We Need Diverse Books: The Walter Dean Myers Awards

January 11, 2018 - 12:58pm -- angela
Photograph of Walter Dean Myers in New York City. Photo from
Book cover for Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

The Walter Dean Myers Awards (or "The Walter") are named for author Walter Dean Myers who wrote over a hundred books, won tons of book awards, and was a proponent of the importance of diversity in books for kids and teens.

What makes a book diverse? We Need Diverse Books defines diversity as "including (but not limited to) a person of color, Native American, LGBTQIA, a person with a disability, and/or a member of a marginalized religious or cultural minority in the United States."

Why are books with diverse characters necessary? It's important for people, especially young people, to see themselves in books, to find characters that they connect to and situations and environments they can relate to. White, straight, cis, and able-bodied people need to read diverse books, too. They help people learn about the experiences of others, connect more to the world around them, and learn about topics that they might not be exposed to otherwise.

Why not make one of your New Year's resolutions to read more diverse books? Evolver has a variety of book lists to help you find a diverse book. You can also request a Personalized Reading List. Or start with one of the excellent Walter honorees!

The Walter Award, Teen Category:

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

The Walter Honor Books, Teen Category:

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins

Disappeared by Francisco X. Stork


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