March 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

We Need Diverse Books Opens Submissions for “The Walter” Award

PrintStarting January 29, We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) is inviting submissions from diverse authors in young adult literature for the first-ever Walter Dean Myers Award, also known as “The Walter,” named after the celebrated children’s book author who passed away in 2014.

The inaugural Walter Award will be given to a winner in the young adult category (with up to three other submissions recognized with honors).

Submissions for The Walter must be written by a diverse author (person of color, Native American, LGBTQIA, person with a disability, or marginalized religious or cultural minority in the U.S.), and the submission must be a diverse work (a YA work written by a diverse author featuring a diverse main character). The submission must be an original work published in the U.S. for the first time in 2015. (Work may have been originally in another language and translated, but the first English publication year in the U.S. must be 2015.)

The deadline for submissions is November 1, 2015, and the winner will be announced in February 2016.

“We are thrilled to play a part in the continued legacy of Walter Dean Myers,” said Lamar Giles, vice-president of Communications for WNDB. “It is so important to highlight and amplify the voices of diverse authors and diverse works.”

Myers was a lifelong advocate for diversity in books for young readers and a National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. WNDB seeks to honor his memory with this award.

For further details about eligibility, submission guidelines, and FAQs, visit The Walter’s official website, or email questions to

Carolyn Sun About Carolyn Sun

Carolyn Sun was a news editor at School Library Journal. Find her on Twitter @CarolynSSun.



  1. Ken McClelland says:

    I have a handicap (a painful auto-immune disorder), a bad back and I need surgery on my neck. However, despite my handicap placard, I still work for a living so perhaps I don’t count. The book I’ve written is geared towards young children, but it is also a learning tool for older children and even adults. Well, here it is for your inspection.

    I hope that you will find the time and seize the opportunity to check out this e-book during the promotional period while it’s available as a Free download. While it is an ABC picture book, it will be inspirational, informative, and an encouragement to children and adults of all ages and ethnic backgrounds.

    In honor of Black History Month, beginning on February 1st and running until the 5th, my ABC picture book titled: “The ABC’s of African American Inventions,” will be available as a FREE Kindle download. If you don’t own a Kindle, no worries; Kindle offers a free app download for their e-books so that anyone who wants to, can read them (the app is available for Smart Phones, Tablets, and Computers, and can be found at the book link). Kindle unlimited members can see this whenever they want to. I hope that you’ll make the time or seize the opportunity to check it out, and that you’ll enjoy what you see and learn.