Teen Tuesday couldn’t let February go by without commemorating African American History Month, and what better way to start than with Walter Dean Myers, this year’s National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Winner of the first Michael L. Printz award in 2000 for Monster, Walter Dean Myers continues to be a prolific writer of picture books, poetry, biographies, and teen fiction. His latest work is a nonfiction title called Just Write: Here’s How, designed for teens interested in becoming writers themselves. To read more about Walter Dean Myers and see a list of his many awards, click on the Library of Congress page here.
To follow are a couple websites where you can find African American authors and illustrators who are steadily broadening our literary landscape through their work in children’s and teen literature.
The American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards were announced just a few weeks ago, with this year’s Coretta Scott King winners among them. Honoring African American authors and illustrators of books for children and teens, the Coretta Scott King awards lists are a great resource for both fiction and nonfiction titles. This year’s author award went to Andrea Davis Pinkney for her nonfiction biography Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men who Changed America. An honor recipient was Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, whose young adult novel, No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Micheaux, Harlem Bookseller, also won a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award.
The website The Brown Bookshelf has been featuring one African American author or illustrator each day this month. Here you’ll find their complete February list, with notations indicating picture book, middle grade and young adult authors. Click on the authors’ names for some autobiographical information, their inspirations and published works. Chances are, you’ll discover some authors well worth checking out! We’re waiting for the library’s purchase of Alaya Dawn Johnson’s debut teen science fiction novel called The Summer Prince due out March 1st. Get a taste of her work by reading her short story “Love Will Tear Us Apart” in the anthology Zombies Vs Unicorns , edited by Justine Larbalestier and Holly Black.