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Contacts: Macey Morales/Jennifer Petersen
ALA Media Relations
For Immediate Release,
January 14, 2008

Walter Dean Myers to deliver 2009 Arbuthnot Honor Lecture

PHILADELPHIA - Walter Dean Myers, widely acclaimed author of picture books, novels, poetry and non-fiction for children and young adults, will deliver the 2009 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture. Each year an individual of distinction in the field of children's literature is chosen to write and deliver a lecture that will make a significant scholarly contribution to the field of children's literature. The award is administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). The announcement was made January 14 during the 2008 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia.

Writing for children as early as the late sixties, Myers launched his career with the picture book “Where Does the Day Go?” His career as a young adult author started in 1975 with the publication of “Fast Sam, Cool Clyde, and Stuff.” Over 80 books later, Myers is best known for his gritty, realistic fiction novels that explore the contemporary teen world, notably “Fallen Angels,” “Scorpions” and “Monster,” which won the first Michael L. Printz Award, honoring excellence in young adult literature. He is also a two-time Newbery Honor medalist, a two-time National Book Award finalist, a five-time Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor recipient and a five-time Coretta Scott King Award winner for outstanding contribution by an African American author or illustrator. Myers received the Margaret A. Edwards Award for “lifetime contribution to young adult literature” in 1994.

More recently he has teamed with his son, artist Christopher Myers, to produce picture books that speak to the power of music in “Jazz” (2006) and “Blues Journey” (2003) as well as “Autobiography of My Dead Brother” ( 2005), “Harlem” (1997) and “A Time to Love: Stories from the Old Testament” (2003).

“Myers does not shy away from real and serious problems, yet his work offers hope as it stresses connections to others and personal responsibility,” states Arbuthnot Committee Chair Amy Kellman. “His themes of the human struggle are universal.”

Raised in Harlem by foster parents, Myers often writes about his own experiences. In “Bad Boy: A Memoir,” a memoir of his Harlem youth, he recounts with power and humor not only his troubles growing up but also his roots as a reader and writer. About his youth he says, “I cannot relive it or reclaim it, but I can expose it and celebrate it in the books I write. I really like people - I mean, I really like people - and children are some of the best people I know.” Myers is married, has three grown children and lives in Jersey City, N.J.

Members of the Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Committee are Chair Amy Kellman, children's literature consultant, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Bruce Farrar, Harris County Public Library, Houston; Sharon McQueen, University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Library & Information Studies; Ellen Riordan, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, Md.; and Sue Sherif, Alaska State Library, Anchorage, Alaska.

More information on the Arbuthnot Honor Lecture can be found online at

Please contact ALSC for applications to host the 2009 lecture at


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