June 28, 2017

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“March: Book Three” Named Winner of the 2017 Walter Award

ALA_TN_Walter_bigThe conclusion to the three-volume graphic nonfiction title March by Congressman John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, with art by Nate Powell, has garnered another accolade. We Need Diverse Books has selected it as the winner of the second annual Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature – Young Adult Category. Three honorees were also chosen. An SLJ Best Book, March: Book Three also won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in November 2016.

In 2018, the Walter will expand to include middle grade works, in addition to the existing YA category. Plans to add picture books in the future are under way. For more information about the award and the winners, see complete press release below.

We Need Diverse Books™ Announces the 2017 Walter Dean Myers Award and Honorees for Outstanding Children’s Literature – Young Adult Category By We Need Diverse Books January 17, 2017 (New York) – The We Need Diverse Books™ Walter Award Judging Committee has confirmed selections for the second annual Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature – Young Adult Category. One Winner and three Honorees have been named.The Walter Dean Myers Award, also known as “The Walter” is named for prolific children’s and young adult author Walter Dean Myers (1937-2014). Myers was the third National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, appointed in 2012, as well as a champion of diversity in children’s and YA books. The Walter’s mission is to honor Myers’ memory and his literary heritage, as well as celebrate diversity in teen literature.The winner of the 2017 Walter Award (2017) is March: Book Three by Congressman John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, with art by Nate Powell.The three honorees, in alphabetical order by author, are Watched by Marina Budhos, If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo, The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon.The Judging Committee reviewed 68 submitted titles published during the 2016 calendar year by diverse authors whose work featured a diverse main character or addressed diversity in a meaningful way. In the case of author pairs (or author-illustrator pairs), at least one of the creators had to be from an underrepresented community. The books covered many genres and included both fiction and nonfiction work.

The 2017 Walter Award Judging Committee were: Co-chairs Kathie Weinberg and Terry Hong, Derek Ivie, Shannon Lake, Karen Lemmons, and Nayantara Mhatre.

“Our Committee was privileged to read and review so many exceptional YA titles representing diversity in authors, subject matter, and characters which were candidates for this award,” said CoChair Judge Kathie Weinberg. “We thank the publishers too, who worked with us for this second year to embrace the mission of the Walter Award.”

“In this time of profound change within our national leadership,” Hong noted, “we’re relieved to know that the right books can serve as ideal antidotes against xenophobia, prejudice, intolerance, hate, and every negative, hurtful, limiting -ism out there.”

In 2018, the Walter will be expanded to include Middle Grade titles, in addition to the existing Young Adult category. Plans to add a Picture Book category in the future are underway. The co-chairs for the 2018 Judging Committee are Terry Hong and Maria Salvadore. Kathie Weinberg and Terry Hong will assume Co-director roles for The Walter Award, effective immediately. In this capacity, they will oversee the Walter Judging Committee, coordinate with publishers, generate publicity for the Award, and present the annual Award event.

We Need Diverse Books™ is a 501(c)(3) organization established in 2014 to address the lack of diverse representation in the children’s publishing industry. The Walter Dean Myers Award is one of the many initiatives funded or supported by WNDB™.

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