Skip to main content

Author Walter Dean Myers dies at 76

By Jackson McHenry, EW.com
updated 9:23 AM EDT, Thu July 3, 2014
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.

Click through to see people who died in 2014. Click through to see people who died in 2014.
People we lost in 2014
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: People we lost in 2014 Photos: People we lost in 2014

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

People we've lost in 2014

CLICK HERE to Try 2 RISK FREE issues of Entertainment Weekly

© 2011 Entertainment Weekly and Time Inc. All rights reserved.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 7:08 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
Click through our gallery to remember those we lost this year.
updated 6:26 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
The creator of "Clifford the Big Red Dog," has died, according to his publisher, Scholastic.
updated 9:59 PM EST, Thu December 11, 2014
Legendary photographer Michel du Cille, a 26-year veteran of The Washington Post, unexpectedly died while on assignment in Liberia.
updated 6:26 AM EST, Wed December 10, 2014
Mary Ann Mobley, who was the first Mississippian to be crowned Miss America and then went on to a successful movie career, has died at 77.
updated 4:35 PM EST, Wed December 10, 2014
Ken Weatherwax, who played Pugsley on the 1960s TV show "The Addams Family," has died at 59.
updated 7:51 PM EST, Wed December 3, 2014
Ian McLagan, the Faces keyboardist who also played on records by artists like the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen, has died at 69.
updated 7:27 PM EST, Tue December 2, 2014
American saxophonist Bobby Keys, who for years toured and recorded with the Rolling Stones, has died.
updated 7:57 PM EST, Fri November 28, 2014
Roberto Gomez Bolanos gained fame as a comedian, but he was also a writer, actor, screenwriter, songwriter, film director and TV producer.
updated 3:40 PM EST, Fri November 28, 2014
Ryan Knight, a cast member on MTV's "Real World: New Orleans," has died at age 28.
updated 10:49 AM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
P.D. James, the British novelist renowned for her crime novels featuring detective Adam Dalgliesh as well as such works as "The Children of Men," has died at age 94.
updated 3:38 PM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
A file picture taken on August 20, 2001 shows Lebanese popular singer Sabah displaying her medal after being honored at the opening of the 7th Cairo International Song festival in Cairo. Famed Lebanese singer and actress Sabah, whose seven-decade career made her one of the Arab world's best-known entertainers, died on November 26, 2014 at the age of 87, state media announced.
Lebanese singer and actress Sabah, died in Beirut. She was 87.
updated 4:18 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
Former Washington Mayor Marion Barry has died at age 78.
updated 4:56 PM EST, Fri November 14, 2014
Diem Brown, the MTV reality star whose fight against cancer was an inspiration to many, lost that long battle on Friday. She was 32.
updated 6:40 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
Mike Nichols, the award-winning director and pioneering comedian who was one of the few people to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony award, has died at 83.
updated 9:13 AM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
Jimmy Ruffin, silky-voiced singer of the Motown classic "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted," died in Las Vegas at 78.
updated 2:04 PM EST, Sun November 16, 2014
Prolific television producer Glen Larson passed away at the age of 77 after a battle with cancer. He produced many popular shows, including "Knight Rider" and "Battlestar Galactica."
updated 4:56 PM EST, Fri November 14, 2014
Diem Brown, the MTV reality star whose fight against cancer was an inspiration to many, lost that long battle at the age of 32.
updated 9:24 PM EST, Fri November 14, 2014
Former Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne -- the first and, even now, only woman to lead that city -- has died.
updated 6:12 AM EST, Thu November 13, 2014
Actress Carol Ann Susi, whose brash Brooklyn accent reverberated on the hit television series "The Big Bang Theory," has died after a battle with cancer.
ADVERTISEMENT