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Celebrated author Walter Dean Myers died Tuesday (July 1) following a battle with pneumonia, he was 76. Myers was the author of Monster, Hoops, Won’t Know Till I Get There, and over 100 other books.  

Born in Virginia, Myers was raised by his biological father’s first wife in Harlem, after his mother died giving birth to his sister. A teacher encouraged his fiction writing in high school but Myers would go on to drop out and joined the army.

Following his enlistment period writing would helped him through a rough time in his life. Much of his work was inspired by his teenagers years, described by publisher Harper Collins as “the most difficult time” of his life.

His awards include the American Library Association’s awarded  Margaret Edwards Award for his writing about teens, and the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.  In 2012 Myers was named ambassador for young people’s literature.

View a video of Myers on literacy below, and see covers of some of his book in the gallery.

Photo: YouTube

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