The Walter Dean Myers Passion Project

I have always claimed Walter Dean Myers as one of my favorite authors (and he has written one of my favorite books). Even still, I have not even made much of a dent in his oeuvre. Did you know he’s written over 100 books? And that a bunch of them are picture books? I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW HE WROTE PICTURE BOOKS. Or speculative fiction! So you can see how there are gaps in my knowledge.

Also, if you didn’t know, Walter Dean Myers is kind of a big deal in children’s fiction. He’s won or been nominated for a gazillion awards. More importantly, he was a huge advocate for diverse representation in literature and for literacy. He was so much of an advocate, in fact, that he was named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, and the We Need Diverse Books campaign has created/named an award in his honor.

“We all know we should eat right and we should exercise, but reading is treated as if it’s this wonderful adjunct. ‘Reading takes you to faraway places,’ ” Myers said. “We’re still thinking in terms of enticing kids to read with a sports book or a book about war. We’re suggesting that they’re missing something if they don’t read but, actually, we’re condemning kids to a lesser life. If you had a sick patient, you would not try to entice them to take their medicine. You would tell them, ‘Take this or you’re going to die.’ We need to tell kids flat out: reading is not optional.”– Walter Dean Myers, quoted in Publishers Weekly

So I love him, basically.

The plan, then, is to read as many of his books as I can, in order. I’ll be using the bibliography on his website as my guide, and I’ll mark my finish date for each book .

The “in order” is aspirational, honestly. I’ll be depending on interlibrary loan (ILL) for most of his books since my library doesn’t have a lot of them, which means I’ll read them as I can get them. Also, a couple of his books have been republished (like The Dragon Takes a Wife), so I may just be reading the version I can get my hands on, though I will try to read both so I can see the differences between them.

Not to mention, I have already read some of his books, obviously. I’ll probably reread those books for this project so I can look at them in the context of his larger body of work.

While I will blog about my progress with the challenge, I’m not sure I’ll review every single book. Just putting that out there up front.

I’ve created a page here with a list of all of his books, including the publication date. I’ll note there once I’ve finished a book and link to any reviews.

This is exciting! I’m excited! Also, there is no deadline on this challenge. I’ll finish when I finish, and I’ll feel really good about it, and it’ll be great.

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