ memory and his literary heritage, as well as celebrate diversity in children’s literature.
“Significant changes in the publishing industry have been especially visible with The Walters,” notes Ellen Oh, founding director of WNDB. “The eligible titles submitted over the last three years since the Awards’ inception have increased dramatically, from 50 titles in 2016, to almost 80 in 2017, to nearly 200 books that were considered for the 2018 Walters. The positive impact of the Walters feels like a fitting legacy to the late, great Walter Dean Myers.”
The 2018 Walter Awards Judging Committee included the following seven members: Terry Hong (Co-Chair, Smithsonian BookDragon), Maria Salvadore (Co-Chair, University of Maryland, Politics & Prose Children’s Book Buyer), Derek Ivie (Youth Services Coordinator, Suffolk Cooperative Library System), Dora Maher (Information Specialist, San Diego Unified Schools), Nayantara Mhatre (Diversity & Social Studies Coordinator, Ethical Culture Fieldston School), Ruth Lowery (Associate Chair, Department of Teaching and Learning, Ohio State University), and Deborah Taylor (Youth Services Director, Enoch Pratt Free Library). Committee oversight was provided by Walters Award Co-Director Kathie Weinberg.
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