We Need Diverse Books™ Announces the 2017 Walter Dean Myers Award and Honor Books for Outstanding Children's Literature, Young Adult Category

We Need Diverse Books, Judging Committee

(Press release issued January 18, 2017)

The Judging Committee for the We Need Diverse Books™ Walter Award has confirmed selections for the second annual Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children's Literature, Young Adult Category. One winner and three honor books have been named.

The Walter Dean Myers Award, also known as "The Walter," is named for a prolific author of books for children and young adults. Myers (1937-2014) 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 mission of The Walter is to honor Myers' memory and his literary heritage, as well as to celebrate diversity in teen literature.

The winner of the 2017 Walter Award is March: Book Three by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. The three honorees, in alphabetical order by author, are Watched by Marina Budhos, If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo, and The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon.

The award ceremony celebrating the Winner and Honor Books took place at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. on March 31, 2017.

WNDB will be donating a minimum of 2,000 copies of the 2017 Walter Award winner, March: Book Three, to schools with limited budgets located across the United States.

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. For books by multiple authors (or author-illustrators), 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 participants are co-chairs Kathie Weinberg and Terry Hong, with members 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 committee co-chair Kathie Weinberg. "We thank the publishers too, who worked with us for this second year to embrace the mission of the Walter Award."

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, overseing the Walter Judging Committee, coordinating with publishers, generating publicity for the award, and presenting 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 and/or supported by WNDB™.