The history of the United States had been presented to me as consisting of the accomplishments of white people, mostly men…
–Walter Dean Myers, Bad Boy
The newly appointed US Ambassador for Young People’s Literature writes in his 2001 memoir Bad Boy of growing up in Harlem with foster parents, one of whom couldn’t read. Though the young man early
on recognized his love for, and talent with, the written word, he says that at age fifteen, “the idea that creative writing could be anyone’s job never entered my mind.”
Dozens of popular and widely acclaimed books later—books that often explore troubling realities faced by many urban youth (when he writes about prisons, which he frequently does, they’re real ones, not Azkaban)—the revered author takes on a new job in which he’ll spend two years encouraging and inspiring young people nationwide to read more.
If you’d like to put some of the new ambassador’s work on your reading list, Rohrbach Library has a large collection. Want to read about the man? Start here: