Walter Dean Myers's legacy

Librarian Sara Lissa Paulson was so inspired by the work of Walter Dean Myers that she wrote this new article for us. It's both a tribute to the man and a kick in the pants for publishers to create books for all children by all stripes of new authors and illustrators — and to produce and distribute books that all families can afford.

This was also the call to arms by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson in her 2014 Horn Book at Simmons keynote speech, "Mind the Gaps: Books for All Young Readers," recently published in the March/April 2015 Horn Book Magazine (the one with five gay picture-book prodigies, as imagined by Tomie dePaola, on the cover). Vaunda called for more good books about the African American historical experience and also "more books with black characters experiencing what children of any culture might. More books that are funny, as Christopher Myers suggests in his article 'Young Dreamers.'  We need both."

Our March/April From the Guide provides some suggestions, some "Books to Fill the Gaps." And we want to know about more: what are your favorite books that depict kids of all colors and backgrounds just being kids?

Finally, we'd like to direct your attention to our Talking About Race resource page, which we started in 2013 and are adding to all the time. #WeNeedDiverseBooks...and we're all working to keep the conversation alive.

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is acting editor in chief / executive editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

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