Walter Dean Myers:
Ambassador for Young People's Literature
New York Times | www.nytimes.com
Walter Dean Myers is to be named the national ambassador for young people's literature, a choice that represents a departure from his predecessors.
JERSEY CITY -- On the rough-edged streets of Harlem in the 1940s, the young Walter Dean Myers knew better than to carry his library books where other children could see them.
"I was teased if I brought my books home," said Mr. Myers, now a prolific and award-winning children's book author. "I would take a paper bag to the library and put the books in the bag and bring them home. Not that I was that concerned about them teasing me -- because I would hit them in a heartbeat. But I felt a little ashamed, having books."
On Tuesday Mr. Myers, 74, will be named the national ambassador for young people's literature, a sort of poet laureate of the children's book world who tours the country for two years, speaking at schools and libraries about reading and literacy.