We Need Diverse Books™ (WNDB) is a non-profit and a grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry with a mission to help produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people by putting more books featuring diverse characters into the hands of all children. To honor and celebrate diverse books written by diverse authors, WNDB established the Walter Dean Myers Awards for Outstanding Children’s Literature, also known as "The Walter," celebrating the legacy of author Walter Dean Myers (1937-2014). Myers served as the third National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature (2012-2013), authored over a hundred titles, and won countless awards, including two Newbery Honors, five Coretta Scott King Awards, the Michael L. Printz Award, and was a three-time National Book Award finalist. Throughout his prolific, lauded career, Myers was a life-long champion of diversity in children’s and young adult books.
Inaugurated in 2016, the Walter recognizes two to four diverse authors (or co-authors) whose works feature diverse main characters and address diversity in a meaningful way. While the 2016 and 2017 Walter Award and Honor Books represented young adult titles only, the 2018 Walters includes two categories: Teen (ages 13-18) and Younger Readers (ages 9-13). Future Walters will include both categories.
This year, the Walter Award was given to Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds and Disappeared by Francisco X. Stork in the TEEN category, and Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford (author) and Eric Velasquez (illustrator) and Forest World by Margarita Engle in the YOUNG READERS category.
Last year, March Book 3 by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nathan Powell won the Walter Award with the Watched by Marina Budhos, If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo, and The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon named as honorees.
For more information on the Walter Awards, visit their website here.