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Author Walter Dean Myers dies at 76

By Jackson McHenry, EW.com
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1323 GMT (2123 HKT)
Walter Dean Myers, a beloved author of children's books, died following a brief illness.
Walter Dean Myers, a beloved author of children's books, died following a brief illness.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Myers was a beloved children's book author
  • He is best-known for the novels "Monster" and "Fallen Angels"
  • He has written multiple honor-winning books

(CNN) -- Walter Dean Myers, a beloved author of children's books, died on Tuesday following a brief illness, according to the Children's Book Council. He was 76.

Myers's career spanned over 45 years, during which he wrote more than 100 books. Some of his best-known work includes "Monster," a fictional 1999 account of an African-American teenager on trial for a felony murder in New York, and "Fallen Angels," a 1988 novel about the Vietnam War.

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Myers was born in West Virginia but spent much of his teenage life in Harlem. He frequently set his fiction in there, including a picture book titled Harlem. He was also a staunch advocate for diversity in children's literature, arguing for a wider array of representation in a March opinion piece in the New York Times.

"My favorite quote from Walter is a clarion call to embrace the power of books to inform and transform our lives -- he said, 'Once I began to read, I began to exist," Richard Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO, Scholastic Inc. said in a statement. "He will be missed by us all."

Myers published two Newbery Honor Books, three National Book Award Finalists, and six Coretta Scott King Award/Honor-winning books. In 2012, he was appointed the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and served a two-year tenure in the position.

Myers lived in Jersey City, New Jersey. He is survived by his wife and his two sons.

Myers' thoughts on diversity in young adult literature

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