Monday, July 21, 2014

Goodbye to one of the Giants of Children's Literature

My heart was saddened when I learned of the death of Walter Dean Meyers on July 1.  I enjoyed this tribute to him written by the reviewer, Alexis Burling and posted at KidsReads.  Burling shares this quote from Miriam Altshuler, Meyers' literary agent:  “Walter Dean Myers was a compassionate, wonderful, and brilliant man. He wrote about children who needed a voice and their stories told,” she said. “His work will live on for generations to come.”  If you've never read one of his books, this would be a good time to request one from the library.

Alexis Burling mentions her early years working as a publicist at Scholastic.  She met many wonderful authors and illustrators, but comments that "... perhaps the writer who most stuck out in my mind was Walter Dean Myers. He was humble in a way that only the truly gifted can be and when he talked to kids, he treated them like equals."
Her words echo the feeling I had when I heard Walter Dean Meyers speak at the Washington DC  National Book Festival in September 2012.  My recap of his presentation ends with these words:  "A young aspiring author in search of a mentor was astounded when Walter Dean Meyers, encouraged him with the words, 'Email me!'"

Goodbye gentle giant!  The world of children's literature will miss you, but your words will enrich the lives of young people for many years to come.

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