As a boy, Walter Dean Myers was quick-tempered and physically strong, always ready for a fight. He also read voraciously-he would check out books from the library and carry them home, hidden in brown paper bags in order to avoid other boys' teasing. He aspired to be a writer. But growing up in a poor family in Harlem, his hope for a successful future diminished as he came to realize fully the class and racial struggles that surrounded him. He began to doubt himself and the values that he had always relied on, attending high school less and less, turning to the streets and his books for comfort.
ALA Best Books for Young Adults 2002
ABA Kid's Pick of the Lists Spring 2001
Teenreads.com "Best of 2001"
Parent's Guide to Children's Media Award
B&N.com's Top Picks of 2001
YA nominee for BORDERS ORIGINAL VOICES AWARD 2001
Notable Children's Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies for 2002 (National Council for the Social Studies and the Children's Book Council)
2002 Best Books for Young Adults selected by the Best Books for Young Adults (BBYA) Committee of the ALA's Young Adult Library Services Association
Smithsonian Notable Book
New York Public Library's "Books for the Teen Age 2002"
Vermont's Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award 2002-03 masterlist
The National Council of Teachers of English list of Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts 2002
Nominated for Tennessee's Volunteer State Book Award (2003-4)