WNDB Walter Dean Myers Award For YA 2015

by We Need Diverse Books



About the Walter Dean Myers Award

The Walter Dean Myers Award, also known as “The Walter,” is named for celebrated children’s book author Walter Dean Myers (1937-2014), who was widely known for his prolific body of work for children and teens. Walter Dean Myers was a lifelong advocate for diversity in books for young readers, and a National Book Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. His legacy can still be seen in the thousands of lives he touched, including those of readers and authors alike. WNDB seeks to honor his memory by establishing this award in his name.

There will be one winner of the Walter Award for YA. There will be 1-3 honors awarded. The Walter Award winner will be announced in February 2016.


  • Submissions must be written by a diverse author and the submission must be a diverse work.
  • A diverse work constitutes: a YA work written by a diverse author featuring a diverse main character. In stories in which there is no main character, the work must address diversity in a substantial capacity.
  • Work must be an original work published in the United States for the first time in 2015.
  • Work may have been originally in another language and translated, but the first English publication date in the United States must be 2015.
  • Work must be determined to be in the young adult genre for an audience of ages 13-18.

What is meant by diverse?

Authors must identify as one or more of the following. The main character of the story must also identify as one or more of the following:

  •       Person of color
  •       Native American
  •       LGBTQIA
  •       Person with a disability
  •       Marginalized religious or cultural minority in the United States.

Please note:

  • If the work is such that there is no main character, the subject matter must pertain substantially to diverse experiences and content.
  • Socio-economic status and class do not qualify as diverse for the purposes of this award.
  • Any submission received that does not meet these requirements will not be read.

Submission Guidelines

Publishers are invited to submit eligible titles for consideration to the Walter Award judging committee. One physical book must be provided to each of the thirteen members of the judging committee. Please contact WalterAward@diversebooks.org to receive the addresses. One additional copy must be provided for the administrator of the Walter for our alternate judge for a total of fourteen [14] books. When publishers submit works, they must supply information regarding which book[s] they are sending. Such information includes: (1) a tally of the books included in the shipment along with the publication dates for each book; (2) the diversity of the main character or the overall diversity of the work, and (3) the diversity with which the author identifies. Publishers must submit physical copies. Physical copies may be a finished book or an ARC.

Self-published authors are invited to email (1) an e-reader-compatible electronic submission, (2) the diversity they identify with, (3) the diversity of the main character of the book or the overall diverse subject matter of the work, and (4) a brief summary of their work to WalterAward@diversebooks.org

To maintain a professional boundary between judges and authors, no author, their family member, or their business partner may directly send any materials to a judge. If the structure of your publishing house requires the author, their family member, or their business partner to send the work to judges directly, please follow the guidelines for self-published authors.  If any author, their family member, or their business partner sends a work to a judge directly, that work will be disqualified.

Please note: The last date to mail eligible titles is November 1, 2015. Entries must be postmarked by this date to be eligible for consideration.

We look forward to your submissions! For additional information, please check our website as we will be putting up a FAQ section and the Walter Award manual soon. In the meantime you may direct any questions you have to WalterAward@diversebooks.org

5 thoughts on “WNDB Walter Dean Myers Award For YA 2015

    1. You write a book about an African American (A story like Uncle Tom’s Cabin), a Native American (for example, a book about the Blackfeet Indians), and what they listed above. You must, to receive the address of We Need Diverse Books by emailing, WalterAwards@diversebooks.org. Then you are to submit 14 copies of the book that you have written. It can be from a self-published author, or a never published author

  1. Why do the books have to be published in 2015?? My book was published in the Fall of 2014. Does that mean it is ineligible? Please say it isn’t so!

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