Grants and Awards

October 13, 2014

We Need Diverse Books™ Announces Walter Dean Myers Award and Grant

We Need Diverse Books™ (WNDB™), a grassroots organization created to address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in children’s literature, is pleased to announce that the Walter Dean Myers estate has granted WNDB™ the rights to establish an award and grants in his name.

Walter Dean Myers was a celebrated children’s book author, lifelong advocate for diversity in juvenile literature, and National Book Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. His untimely loss earlier this year stunned the publishing community, but his legacy can still be seen in the thousands of lives he touched, including those of readers and authors alike. His legacy is also reflected in the We Need Diverse Books™ organization. WNDB™ seeks to honor his memory and tireless work by establishing both an award and grants in his name.

The Walter Dean Myers Award, also known as “The Walter,” will recognize books that best exemplify Myers’s committment to providing children with powerful mirrors and windows. In addition, the new Walter Dean Myers Grants will be awarded to up-and-coming, unpublished diverse authors and illustrators who require financial support in order to help them achieve their goal of publication.

The award and grants will be administered exclusively by WNDB™ starting in 2015. Nominations will be judged by a committee of established authors, agents, editors, librarians, educators and publishing professionals who have displayed strong advocacy for diversity in children’s literature. At this time, the award and grants are limited to young adult literature, though WNDB hopes to expand the scope of the award to include middle grade and picture books in the future.

The WNDB™ team is ecstatic and grateful for this opportunity to honor one of the most outstanding and influential children’s books authors of the last and current century, and to help provide a new generation of diverse creators the opportunity to make their voices heard. On October 24th, 2014, We Need Diverse Books™ will launch its inaugural Indiegogo campaign to fundraise for “The Walter” as well as a variety of other initiatives including classroom programs, mentorships and the first diversity in kidlit conference in 2016.

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