We Need Diverse Books, the nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for more diversity in contemporary children’s literature, will hold its third annual Walter Dean Myers Award ceremony at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., on Friday, March 16, 2018.
The event will be emceed by Jacqueline Woodson, and will be immediately preceded by a symposium, “Seen and Heard: The Power of Books,” moderated by Linda Sue Park. Panelists will include past Walter winners and honorees, as well as the 2018 Walter honorees.
The symposium will be open to the public, and livestreamed by the Library of Congress.
The Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Literature in Children’s Literature, nicknamed the Walter Award, honors authors who celebrate multiculturalism in their published works with diverse protagonists as well as themes that address diversity in a meaningful way. The Walter Award is named for the late Walter Dean Myers, a fierce champion for more diversity in children’s literature, and was launched in 2014. The inaugural Walter Award was given in 2016 to Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely for All American Boys and in 2017 to Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nathan Powell for March: Book Three.
The awards program is administered by WNDB, and the judges each year are authors, editors, and other publishing industry professionals committed to diversity.
Also, in 2018, the Walter Award will expand into two categories: there will be one Walter Award winner and one or two Walter honorees selected in the Young Adult category (ages 13–-18) and in the Middle Grade category (ages 9–13). The WNDB Bookseller of the Year Award will be given next year to its first recipient: Sara Look, the co-owner of Charis Books & More in Atlanta.