Learn more about Walter Dean Myers, YA author, Printz winner & YALSA precon speaker!

Last week, Hillel Italie of the Associated Press profiled Walter Dean Myers, one of a few authors to win both the Printz and Edwards awards from YALSA, on his enduring popularity with teen readers. Read on to see why YALSA chose Myers to be a featured speaker at Give Them What They Want: Reaching Reluctant Readers, YALSA’s half-day Annual preconference in New Orleans on June 24, 12:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Among the kids at the Promise Academy and around the country, Walter Dean Myers is a must-read whose books have sold millions of copies and have a special appeal for the toughest of people to reach, boys. He is able, like few writers, to relate to his readers as they live today.

And he is old enough to be their grandfather.

Myers, 73, has written dozens of novels, plays and biographies. He has received three National Book Award nominations and won many prizes, including a lifetime achievement honor from the American Library Association and five Coretta Scott King awards for African-American fiction. He is also the most engaged of writers, spending hours with young people at schools, libraries and prisons, giving talks and advice on life and work, his own rise from high-school dropout to best-selling author, a story that translates across generations.

YALSA President Kim Patton also spoke to Italie about Myers’ ability to connect with teen readers:

“He does a great job of engaging teens because he writes about things they want to read about, whether it’s going off to war or surviving the streets,” says Kimberly Patton, president of the Young Adult Library Services Association and a librarian for teens at the Kansas City Public Library in Kansas City, Mo. “He doesn’t talk down to teens. He always reaches teens on their level.”

Myers will bring his message on reaching teens, particularly those elusive reluctant readers, through literature at Give Them What They Want. Tickets for this event cost $129 and include refreshments, and Myers will present alongside with speaker Linda Braun and fellow YA authors Chris Grabenstein and Julie Halpern.

Remember, you don’t have to attend Annual to attend this preconference! To register only for preconferences, please fill out page 13 of this form (skip Section I) and either mail or fax it to 800-521-6017 or mail it to: ALA Registration and Housing Headquarters, 568 Atrium Dr., Vernon Hills, IL 60061.

You can also add ticketed events if you’ve already registered! You have two options: (1) By phone: Call ALA Registration at 1-800-974-3084 and ask to add a workshop or special event to your existing registration; (2) Online: Add an event to your existing registration by clicking this Annual Registration link. Use your login and password to access your existing Annual registration and add events in the “Your Events” section (screen 6). Then simply check out and pay for the events you’ve added.

About Stephanie Kuenn

Stephanie Kuenn is the communications specialist for YALSA, where she is responsible for YALSA's web content, publications, and media relations. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in library and information studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and holds an M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a B.A. in history and journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She enjoys baking, watching sports, and reading. Her favorite book is "All the King's Men" by Robert Penn Warren.
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