About the Walter

The Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature, also known as “The Walter,” celebrates the legacy of author Walter Dean Myers (1937-2014). Myers served as the third National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature (2012-2013), authored over a hundred titles, and won countless awards, including two Newbery Honors, five Coretta Scott King Awards, the Michael L. Printz Award, and was a three-time National Book Award finalist. Throughout his prolific, lauded career, Myers was a life-long champion of diversity in children’s and young adult books.

Inaugurated in 2016, the annual Walter Award is given to a diverse author (or co-authors) whose work features a diverse main character or addresses diversity in a meaningful way. Two to three Honor Books are also named annually. We Need Diverse Books defines “diverse” to be one or more of the following: 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.

The 2016 and 2017 Walter Award and Honor Books represented young adult titles only.

The 2018 Walters will include young adult and middle grade categories.

The 2019 Walters will include young adult, middle grade, and picture book categories.

For more information about the Walter Awards, check out our FAQ page.


2016 Walters

The Walter Award

Jason and Reynolds and Brendan Kiely for All American Boys

The Walter Honor Books

Margarita Engle for Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir, illustrated by Edel Rodriguez

Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon for X: A Novel

The 2016 Walter Judging Committee: Dhonielle Clayton (co-chair), Kathie Weinberg (co-chair); Christine Taylor Butler, Edi Campbell, Sarah Park Dahlen, Maria E. Gentle, Todd Kreuger, Angie Manfredi, Rita E. Painter, Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada, Rafe Posey, Adeeba Afshan Rana, and Mindy Rhiger.


2017 Walters

The Walter Award

John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nathan Powell for March: Book Three

The Walter Honor Books

Marina Budhos for Watched

Meredith Russo for If I Was Your Girl

Nicola Yoon for The Sun Is Also a Star

The 2017 Walter Judging Committee: Kathie Weinberg (co-chair), Terry Hong (co-chair); Derek Ivie, Shannon Lake, Karen Lemmons, and Nayantara Mhatre.