The Walter Dean Myers Awards for Outstanding Children's Literature recognize diverse authors whose works feature diverse main characters and address diversity in a meaningful way.
About the Awards
The Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature, also known as “The Walter,” celebrates the legacy of author Walter Dean Myers (1937-2014). Myers served as the third National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature (2012-2013), authored over a hundred titles, and won countless awards, including two Newbery Honors, five Coretta Scott King Awards, the first-ever Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature, and was a three-time National Book Award finalist. Throughout his prolific, lauded career, Myers was a life-long champion of diversity in children’s and young adult books.
Inaugurated in 2016, the 2016 and 2017 Walter Awards and Honor Books represented young adult titles only. In 2018, the Walters expanded into two categories: Teen (ages 13-18) and Younger Readers (ages 9-13). One Walter Award is given in each category; one or two titles are also named Honor Books in each category.
For additional questions, please contact WalterAward@diversebooks.org.
Walter Award FAQ
WNDB’s definition of who is diverse is stated in our mission statement. Our definition of diversity recognizes all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, Native, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities*, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities.
*We subscribe to a broad definition of disability, which includes but is not limited to physical, sensory, cognitive, intellectual, or developmental disabilities, chronic conditions, and mental illnesses (this may also include addiction). Furthermore, we subscribe to a social model of disability, which presents disability as created by barriers in the social environment, due to lack of equal access, stereotyping, and other forms of marginalization.
Please check our submission guidelines listed above. The guidelines outline who is allowed to submit books and nominations. WNDB is not accepting nominations from the general public; eligible submissions must be sent directly to the Walter Awards Judging Committee by the publisher.
WNDB’s mission is to amplify the voices of diverse authors and to highlight diverse works. If a diverse author wrote a diverse book, he/she/they are eligible for consideration for the Walter Awards.
For our first and second years, the Walters were limited to young adult titles only. Since 2018 the Walter Awards has included two categories: Teen (ages 13-18) and Younger Readers (ages 9-13).
For Teen consideration, work must be determined to be for an audience of ages 13-18. For Younger Readers, work must be determined to be for an audience of ages 9-13.
No. As WNDB’s mission is to amplify both diverse works and diverse authors, both author and main character(s) must be diverse. WNDB admires and respects authors who may not meet this criterion but who write diversity in a thoughtful, respectful, and nuanced manner. This particular award has a specific aim to amplify diverse voices and diverse works and to address this specific issue.
Please get in touch with your publisher. All submissions must come through publishers.
The Walter Awards and Honor Books will be announced in January of the year award. For example, books published in 2017 are eligible for the 2018 Walter Awards; those winners will be announced in January 2018.
Self-published titles are no longer eligible for submission.
For further questions, please email WalterAward@diversebooks.org.