A Goodbye Letter to Walter Dean Myers

Photograph by Juan Arredondo. The New York Times. Walter Dean Myers. January 3, 2012. National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.
Fade In: Interior: A Classroom
Ardo (Voice-Over)

Walter Dean Myers died on Tuesday July 2, 2014 at the age of 76.

I’ve read one book by Mr. Myers. His 1999 book: MONSTER. It was in Grade 8 which is a year that I like to think of as life changing. I had just discovered my passion for writing stories and poems. It was also the first time that an assigned book for school was actually interesting. Monster centered around Steve Harmon, a 14 year boy in a juvenile detention center awaiting trial. It was a story that connected to myself and many others in my class since we lived and learned in the infamous Jane and Finch area designated as inner city and violent. It’s a place where choices are everything and some appear to be set in stone while others smash through it and towards that golden ticket: a diploma. It was a book with an important subject matter but also an interesting format: a screenplay with a dash of journal entries.

Monster. Walter Dean Myers. Cover. Amistad. HarperCollins Publishers. April 21st 1999.

We read together and everyday, taking and exchanging roles, enunciating and with feeling! We were energetic and excited, sad and heartbroken, wide eyed when given permission to use and scream


when required by the text of course.

It was a book that sparked discussion in a class of thirteen year olds about very “adult themes” that half of us dealt with. It’s ingrained in my brain and the first I whip out when someone asks “GIVE ME SOMETHING DIVERSE!” No, I haven’t read much from Walter Dean Myers but it was just one book that made all the difference and inspired this farewell letter.

So farewell, Mr. Myers. I hope you know that you’ve left a mark on us all with your words. Rest In Peace.


Fade Out
Ardo Omer

Ardo Omer

Former WWAC editor. Current curmudgeon and Batman's personal assistant. Icon art by Diana Sim.